WHAT’S TERRORISM GOT TO DO WITH IT? THE PERILS OF PROSECUTORIAL MISUSE OF TERRORISM OFFENSES
When Carol Anne Bond discovered that her husband had impregnated her best friend Myrlinda Haynes, she sought revenge. Bond, a trained microbiologist employed by a chemical manufacturer, stole a supply of toxic chemicals from her employer and purchased more over the Internet. Over several months, Bond attempted to harm Haynes by spreading these chemicals in her house, on her car door handles, and in her mailbox. Haynes complained to local law enforcement, but they did not further pursue her complaint. After the matter was referred to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and following a federal investigation, federal prosecutors charged Bond with possessing and using a chemical weapon, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 229.5 Bond pleaded guilty to the charges and was sentenced to six years in prison.
CLASS ACTION PROFESSIONAL OBJECTORS: WHAT TO DO ABOUT THEM?
John E. Lopatka, D. Brooks Smith
Professional objectors are attorneys who, on behalf of nonnamed class members, file specious objections to class action settlements and threaten to file frivolous appeals of district court approvals merely to extract a payoff. Their behavior amounts to a kind of lawful extortion. By contrast, counsel may submit legitimate objections and appeal in good faith, which is conduct that helps police the settlement process. The policy challenge is to suppress extortionate behavior without deterring beneficial conduct. The solutions that have been tried or proposed are flawed. We propose amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure that would, in effect, require objectors to post appeal bonds in amounts greater than most circuit courts believe are now legally permissible.
JUDGING UNDER PRESSURE: A BEHAVIORAL EXAMINATION OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LEGAL DECISIONMAKING AND TIME
The long-running debate about whether judges have adequate resources has begun to boil. State and federal legislatures are slashing court budgets, with many courts receiving up to twenty percent reductions. In recent years, judges have been resigning or retiring in droves. The resulting judicial vacancies are often left unfilled. Those judges that remain will be forced to spend considerably less time on each case.
In response to this impending crisis, scholars have just begun systematically and empirically to consider how resource limitation affects judging. These studies are of vital importance, not only because they are so topical, but also because they have found evidence of a potential link between the amount of resources that appellate judges have and the likelihood that they will be deferential to the lower courts or to their colleagues. For example, a reduction in available resources correlates with lower reversal rates.
LAW’S PUBLIC/PRIVATE STRUCTURE
Often derided for its incoherence or uselessness, the public/private distinction is rarely studied explicitly outside the state action doctrine in Constitutional Law. To ignore this distinction, however, is to miss the most fundamental sorting criterion in our law. Distinguishing whether public or private entities control (a) law creation and definition and (b) prosecution leads to a simple yet powerful taxonomy of legal systems. The taxonomy characterizes legal systems in terms of control over decisionmaking by our most basic institutional forms: the public and private. Thus, the proper categorization of laws within the system, for example whether a policy should be administered by Tort or by Contract, should depend on the relative institutional capacities of public and private actors. I propose a small set of basic, or “atomic,” arguments concerning public and private capacities that can be used to generate such institutional comparisons.
THE WHOLE WORLD CONTAINED: HOW THE UBIQUITOUS USE OF MOBILE PHONES UNDERMINES YOUR RIGHT TO BE FREE FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES
“I want the world. I want the whole world. I want to lock it all up in my pocket. . . . Give it to me NOW!” Admit it: you and your mobile phone are virtually inseparable. You regularly send and receive e-mail from the device. You and your mobile phone are in constant contact. As Americans become increasingly tethered to their mobile phones, privacy considerations become apparent. In our fervor to have the fastest, the best, the most connected mobile phone, we have lost sight of some of the negative consequences of being hyper-connected. As users demand and manufacturers provide quicker access to e-mail, the Internet, and data, mobile phones become a repository for vast quantities of information. This information is highly concentrated and easily accessible from the mobile device. As this occurs, Fourth Amendment concerns are necessarily implicated because more and more material becomes vulnerable to discovery by law enforcement officers during a search. The United States Supreme Court has developed a Fourth Amendment jurisprudence that, carried to its logical conclusion, threatens to open up an immeasurable amount of private and personal information to agents of the government.
CONFLICT OF LAW REGARDING REVOCATION OF WILLS: MUTINY ON THE SITUS DEFAULT
John P. Gaset
It is commonplace in our contemporary society for a testator to own realty situated beyond domiciliary borders. Spliced with the traditional choice-of-law baseline—that the law of the situs is used to determine conflicts concerning interests in realty—such a testator is presented with undue revocation complexities. This Note explores those complications, and suggests that they are unnecessarily imposed. They threaten testamentary expectation and fail to further the interests purportedly justifying their existence. As such, this Note argues that a more functional baseline should be employed in lieu of the rigid application of common law currently utilized. By removing situs law application as the default in revocation proceedings, a functional approach alleviates expectation concerns, lowers transaction costs, and leaves legitimate state interests unscathed.