serious crime act

A Writer’s Guide to Murder, Assault, and Getting Away With It In Court

We writers love murder and mayhem, don’t we? We kill, hurt, and maim our characters because we love them. And sometimes, characters actually get charged for the crimes they commit on the page. So how does that all work, anyway? And how can someone who’s done something like this, get away with it?

I should probably mention that this is not a guide for planning The Perfect Murder. I am, in fact, not qualified to teach people in that area.

But I can talk about how to charge someone with crimes, and how to potentially defeat those charges under the right circumstances. Which is also fun, right? Right! Off we go.

Keep reading

usatoday.com
BREAKING: House passes bill to keep government from reading old emails
The House voted Wednesday to overhaul a 30-year-old electronic privacy law to prevent government agents from reading Americans' old emails without a warrant.

WASHINGTON — The House voted unanimously Wednesday to overhaul a 30-year-old electronic privacy law to prevent government agents from reading Americans’ old emails without a warrant.

House members voted 419-0 to pass the bipartisan Email Privacy Act, which requires government agents to get a warrant before they can gain access to Americans’ email, texts, photos, videos and other electronic communication, regardless of how old the data is.

Local, state and federal police agencies currently have the authority under the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act to peruse emails at will if the communication is at least six months old. Critics say that law, written before email was commonly used, violates Americans’ constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

“The last time we updated these laws, I was flipping burgers at McDonald’s,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. “So clearly this is long overdue. The principle here is important: our Fourth Amendment rights should apply to our emails. This bill does that without impeding law enforcement’s ability to do its job.”

Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., the bill’s lead sponsor along with Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., said the legislation is “a major step forward to protect our civil liberties.”

“Citizens should no longer be at risk of having their emails warrantlessly searched by government agencies,” Polis said.

Yoder said it is one of the few pieces of legislation that has attracted support from ideologically diverse groups, ranging from the liberal American Civil Liberties Union to the conservative Heritage Action for America.

“I’m heartened by the fact that groups on the left, right and in the center have come together to say we’re going to fix this,” Yoder said.

The bill still must be taken up by the Senate, where it has been introduced by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Mike Lee, R-Utah.

The House bill had 314 co-sponsors, the highest number of any bill to come before this session of Congress. Ryan brought it to the floor quickly after it was passed unanimously two weeks ago by the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill was amended in committee so that law enforcement officials do not have to notify citizens when they serve a warrant on someone’s email provider to get access to a person’s communications. Companies that provide email service can notify their customers about the warrant except when a court determines that tipping someone off could result in a serious crime or terrorist act being committed.

That provision was a compromise sought by Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., at the request of law enforcement officials. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., said he preferred the bill’s original language, which would have required police agencies to notify people when they obtained warrants to read their emails.

“Contrary to practice thirty years ago, today vast amounts of private, sensitive information are transmitted and stored electronically,” Goodlatte said. “But this information may also contain evidence of a crime and law enforcement agencies are increasingly dependent upon stored communications content and records in their investigations.”

Privacy and civil liberties advocates said Congress is just now moving into the 21st century on digital privacy issues.

“Most Americans would be shocked to learn that the federal government can access and read emails that are more than 180 days old,” said Adam Brandon, CEO of FreedomWorks, a libertarian-leaning group. “That’s because Congress hasn’t kept up with the rapid changes in technology.”

The tech industry said the legislation is especially important now that more and more of Americans’ electronic communication is stored in the “cloud” network of servers.

“For consumers to feel safe with cloud computing, personal data stored remotely must have the same legal protection as data on their own computer,” said Mark MacCarthy, senior vice president of public policy for the Software and Information Industry Association. “House passage of (the bill) brings us one step closer to leveling the playing field for government access to data stored in the cloud.”

Story time

As some of you may know, I’m in law school. Last semester I took a class on forensic science, which at one point involved looking at a number of crime scene photos featuring dead bodies. One of these bodies had been partially eaten by the owner’s dog because he had no food.

And gdi all I could think of while looking at this very serious crime scene photo was “I told you it wasn’t snausages!!”

anonymous asked:

Is it just me or is "Fair Elections Act" an awfully misleading name? It's not making elections fairer, it's rigging them in favour of the conservatives.

Conservative bills are always misleading. I’d go as far as say that this is deliberate, as to use their names as partisan advertisement for their political base.

They’re so ridiculous and misleading articles have been written about it:

The definitive ranking of ridiculous and misleading Conservative names for bills

A few examples:

“Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act” (Does very little to protect children from online predators, it does however give the RCMP more access to spy on everyone)

“Serious Time for the Most Serious Crime Act” (no comment)

“Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act” (i.e. C-24 i.e. the bill that allows stripping citizenship from Canadians)