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Questions tagged [united-states]

For questions specific to the United States as a whole, or that span multiple state jurisdictions. If your question is related to a specific state then you should use that state's tag instead (or as well).

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77
votes
4answers
23k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
116 views

Are the opinions of a United States superior court public knowledge?

If I bring a case to a superior court and I lose, is that information public knowledge? What are the ramifications to me? For example, could it hurt my credit score?
6
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1answer
638 views

In California, what happens if one spouse names a third party as their sole life insurance beneficiary?

Under California's community property law, each spouse can only control half of the couple's community property in his or her will. Does the same rule apply to life insurance benefits? Can one spouse ...
5
votes
2answers
322 views

What laws apply to transgender individuals using toilets and locker rooms?

This Skeptics SE post regarding a transgender individual (male to female) using a female locker room brought up some interesting legal issues regarding the rights of transgender individuals in using ...
1
vote
1answer
824 views

What is "fair comment" in the context of a defamation suit?

Suppose there is a nationally known politician, and it is widely reported in the papers that some of his supporters fear leaving their college-aged daughters alone with him. And suppose someone ...
-3
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1answer
74 views

Website Copyright Laws under Intellectual Property Laws?

What are the laws regarding Copyrights pertaining to copying of website templates ( which is an intellectual property )?
7
votes
1answer
547 views

Am I legally obligated to get a driver's license after moving?

I recently moved from Arizona to Washington, and I had to get a Washington Driver's License to be able to register my car (the AZ registration was about to expire). However, pretending I didn't need ...
10
votes
1answer
917 views

Does a Creative Commons license allow me to record a cover of a song recording?

If I find a musical sound recording that is licensed under a Creative Commons (CC) license, can I record and distribute my own cover of the song? (Assuming the particular CC license does not carry the ...
15
votes
1answer
694 views

Ethical Hacking

How is Ethical Hacking (Certified Ethical Hackers) defined by U.S. law? Is there any law which protects an Ethical Hacker for helping to find out bugs and security loopholes in online/digital ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Is it legal for landlord to prohibit subleasing, under Texas law?

It's quite common that plans change, and a residential lease must be broken. Of course, since one has agreed to pay the full price of the lease, they're on the hook for it, unless they can find ...
6
votes
1answer
388 views

Are residential lease durations in Bay Area meaningless?

The vacancy rates in Bay Area are the lowest in the nation, and the rent much so often gets increased much faster than the inflation. However, a lot of corporate complexes employ monthly pricing that'...
1
vote
1answer
337 views

What's the penalty for breaking a residential lease in NorCal?

What's the penalty for breaking a residential lease? For example, in the Bay Area in Northern California.
15
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2answers
31k views

In the United States, do pedestrians always have right of way?

There appear to be three types of pedestrian crossings in the United States: Marked: an "official" crosswalk with some sort of markings or indication that it exists. Unmarked: According to wikipedia, ...
13
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4answers
18k views

If a driver is stopped by police, does the officer have the right to demand car documents?

Whenever someone is stopped by police because of a traffic violation or a regular check, does the police officer have the right to demand car documents and proof of insurance without a search warrant? ...
4
votes
1answer
86 views

If A makes a potentially "defamatory" statement to C about B, does it matter if C knows B well?

Suppose A tells C that "B is a total liar, nothing s/he says can be believed." And suppose C has known B since childhood. Would the statement be less defamatory since C is in a good position to judge ...
17
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2answers
1k views

Why does the United States Supreme Court oppose cameras, when Australia's, Canada's, and UK's have permitted them?

SCOTUS Justices' arguments against televising (like Alito J at 21:03 and Kagan J at 26:17 who interestingly voted TO televise when he was on the 3rd Circuit), also pertain to the HCA, SCC, and UKSC. ...
38
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
55 views

How does one determine the reasons for a judge's recusal?

I was reading about Shelley v. Kraemer (1948) (full opinion), which states that Justices Reed, Jackson, Rutledge took no part in the consideration or decision of the case. As another example, in ...
12
votes
2answers
10k views

Benefits of "I do not recall..."

Its often a joke that politicians say "I don't recall doing X" when being accused of something. In English saying I don't recall implies that you could be mistaken. But literally speaking, at any ...
9
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3answers
2k views

Can a case get thrown out because of "jury nullification?

With regard to this question, a patent lawyer told me that if one of the other jurors tried to teach the others his view of patent law, and they followed him, rather than the judge, that would be a ...
42
votes
4answers
18k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
8k views

How does the US constitution apply to aliens?

Does the constitution of the US extend its protections to— legal aliens in the US (e.g. visitors from overseas), and illegal aliens in the US (e.g. someone who has stayed beyond their visa's ...
6
votes
2answers
417 views

Legal definitions in the United States

When trying to learn about and understand law, one of the most important aspects of it is the legal definition of a word. Is there a source in which the courts refer to when looking to define a word? ...
3
votes
0answers
258 views

Is online gambling illegal in the United States? [closed]

In the case of United States v. Scheinberg, against the founders of the three largest online poker companies, PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Cereus (Absolute Poker/Ultimatebet), and a handful of ...
12
votes
1answer
637 views

Are US jurors always free to speak about the trial?

In England and Wales, jurors are forbidden to speak to anyone about the trial or their deliberations, even after the trial is finished. In contrast, I've noticed that jurors in the US often give ...
12
votes
7answers
214k views

Do you need a driver's license to travel in the U.S.?

In the U.S., the law that governs motor vehicles is the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. But according to the Constitution; Freedom of movement under United States law is governed ...
24
votes
1answer
2k views

Are jurors allowed to teach law to one another?

I vaguely recall in the case of Oracle v. Google in regards to Java v. Android that was happening in a district court physically located in San Jose, California, that one of the jurors was familiar ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

What resources are available to a pro se litigant?

Suppose I am not a professional lawyer but I have standing and want to bring a case to court pro se. To make this widely applicable and more readily answerable: Suppose I want to file a 42 USC 1983 ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there any remedy for unnecessary insult by police in the course of their lawful duties?

Following up on Are there any remedies for abusive or insulting behavior by agents executing a search warrant? the more subtle question needs the following elaboration: My impression is that as far ...
18
votes
2answers
563 views

Liability for damages in the U.S. for finding and disclosing "0-day" computer exploit

In the IT/Programming security world, usually people contact the vendor/owner of a particular software if they find a bug or security vulnerability and give them time to patch it before releasing the ...
19
votes
1answer
1k views

What constitutes giving legal advice?

On sites such as this one, people are often concerned about non-lawyers "giving legal advice" or "practicing law without a license". What, exactly, constitutes such actions? I'm particularly ...
24
votes
1answer
3k views

Does the US Fifth Amendment only apply to criminal trials? Do any laws protect a person in civil court when testimony would implicate them in a crime?

Suppose someone is accused of burglary. This person is asked to appear in civil court regarding an unrelated event that occurred at the same time as the burglary but in a different location. If the ...
3
votes
1answer
153 views

Drinking and Driving

In the state of California, what is the limit of alcohol allowed in bloodstream to be prosecuted under drinking and driving case? And what are the procedures used for intoxication testing (other than ...
2
votes
1answer
92 views

Implications with states that classify traffic infractions as misdemeanors

It appears that some states, for example, Wyoming, classify most traffic infractions as misdemeanors. Does it imply that someone who has committed a 5 mph speeding in such a state is technically a ...
3
votes
1answer
97 views

Does SB-1341 prohibit educational research entirely?

The text of SB-1341 bill (just introduce to the US Senate) is available here. Summary As far as I understand it, if this bill were to pass, researchers would be unable to connect student-level data to ...
8
votes
3answers
262 views

In Pennsylvania is there more legal protection in forming a LLC as opposed to operating as sole proprietor?

In theory an LLC (Limited Liability Company) offers a level of protection for the owner if being sued. I want to buy houses and rent them out, I have some fear of being sued by tenants in the ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What is stare decisis?

I know in general that stare decisis effectively means that once a court rules on a law that other courts can use that decision when considering their cases. But why is that the case, how is it ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

Are there any remedies for abusive or insulting behavior by agents executing a search warrant?

Suppose I am a particular person who maintains a clean and orderly residence. I have a sign inside my front door asking visitors to put booties over their shoes before entry. Now some LEOs show up ...
6
votes
1answer
439 views

How is "defamation" defined?

I have a recollection that late in the 20th century in the United States, A called B a "bastard." B sued A for defamation. The court ruled in favor of the defendant. Its first observation was that (...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Challenging jurors for cause based on beliefs in jury nullification

In the United States, is belief in jury nullification generally a valid reason to challenge a jury for cause?
7
votes
1answer
578 views

Does the gavel have a legal significance, or is it purely ceremonial?

Judges in US courtrooms famously use a gavel at appropriately dramatic points in a trial. If a judge fails to use a gavel, or uses it at the wrong moment, is this legally significant? Or is the ...
9
votes
2answers
315 views

Under what circumstances do you need a business license?

Specifically, what does it mean to be "operating a business"? I started an LLC in Delaware, but write software to power my company from my home and while I travel across the country. Do I need to get ...
16
votes
1answer
2k views

Can a spyware or a virus act legally with EULA?

Lets think there is a virus that acts like a software. Its acting like a regular software. It's installation is visible to user and again like a regular software, it asks user to accept its End-user ...
9
votes
1answer
514 views

Does a boilerplate legal disclaimer protect authors of content on a website?

Specifically, if the website itself has legal disclaimers to protect itself from litigation arising from legal advice provided on it, would a similar disclaimer claiming to disclaim authors of content ...
19
votes
5answers
167k views

What laws are there regarding being pulled over by an unmarked cop car/undercover cop?

Although this has never happened to me, I've read and heard about people driving on the road and then being signaled (in some way, usually with reds and blues) to pull over for a ticket and the car ...
11
votes
1answer
681 views

What rights do foreigners have when the CBP wants to search their laptop?

Since laptop and other electronic device seizures at US borders became legal without a warrant (including making copies of data), 7% of ACTE's business travelers reported being subject to a seizure as ...
3
votes
1answer
104 views

When has Judicial Review not been the process used to deem an act unconstitutional?

Are there any examples where Judicial Review has not been the process used to deem an act unconstitutional?
10
votes
1answer
11k views

Does a black belt have to tell the police that he/she is a black belt

Someone I knew told me that if a black belt in martial arts is pulled over, he/she has to tell the police that he/she is a black belt because he/she is a deadly weapon. I told him that I didn't ...
40
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

What methods exist to provide relief in criminal cases where the state refuses to prosecute?

In this question it was shown that it is not possible to bypass the States Attorney before the grand jury. But what relief exists in cases where Prosecutorial Discretion might be used to protect ...