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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Law

Dorian Nakamoto Is Crowdfunding His Fight Over Newsweek's Bitcoin Article

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Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 6:02 AM
DORIAN NAKAMOTO/NEWSWEEKLIED.COM
Almost as soon as it appeared, a March Newsweek article that called L.A's own Dorian "Satoshi" Nakamoto "The Face Behind Bitcoin," faced questions about its veracity.

See also: Language Doesn't Point to L.A.'s Satoshi Nakamoto as Bitcoin Inventor

Chief among the critics was Nakamoto, who said the piece was downright wrong: The 65-year-old from Temple City had lived in a modest home and hadn't held down a job in 10 years. If he had created the virtual currency called Bitcoin, he would be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, at least on paper.

The publication defended its piece, but now Nakamoto says he's raising money for a "legal defense fund:" 

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Law

Metro Fare Jumpers Explain Why and How They Evade Tickets in L.A. (VIDEO)

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Wed, Oct 8, 2014 at 7:06 AM

Metro Fare Jumpers Explain Why and How They Evade Tickets in L.A. from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

How many riders jump Metro’s turnstiles? Have L.A.’s poor been nudged into misdemeanor law-breaking, risking $75 fines, because of recently hiked fares? Metro believes that 8 percent of riders, or one in 12 people, evade fares. But that's if you believe a nearly decade-old study.

L.A. is a highly creative town. Some people do simply leap the gates. But other rogue riders glide through "TAP" validation points without a TAP (Transit Access Pass) card, or their card has been drained of its balance – an “abusive TAP” in Metrospeak. Some riders squeeze through turnstiles as a congealed uni-group, or slide through wheelchair gates behind disabled patrons. Some young people quietly pay for only a senior fare.

Metro says each ride brings in just 70 cents due to legal discounts for students, seniors and others. The true cost of fare evasion can't be known, Metro says, until all 80 light-rail and subway stations have been latched with single-entry turnstiles — at a cost of $1 million for each of 40 stations still lacking the gates. In weighing a system-wide latch-down, says Metro spokesman Paul Gonzales, the question is “how many millions must be spent to chase 70 cents?”

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Law

The Mentally Unstable Could Lose Their Guns in California

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Wed, Oct 1, 2014 at 8:04 AM
JIM WRIGLEY PHOTOGRAPHY/FLICKR
  • Jim Wrigley Photography/Flickr
Long before a spring Southern California rampage that killed seven, including himself, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger was reported to authorities as a possible mental case.

But that didn't stop him from legally purchasing the guns he used during his attacks in Isla Vista, near UC Santa Barbara, last May.

See also: Isla Vista Rampage Means Tighter Gun Laws Could Be Considered in California

Gun control advocates immediately revived efforts to try to prevent the mentally unstable from obtaining firearms. This time they were successful:

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014

Law

Powder Cocaine Dealers Are No Longer Special Under the Law (Sorry)

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Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 12:35 PM
TANJILA AHMED/FLICKR
Used to be that being successfully prosecuted for holding a decent quantity of crack could put you behind bars for up to five years.

No longer. California Gov. Jerry Brown last night signed a bill that will make possession of crack and possession of powder cocaine for sale the same crime, both worth two to four years in state prison.

That's no walk in the park, but drug decriminalization proponents are hailing the new law as one giant step for justice. Here's why:

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JEAN KOULEV/FLICKR
A bill that would require affirmative consent by California public college students about to engage in sex was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown, his office announced over the weekend.

Campus adjudication panels weighing sex-assault allegations will be required to determine if accusers actually said yes, verbally or otherwise, to the prospect of sexual contact.

See also: Verbal or Written Permission Could be Required For College Sex

The bill makes clear that saying nothing or doing nothing is not consent, although some critics say the standard takes the law too far into the bedrooms of young adults because sex isn't a legal negotiation and is often nonverbal behavior.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Law

Law Would Make it Harder For Cops to Take Your Stuff

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Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 3:34 PM
FILE PHOTO FROM U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION
  • File photo from U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Cops, backed by federal law, have been taking stuff from innocent people, and some not-so-innocent people, at alarming rates for more than a decade.

The government's "equitable sharing" civil forfeiture rules encourage federal agents and some local cops to seize goods from folks they believe are criminals. Encouragement comes in the form of language that lets agencies keep what they take. Some departments have been known to proudly advertise that their fancy new vehicles were taken from alleged bad guys.

And unlike the rest of our criminal justice system, these federal rules don't require due process. In fact, the law says if you want your stuff back, you must sue the government to prove it wasn't used in the commission of a crime. The burden of proof is on you.

Local U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas, along with New Jersey Rep. Scott Garrett, today proposed new legislation that would change that:

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FILE PHOTO BY CHRIS YARZAB/FLICKR
The story of actress Daniele Watts' confrontation with police last week has sparked a raging debate in Los Angeles. Do you have the right, as Watts insisted, to refuse to identify yourself to cops?

See also: Daniele Watts' Story About a Racist LAPD Stop Is Falling Apart

In situations like the one Watts found herself in last Thursday, in which a caller alleged to the police that she was having sex in a car in the middle of the day, the practical answer is ... probably not.

Now, it's a little complicated: The ACLU of Southern California is in Watts' corner, saying you do have the right to refuse, while the union representing rank-and-file Los Angeles Police Department officers says you don't have that right, not if you're being detained for questioning.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday, August 29, 2014

Law

Marijuana Farmers Market Shut Down via Judge's Order

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Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 4:24 PM
FILE PHOTO OF THE CANNABIS CUP BY TIMOTHY NORRIS/L.A. WEEKLY
  • File photo of the Cannabis Cup by Timothy Norris/L.A. Weekly
The Eastside marijuana farmers market that made huge headlines when it opened for the Fourth of July weekend has been ordered by a judge to stop operating.

The preliminary injunction follows an initial temporary restraining order granted after the L.A. City Attorney's office took organizers to court and argued that the law doesn't allow dispensary operators to open their doors to suppliers who could then sell directly to patients, which is apparently what happened at the California Heritage Market.

See also: L.A. Marijuana Farmers Market Ordered to Close Down (For Now)

Today's ruling was hailed by City Attorney Mike Feuer, who said the market failed to comply with a law passed by voters last year, Proposition D, that outlaws the city's collectives with some exceptions:

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Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday, August 4, 2014

Law

Legalizing Prostitution Could Reduce Rapes, STDs?

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Mon, Aug 4, 2014 at 9:03 AM
What would happen if prostitution were "decriminalized."

Rhode Island lawmakers did just that, from 1980 to 2009, inadvertently so. Responding to pressure from a group seeking to legalize prostitution, the legislature made prostitution a misdemeanor, but it also inadvertently removed language that made exchanging money for sex a crime if it took place indoors.

The mistake was rectified, but it gave UCLA public policy professor Manisha Shah and colleague Scott Cunningham of Baylor University a chance to see what happened when prostitution was pretty much legal in Rhode Island:

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Law

California's Death Penalty Is Unconstitutional, Federal Judge Says

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Wed, Jul 16, 2014 at 1:44 PM
A federal judge based in SoCal ruled today that California's death penalty system is unconstitutional.

Does that mean that death sentences are no longer allowed and that criminals on death row will get an upgrade to life? It remains to be seen: The ruling by U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney of the Central District U.S. court in Santa Ana can be appealed to the federal 9th Circuit court.

The judge said that our system is so dysfunctional that a death sentence does not assure a conclusion and really only fosters uncertainty and, worse, arbitrary outcomes:

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