All Questions

195
votes
7answers
42k views

If a company agrees to pay travel cost for a job interview, is the promise binding and enforceable?

There is a question on workplace.SE about a company which offered to pay travel costs for a job interview, but canceled the return ticket after ending the interview - Potential Employer Cancels Return ...
158
votes
5answers
44k views

A student slipped a drug into my coffee — what are the legal ramifications of this situation?

I am a high school Chemistry teacher. This morning, while my back was turned to write on the board, one of my students (age 17) slipped a pill into my coffee mug. This is a thermos-style mug that has ...
90
votes
2answers
26k views

I want to leave Islam, but they would execute and kill me. What do I do?

I live in an Islamic country, but I don't want to be a Muslim. I have no choice but to claim to be a Muslim: If I leave Islam, they will execute me according to Muslim law. Where can I go to have a ...
83
votes
2answers
13k views

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 ...
82
votes
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 ...
79
votes
5answers
21k views

Stealing my own property back?

I have a guitar that I let my friend Joe borrow on the consensus that he would return it in a couple of days. Joe is a mutual friend of my ex Bob. Bob stole the guitar from Joe once he found out it ...
69
votes
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 ...
68
votes
8answers
32k views

Why shouldn't a bank robbery without threats be legal?

So say a bank robber walks into a bank and hands the teller a note saying simply "please give me $1,000" (or maybe even just verbally saying "I need $1,000 please") and if the teller accepts, which ...
67
votes
2answers
27k views

Daughter dies at party

My 19 year old step daughter attended a party in Illinois. One kid slipped a pill in her drink which caused her to have a heart attack and die. After watching this play out, this boy didn't even ...
60
votes
2answers
4k views

How does SE's arbitration clause hold up under the GDPR?

Today the new Terms of Service of Stack Exchange have been released, sparking a lot of unrest about its arbitration clause; see the comments and answers on the linked meta above, and also this ...
58
votes
2answers
22k 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 ...
56
votes
13answers
16k views

Can a law protect itself?

Can a law protect itself? For example, could it be written in to a law that, under no circumstances, it should be amended or abolished (a) for a fixed duration or (b) indefinitely? I am most ...
56
votes
2answers
69k 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 ...
55
votes
7answers
28k 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), ...
55
votes
5answers
36k 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 ...
51
votes
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 ...
50
votes
4answers
17k views

A man killed my son and married one of the witnesses. Can the witness's statements still be used in court against him?

In Florida a career felon, who is a complete stranger to my son, killed my son. He is being prosecuted for this crime in a state court in Florida. There are two witnesses. One of them is the the ...
49
votes
3answers
10k views

What is the meaning of “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” in the 14th amendment?

In the fourteenth amendment, what does the phrase “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” contribute? What people born in the United States would not have been subject to the jurisdiction of the ...
49
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
48
votes
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 ...
47
votes
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
votes
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
votes
4answers
10k 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
votes
4answers
17k views

How do people publicly admit to criminal activity and not typically get arrested?

I've noticed that people on YouTube and even on TV would sometimes say things like "I used to take lots of coke a few years ago" or "I used to smoke weed daily until this and that" or "Yea, I smoke ...
45
votes
9answers
19k views

How is it possible for millions to use pirated software at home and never get arrested?

It's not like talking about using weeds that you tell your friends about but you don't go in public shouting about it. Instead people go to online forums sometimes posting with their real names- ...
45
votes
4answers
8k 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
votes
2answers
6k views

Is requesting waiving the right to deletion of contributions against GDPR?

I just got one of those GDPR mails from gitlab.com, which pointed me to a Web page where I had to accept some terms and conditions. The same as everywhere, except this passage: (For GitLab ...
44
votes
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
votes
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
votes
5answers
20k views

Why are people sentenced to prison for terms longer than life?

Albert Morake was sentenced to 1,535 years in prison. How can a person be sentenced to more than 1 life imprisonment?
43
votes
4answers
7k views

Do we have to take down the material for 14 days even if the DMCA notice is erroneous?

A very large site and my site are both licensed to use product images created and photographed by the same vendor. Now the large site comes after my site and sends a DMCA notice to my hosting provider,...
43
votes
3answers
13k views

Can illegal aliens can 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 ...
43
votes
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
votes
1answer
12k views

Pokémon Go hot spots and private property

As we all know Pokémon Go is all the rage. There have been reports that police stations are common hot spots for gyms and collections. Churches have also been a common hot spot. I think there is ...
40
votes
2answers
30k views

Can I sue a restaurant for serving me meat in vegetarian dish?

I am a vegetarian for religious reasons. I was at Chipotle on Saturday and ordered a sofritas rice bowl which is "vegan approved". To my surprise, I found a chunk of chicken in my bowl when I was ...
38
votes
9answers
26k 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
votes
3answers
9k views

Is it breach of contract if dismissed before starting work?

I've been dismissed by a company I was due to start a job with, just a few days before the job was meant to start. They have no intention of providing me with any compensation despite the fact I ...
38
votes
1answer
9k views

Can someone legally require me to return a gift they gave me?

So a "friend" in Canada sent me a tablet ( I think it was worth $400 U.S. currency) to replace the one I had that I could barely do anything on. I never asked for one, and I remember repeatedly that I ...
38
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
36
votes
4answers
12k 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 ...
36
votes
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
votes
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 ...
35
votes
3answers
8k views

What if I say “this statement is false” while under oath?

Let's say I am in a court proceeding, and then make swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I tell the judge I would like to make an opening remark, he says yes, and I say ...
35
votes
4answers
10k 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 ...
35
votes
3answers
16k views

If someone's record has been expunged, can they legally say that they have not been arrested?

If someone applies for a job and the application asks whether they've ever been arrested, can they legally say on the application that they have not been arrested before? Note: Case was dismissed ...
35
votes
7answers
8k views

Can “Dumb Starbucks” be legally considered Fair Use as satire or parody?

About a year ago, a new, familiar-looking coffee shop opened in LA. Their reasoning for this was, basically, that it's making fun of the popular coffeehouse chain and is thus fair use: Naturally, it ...
35
votes
7answers
18k views

If someone catches a Pokemon that is on my property, is that theft?

Does something that is virtually located on your property like in Pokemon GO incur any kind of property right for the property owner?
35
votes
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 ...
34
votes
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 ...

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