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Questions tagged [united-states]

For questions specific to the United States as a whole, or that span multiple state jurisdictions.

84
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On what basis might Trump's executive order on immigration be illegal?

On 27 January 2017, US President Donald Trump has issued an executive order entitled 'Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States'. On 30 January 2017, the acting ...
84
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3answers
20k views

If I don't want to patent something, what can I do to ensure the patent office doesn't unintentionally grant the patent to someone else?

Say that I have created a hypothetical new invention. I would like for it to be used by as many people as possible without restrictions, so I deliberately choose not to pursue a patent on it. As ...
71
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4answers
12k views

How can you tell if you have to follow a police officer's instructions?

If a police officer gives me an order, how can I tell whether or not I'm legally obligated to follow that order? If I ask the officer, is he/she required by law to answer truthfully? If the police ...
58
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2answers
23k views

Why are lawyers typically excluded from juries?

At least in the United States practicing lawyers are called to serve on juries. But my understanding is at least one side will always remove them before trial. Why would it always be the case that ...
57
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2answers
71k views

Can you refuse to swear on the Bible?

Everyone has heard the procedure to get sworn in in an American court: Put your hand on a Holy Bible and answer yes to "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so ...
56
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7answers
29k views

What power do I have as a driver if my interstate route is blocked by a protest?

I recently read about protests blocking an interstate. I feel like ethically no one no (non-police) citizen has the right to obstruct my travel (on a public interstate for the sake of protest), ...
56
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5answers
37k views

Is it illegal to run away from a police officer in a way that provokes them, in the US?

So I know this is very silly and obviously hypothetical, but I've wondered about it for a while. Let's say you aren't doing anything (else) illegal, you don't have anything illegal on you, and you ...
54
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3answers
16k views

Can I legally make a website about boycotting a certain company?

Located in the US. Can I make a website which is specifically aimed at boycotting a certain company? There is no lawsuit between myself and the company. There would be no defamation on the website ...
53
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3answers
16k views

Landlord wants to switch my lease to a “Land contract” to “get back at the city”

I've been living at this place for about two months and my lease looks pretty typical. Nothing unusual. I've had no problems so far. Today my landlord called me and explained something about the city ...
51
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3answers
36k views

Would open source programs that use encryption be illegal under this draft of the “Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016”

The U.S. congress has a draft for a bill that would require companies to fetch information from a device when requested by a court. A consequence of this is that many types of security technology ...
49
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9answers
36k views

Can I terminate an employee for qualifying for a job through a “degree mill?”

We have recently put together an HR unit, which reviewed all our employees and found that one has an unsatisfactory qualification (BA in Public Relations from an unaccredited college). HR suggested ...
49
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3answers
6k views

How does the mandate to report income from illegal activities in the US jibe with the Fifth Amendment?

Al Capone was famously taken down for tax evasion for not reporting income from his illegal activities. If someone were to report the income from illegal activities like a marijuana dispensary or a ...
47
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5answers
20k views

If a signal person in California tells me to kill someone, do I have to do so?

According to California sample written driving test (problem 6): You see a signal person at a road construction site ahead. You should obey his or her instructions: A. Only if you see ...
46
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6answers
16k views

Can I forbid the government from using my patented invention?

(this is a purely hypothetical situation, for literary research) I've filed a patent on a certain technology for facial recognition/analysis, and as the patent holder I want to use my exclusivity to ...
46
votes
5answers
15k views

Is it illegal to infringe copyright if your boss or your client ordered you to do it?

The first possible scenario is this: suppose you work in a company, and you need to install some software for a client. The software needs to be purchased, but the boss tells you to just download it ...
46
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4answers
11k views

Course of action in a criminal case when there is no conceivable defense

I am not a lawyer or a law student; my work is in mathematics, but I like to learn about criminal law as a hobby. I have spent some time googling and searching to find an answer to my question but ...
46
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4answers
9k views

Can an employer withhold pay for a fire drill?

Moved from WorkplaceSE. Recently there was a routine fire drill in an office building. As with most fire drills, it took about half an hour for the fire drill to complete and for everyone to get ...
45
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3answers
13k views

Can illegal aliens claim sanctuary in a church?

This tweet (as quoted in a Washington Post article), seems to suggest that illegal aliens can claim sanctuary in a church: #GuadalupeGarcia attorney says @ICEgov has lied to him and he will advise ...
44
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11answers
22k views

What if a law is literally impossible to follow?

This question originated from the Australian encryption debate, but I am mainly asking about the US. Just to keep things simple (if a bit absurd), suppose the US passed a law that says, Every ...
44
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5answers
7k views

Why is the structure of the US Code so poor? (And would it even be legal to reorganize it?)

In the process of researching the legality of coil guns in Massachusetts (University engineering project), I stumbled across Cornell's Legal Information Institute, which offers what appears to be a ...
43
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2answers
14k views

Is it illegal to backup your hard drive if you have copyrighted software on it?

Is it illegal if you create a backup of an HDD that has copyrighted software installed on it? This could be anything from legally purchased games and or expensive popular graphics/video editing ...
43
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3answers
7k views

Can I sign legal documents with a smiley face?

The signature on my driver's license is a unique and identifiable smiley face :-) I use this signature to sign all legally binding documents. A lot of the time, people reject it, and request an "...
39
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4answers
13k views

What are the legal repercussions of taking a stranger's picture in public?

With Snapchat and Instagram it is all too easy to abuse picture taking and really inexpensive to snap a photo of an unknowing stranger. If you are in public and will only post pictures online without ...
38
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9answers
27k views

How can I declare independence from the United States and start my own micro nation?

How can I take back my sovereignty from the American government and start my own micro nation? I've read about starting a foreign company with my name in all caps but I want a lawyer's answer.
38
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2answers
7k views

How is it legal for a hospital to put two patients together in the same room in the US?

In the United States we have HIPAA regulations in place to (among other things) prevent healthcare providers, insurance providers, and any other entity that handles medical information from leaking ...
37
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4answers
11k views

Can UPS really trademark the color brown?

So, today as I received an email from UPS, I read the disclaimer at the end and it said: © 2016 United Parcel Service of America, Inc. UPS, the UPS brandmark, and the color brown are trademarks of ...
37
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2answers
3k views

What is the legal status of “warrant canaries”?

A warrant canary is a repeated claim by an individual or organization that they have not been served any warrants with an attached gag order. The idea is that you can say whatever you like if you have ...
36
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2answers
4k views

If the police search my vehicle or house without my consent, and they don't find anything, what recourse is there?

I understand that if the police perform an illegal search, then any evidence found during that search will be excluded from a trial, but what if they didn't find any evidence? If the police do an ...
35
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2answers
11k views

Why would someone get a fine when using a disabled parking space when the disabled person is not in the car?

An article in LA Times about someone parking on a disabled parking space without the disabled person being in the car: (...) I saw a woman pull into a disabled parking space and begin to exit her ...
34
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1answer
12k views

I fancy myself an amateur lawyer. Can I represent someone in court?

I live in Montgomery County Maryland. I am not a lawyer. But I have significant legal experience. I have successfully sued people, watched many trials, I have successfully won dozens of trials for my ...
34
votes
2answers
10k views

Does being engaged (to be married) carry any legal significance?

Being married carries specific legal consequences, e.g. spouses typically are treated differently under tax law, divorce property law, inheritance law, have rights regarding medical visitation and ...
34
votes
1answer
6k views

Do I have legal rights against a company that offered me a raise to not leave, and then promptly fired me after turning down the other offer?

I was just informed of this situation that occurred somewhere by a co-worker, and was wondering what the legal ramifications are (U.S. Law). To be clear, the scenario is as follows: I tell my boss I'...
33
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1answer
5k views

USA: Is “I am not a lawyer” disclaimer generally necessary?

Is it legally necessary to disclaim "I am not a lawyer" when engaging in casual conversation, writing Internet posts, etc. to avoid civil or criminal liability for one's comments? Specifically, in ...
31
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4answers
16k views

Does ripping up the only signed contract form invalidate it?

Suppose I sign a contract in front of witnesses, but then immediately tear it up. Is the contract still binding?
31
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3answers
15k views

Can women also go shirtless in public legally?

Do women have the same rights as men to walk on the beach or sidewalk topless where men are also walking bare-chested without being discriminated against? If a woman is arrested or asked to leave by ...
31
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3answers
10k views

Why does the victim have to press charges?

Case in point that was in the news: "BART identifies man in viral video of racist attack on train", East Bay Times A California man attacked a stranger while expressing his hatred of the victim's ...
30
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2answers
8k views

What are the rules on businesses that wish to only hire attractive females?

Many businesses feature beautiful female employees as part of their business plan and service offering. Examples include: Hooter's waitresses Sportclips stylists A small chain of drive-thru smoothies ...
30
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3answers
13k views

In the US, is it legal to lie to a business such as a hotel to obtain a discount?

Let's say a hotel chain or a restaurant provides a 50% discount to anyone aged over 70. Would it be legal (as in, no criminal charges could arise from that action) for a patron to lie to the hotel/...
29
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1answer
8k views

Jurors not allowed to talk to each other during the trial?

Apparently many judges instruct jurors not to discuss the case in progress. What is the rationale for this, other than just yet another tactic to marginalize juries and prevent them from trying cases? ...
28
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5answers
10k views

Should I serve jury duty when I have no respect for the judge?

My son was once sentenced to 3 years in prison in a particular case. The individual(s) that took him to court had deep personal connections with law officials in our small county. This seems to have ...
28
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4answers
105k views

How to prove I live in a specific address?

https://www.flhsmv.gov/ddl/address.html I need to provide proof of address for the DMV, but the process can be difficult because: I live with someone else; I do not pay rent/utilities; and they will ...
28
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6answers
5k views

What's the most crucial issue when deciding Senator Cruz's citizenship?

Donald Trump is threatening to sue Senator Cruz for his citizenship issue. I understand Senator Cruz was born to an American mother and Cuban father in Canada . I understand it would not be an issue ...
28
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4answers
3k views

When is ignorance a legal defense?

In the United States, under what circumstances is ignorance of a law or legal principle a defense against legal action?
26
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9answers
11k views

Can a nation A stop nation B from issuing visas to citizens of nation A?

How would it legally work? For example, could India force U.S. consulates to stop issuing H-1B visas, or other specialized visas, by claiming it amounts to poaching of important human resources? ...
26
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4answers
8k views

Where can I report criminal intent found on the dark web?

I wasn't sure if I should ask this here or on the Tor site. I think it fits more here. I came across a Stack Exchange clone on the dark web. I won't go into too much detail or provide a link, but ...
26
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4answers
10k views

Is it legal to track users of pirated software?

I'm making a piece of software right now, and I'm just doing it in my free time, so I'm not too serious about it. I want to make a version of the software and put a tracker in it that interfaces with ...
25
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4answers
5k views

Do Legal Documents Require Signing In Standard Pen Colors?

I have a question as to whether or not legal documents signed in non standard pen colors (Anything other than blue or black) are valid. I carry a purple pen around that use for everyday writing tasks,...
24
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4answers
10k views

Is a debt canceled if the creditor refuses a settlement offer?

I've been told by several people on several occasions -- in several jurisdictions within the US -- that if you owe someone money, you can offer some stupidly low amount of cash (most versions include ...
24
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5answers
1k views

I don't like the payment methods offered by my landlord. Do I still have to pay rent?

Recently, a friend of mine signed a two year rental agreement with a small mom and pop rental place. At the time of signing, they offered credit cards as a way of paying, but a credit card is not ...
24
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6answers
7k views

In USA, is it possible to end up being called to jury duty even if you have not registered to vote?

My friend received a letter summoning her to jury duty. She has not received anything like that before, even though she is now in her 40's and has been a U.S. citizen all her life. Also she never ...