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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Government legal actions - civil or criminal?

I was reading this overview of the differences between civil and criminal cases and they state Civil cases usually involve private disputes between persons or organizations. Criminal cases ...
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16 votes
3 answers
1k views

Are there any limits on the crimes a corporation can be convicted of?

In the United States, a corporation can be convicted of criminal offenses (example). Can corporations be charged with any criminal offense, or are there some that cannot apply to anything except a ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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What patents do I need to buy or lease to make and sell an electric guitar to the public? [closed]

I want to make and sell my own electric guitars. However, I have not invented the instrument, nor was I the inventor of any of the major advances in the field. However, I have some changes (mostly ...
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9 votes
1 answer
2k views

Requirements to file an Amicus Curiae brief

What are the requirements or preconditions that must be met in order for someone to file an Amicus Curiae "friend of the court" brief? What form can the brief take?
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13 votes
2 answers
8k views

Legal standing for a Police Officer to force you out of a private vehicle

Lets say you're sitting in a fast-food parking lot eating the food you just purchased from the establishment. Your windows are rolled up and the vehicle is turned off. A police officer pulls into the ...
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14 votes
1 answer
479 views

What does "actual knowledge" mean in the context of DMCA safe harbors?

According to 17 U.S. Code § 512 - Limitations on liability relating to material online (emphasis mine): A service provider shall not be liable for monetary relief, or, except as provided in ...
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12 votes
2 answers
389 views

How do I read a U.S. case citation and find the text of the opinion?

In something like this: "We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place." Brown v. Bd. of Educ., 347 U.S. 483, 495 (1954)". What is that ...
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5 votes
1 answer
131 views

Are there surveys on the share of class action settlement that actually goes to the plaintiffs?

I am interested in links to scholarly papers with actual comprehensive and preferably up-to-date statistics. I have done some search on Google Scholar but failed to find wide-ranging surveys (the ones ...
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10 votes
3 answers
525 views

Under what circumstances could law enforcement hack a server?

I recently read a wired article about Silk Road and the arrest of Ross Ulbricht. The article describes how an FBI agent attempted to discover the true IP address of the Silk Road Server: Tarbell [...
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7 votes
3 answers
589 views

Liability for knowing about bribe offered by a channel partner

In the USA, anti-bribery laws prohibit a company from offering bribes or kickbacks to government officials. If a channel partner of U.S. company X offers a bribe, would X be held liable if it knew ...
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11 votes
1 answer
439 views

Which aspects of human-subjects research rules are actually laws rather than conventions?

I'm aware that various laws exist regulating research on human subjects (Wikipedia summary here and in linked pages). However, I've had a tough time finding sources that clarify the boundary between ...
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80 votes
4 answers
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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 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
121 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?
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6 votes
1 answer
646 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 ...
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5 votes
2 answers
333 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 ...
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1 vote
1 answer
832 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 ...
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-3 votes
1 answer
75 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 )?
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7 votes
1 answer
640 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 ...
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10 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
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15 votes
1 answer
713 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 ...
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8 votes
1 answer
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 ...
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6 votes
1 answer
397 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'...
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1 vote
1 answer
364 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.
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16 votes
2 answers
32k 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, ...
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14 votes
4 answers
19k 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? ...
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4 votes
1 answer
89 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 ...
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17 votes
2 answers
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. ...
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39 votes
2 answers
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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
57 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 ...
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11 votes
2 answers
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 ...
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10 votes
3 answers
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 ...
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43 votes
4 answers
19k 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 ...
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12 votes
3 answers
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 ...
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6 votes
2 answers
443 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? ...
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3 votes
0 answers
263 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 ...
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12 votes
1 answer
702 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 ...
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13 votes
7 answers
217k 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 ...
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23 votes
1 answer
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 ...
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9 votes
5 answers
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 ...
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17 votes
1 answer
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 ...
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  • 20k
18 votes
2 answers
581 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 ...
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  • 3,445
20 votes
1 answer
2k 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 ...
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24 votes
1 answer
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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
159 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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
104 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 ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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 ...
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8 votes
3 answers
280 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 ...
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9 votes
3 answers
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 ...
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  • 508
25 votes
2 answers
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 ...
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6 votes
1 answer
452 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 (...
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