The Legal Happenings

Created By: Sulvana Cerimovic

Death Penalty Ruling Overturned

On December 11, 2013 a unanimous decision of the U.S Supreme Court reversed a lower courts ruling that had overturned the death sentence of a Kansas Inmate, Scott Cheever. Cheever claimed that his Fifth Amendment right against self- incrimination had been violated because he was forced to undergo a mental health examination after stating that he was intoxicated at the time of the crime when he shot a sheriff. The psychiatrist who examined Cheever testified that Cheevers "antisocial personality" led to the crime rather than his drug use. Since Cheever was only relying on his mental state for his defense, the prosecution was entitled to present contrary evidence on his mental state. The Kansas court said Cheever's Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination were violated by prosecutors who used a court-ordered mental evaluation from a different trial against him. The Court earlier ruled that the psychiatric statements could not be used against a defendant who "neither initiates a psychiatric evaluation nor attempts to introduce any psychiatric evidence." Cheever's own expert argued that methamphetamine use had damaged his brain. Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that because Cheever's side raised the brain damage issue, prosecutors were entitled to use testimony from the mental health expert from a different trial against him. That expert said Cheever killed because of an anti-social personality, not because of brain damage. The court agreed with Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt's argument that the minute Cheevers defense presented mental health issues; he was not protected from answering any rebuttal questions from the prosecutors. Messages left with Cheevers attorneys seeking comment on Wednesday werent immediately returned. To sum it all up as of now Cheever had acknowledged the fact that he shot and killed Officer Samuels when the officer tried to serve a warrant at a home where meth was indeed being made. At Cheever’s Trial, he argued that he was high on met and incapable of premeditation when he opened fire on Samuels and four other officers. State prosecutors originally filed this case in federal court to strive for the death penalty. This was done after Kansas Supreme Court ruled in 2004 that the law was unconstitutional. The U.S Supreme court overturned the Kansas ruling and charges were then filed in state court seeking execution.
The picture shows the Supreme Court hearing Cheevers Case

Cyber Bullying: Innocent hoax or lethal?

Cyber Bullying is a lot different than the traditional bullying we used to know. With all this technology young teens and adults have found a way to harass, and harm others without doing a face to face confrontation. With the increase in use of these technologies Cyber bullying has become increasingly common, especially among teenagers. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at the very least be investigated by a minor against another minor. When an adult becomes involved it is then considered cyber stalking or cyber- harassment. It is never considered cyber bullying when an adult becomes involved. The kid involved in cyber bullying often change roles. They may be the bully at one instance and a victim the next. Cyber bullying could have many overwhelming consequences. One of which are suicide. On October 10, 2012, young teen Amanda Todd was found in her home dead after committing suicide. She had been harassed over the internet and even changed schools and moved to a different city because of it. That made no difference though she was again stalked, and bullied online in her other schools. Amanda Todd is one of many teens who took their own life due to being bullied on the internet.

Proposition 19: Marijuana conflict in U.S

Proposition 19 legalizes Marijuana under California but Not Federal Law. Under this proposition it will permit local governments to regulate and tax commercial production, distribution, and sale of marijuana in the state of California. It will allow people 21 years or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. It prohibits people from possessing marijuana on school grounds, using in public, or smoking it while minors are present. It will also limit employers’ ability to address marijuana use to situations where job performance is actually impaired. Under proposition 19 it maintains prohibitions against driving while impaired. The proposition was defeated on November 2, 2010. Supporters say that Proposition 19 will save the state money currently spent in enforcing the botched laws against marijuana growth and use. The opponents of the proposition argue that Proposition 19 is a defective measure that loosens penalties for driving or working under the influence of marijuana.

Texting and Driving

Texting and driving has become a nationwide issue in the U.S. Five seconds is the average time your eyes are being taken off the road while texting. Distracted driving is extremely dangerous. Electronic communication has been linked to a significant increase in distracted driving. This has led to accidents and numerous lives lost for being careless. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration informed that in 2010 driver distraction was the cause of 18 percent of all fatal crashes. To be more specific 3,092 people killed and crashes resulting in an injury with 416,000 people wounded. Texting and driving is especially common with teens. According to a Pew survey, Forty percent of all American teens have stated that they have been in a car where the driver of the car used a cell phone in a way that put their lives in danger along with other people on the road. National campaigns have spread the awareness of the dangers that come along with texting and driving.

Opinion Section: Gay Marriage

Elvira Dzafic feels that same sex couples should be allowed to get married. She stated that "Its not right that someone can tell you who you can and cant love.If a person wants to get married let them be. It doesnt affect anyone else. So why should we get the say whether a couple can get married or not. Let people live their lives and choose who they love whether it be a man or women"

Gays United

Come to our meeting for homosexuals and people who support it. There will be excellent food, drinks, and great music. We will be discussing the issue of legalizing gay marriage and planning out events to give awareness to it! Come on out to the Miller theatre on Monday the 23rd of this month!

Sources

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