Posts tagged as:

illegal drugs

Some reactions, and cautious praise for the changes, from Tim Lynch at Cato, Ken at Popehat, and J.D. Tuccille at Reason (and more on lawmakers’ reaction).

“State Seizes Two-Year-Old Child From Parents Because They Smoked Pot, Child Dies in Foster Care” [Rockdale, Texas; Ed Krajewski, Reason] On the propensity of some local authorities to seize kids in marijuana cases, see this report last year on one California county.

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August 7 roundup

by Walter Olson on August 7, 2013

  • 7th Circuit cites Rumpelstiltskin; quashes plaintiff’s bid to turn straw to gold [Legal Ethics Forum]
  • “One of the most prolific writers and tweeters in the online legal world. A must read.” Thanks Jim D. [Abnormal Use, and his suggestion about ABA best-blawg nominations is worth heeding]
  • “… as if compliance departments actually are associated with law-abiding behavior…” [Ira Stoll]
  • Sex extortion lawyer Mary Roberts won’t have to pay restitution [MySanAntonio, background]
  • Guess who’s the big new lobby fighting marijuana legalization? Medical-pot providers [Politico]
  • “Woman awarded $775,000 after tripping on speed bump at a Vegas casino” [Calgary Herald]
  • Some thoughts on “libertarian populism” [Jesse Walker, Josh Barro/Tim Carney]

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Following a letter from 22 state attorneys general, Urban Outfitters has agreed to stop selling a humorous mug with a “Prescription: Coffee” design. The AGs argued that prescription drug abuse is a very serious matter and not something to be joked about. [via Eugene Volokh]

The humor-impaired AGs participating (is yours on this list?) included those from Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah, and Wyoming, as well as Guam. According to Maggie Thurber at Ohio Watchdog, “the Partnership at Drugfree.org went further and categorized [the mugs and related coasters and other trinkets] as ‘prescription drug paraphernalia products.’”

Aside from a few core functions such as defending their states in litigation and issuing legal opinions to guide state agencies, state attorneys general have far too much discretionary authority to butt into whatever controversial areas may suit their taste for popularity and political advancement, even when, as here, there is no evident basis to think that Urban Outfitters had violated any actual law. It seems highly unlikely that the novelty mugs send any particular message that undermines public respect for prescription drug laws, but if for some reason they did, they would be entitled to more protection against AG bullying, not less, since expressive objects that send a symbolic message of disrespect for government policy will often qualify for First Amendment protection.

Congratulations to the 28 AGs who resisted the temptation to join in this busybody intimidation. (cross-posted at Cato at Liberty)

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“A pot-smoking city [of Ottawa] worker couldn’t convince a court that his reefer madness was a disability. …[Claude] Lavoie tried to claim his penchant for pot qualified as a disability, which would have obliged the city to accommodate him under provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code.” [Ottawa Sun]

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The city of Minneapolis attaches “voluntary conditions” to a permit for a convenience store at a location previously troubled by crime, and among them are prohibitions on the sale of “drug paraphernalia” that many of us would not have recognized as such, including small plastic bags, dice, and steel-wool pads. [Volokh]

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The couple say they believe they were raided because of their use of an indoor gardening setup to raise six tomato, melon and squash plants in their basement. “A drug-sniffing dog was brought in to help, but deputies ultimately left after providing a receipt stating, ‘No items taken.’” [Heather Hollingsworth, AP]

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“A bill that would allow patients addicted to prescription drugs to sue the doctors who prescribed the medication — and the drug’s makers — was met with stiff opposition Wednesday in a Nevada legislative hearing.” Sen. Tick Segerblom (D-Las Vegas), who introduced SB 75, defended the measure: “They know the person can get addicted to the drug so they should pay for the process of them getting off it.” [AP; related effort to use drug-dealer-liability laws] (& White Coat)

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  • “Once your life is inside a federal investigation, there is no space outside of it.” [Quinn Norton, The Atlantic]
  • “Cops Detain 6-year-old for Walking Around Neighborhood (And It Gets Worse)” [Free-Range Kids] “Stop Criminalizing Parents who Let Their Kids Wait in the Car” [same]
  • Time to rethink the continued erosion of statutes of limitations [Joel Cohen, Law.com; our post the other day on Gabelli v. SEC]
  • “Are big-bank prosecutions following in the troubled footsteps of FCPA enforcement?” [Isaac Gorodetski, PoL]
  • The “‘professional’ press approach to the criminal justice system serves police and prosecutors very well. They favor reporters who hew to it.” [Ken at Popehat]
  • Scott Greenfield dissents from some common prescriptions on overcriminalization [Simple Justice]
  • Anti-catnip educational video might be a parody [YouTube via Radley Balko]
  • “Too Many Restrictions on Sex Offenders, or Too Few?” [NYT "Room for Debate"]
  • Kyle Graham on overcharging [Non Curat Lex] “The Policeman’s Legal Digest / A Walk Through the Penal Laws of New York (1934)” [Graham, ConcurOp]
  • “D.C. Council Proposes Pretty Decent Asset Forfeiture Reform” [John Ross, Reason] And the Institute for Justice reports on forfeiture controversies in Minnesota and Georgia.
  • Does prison privatization entrench a pro-incarceration lobby? [Sasha Volokh, more]

…you don’t actually need to have driven under the influence. If it’s an illegal substance, metabolites in your blood may suffice whether or not you were impaired at the time you actually did the driving. At least that’s the ruling of a state court of appeals; the Arizona Supreme Court could still reverse it. [John Ross/Reason, Scott Greenfield]

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Torts roundup

by Walter Olson on January 22, 2013

  • “City to pay $22.5 million to bipolar woman released in high-crime area” [Chicago Sun-Times, Greenfield]
  • On Medicaid settlement clawback evasion, Obama acts in line with wishes of both plaintiff’s and defense sides, though against interests of federal Treasury [Ted Frank] Michael Greve on Delia v. EMA, the Medicaid recoupment case before SCOTUS [Law and Liberty]
  • From Sasha Volokh, a Glee-ful Torts exam [Volokh]
  • Congrats to Abnormal Use, repeat winner in Torts category of ABA Journal Blawg 100;
  • UK: personal injury firms say they’ll need to lay off workers if government carries through on reform of civil suits [Law Gazette]
  • “How the First Amendment affects tort law” [Beck, Drug and Device Law]
  • Bummer: after involuntary pot brownie incident, lawsuit names club where incident took place [NJLRA]

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“A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that insurance companies can be required to pay long-term disability benefits to a recovering drug addict if the person would face a significant risk of relapse by returning to work.” The First Circuit parted company with the Fourth, which has ruled the opposite way. [Jacob Gershman, WSJ Law Blog, subscription; Colby v. Union Security Insurance, PDF]

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  • Forensics scandal keeps widening, as FBI agents trained state and local examiners in faulty methods [WaPo, Radley Balko] New York Times wades into case of Mississippi pathologist Steven Hayne [Reason] “Massachusetts Lab Scandal Leads to Fears of the Guilty Being Freed, Not So Much About the Innocent Being Jailed” [Shackford]
  • “Speed camera reform gains momentum with Maryland lawmakers” [Washington Examiner, editorial, WBAL]
  • “Gas masks, helmets for state alcohol-control agents — Everyone is a law-enforcement agent these days” [Steven Greenhut/PSI]
  • How the media hatched the “bath salts face-chewer” tale [Sullum]
  • “FBI investigating Utah state trooper for arresting sober people, charging them with DUI, lying on witness stand.” [@radleybalko summarizing Salt Lake City Tribune]
  • Looking forward to 2013 docket in white-collar crime [Peter Henning, NYT DealBook]
  • Bruce Green (Fordham), “Prosecutors and Professional Regulation” [SSRN via White Collar Crime Prof]

“The head of the United Nations’ International Narcotics Control Board is calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to legally challenge marijuana ballot initiatives in Colorado and Washington.” It seems the U.S. is a signatory to a U.N.-drafted 1961 treaty under which nations agree to “adopt such measures as may be necessary to prevent the misuse of, and illicit traffic in, the leaves of the cannabis plant.” [Mike Riggs, Reason; Jacob Sullum]

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“States with middle schools that conduct drug testing include Florida, Alabama, Missouri, West Virginia, Arkansas, Ohio, New Jersey and Texas,” as well as Pennsylvania, where the 12 year old girl in question was attending public school in Milford when subjected to the condition. [New York Times via Nick Gillespie, Reason]

From the comments: “Members of Congress, however, are not required to take such a test, as they work at less-critical tasks.” [ras]

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And we’re not just talking the amateur meth kind. [Scott Greenfield]

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