Statutory Law Archive

Monday

30

September 2013

0

COMMENTS

Question: Is it legal to fly the confederate flag?

Written by , Posted in Constitutional Law, Statutory Law

Answer:

The freedom of speech protection provided by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allows people to fly the confederate flag on their own property. However, the Government is not required to permit all forms of speech on public property. The legality of flying a confederate flag in public areas depends upon whether the area is designated as a public forum, limited public forum, or nonpublic forum.
Traditional public forums include public streets, sidewalks, and parks, while limited or designated public forums include public auditoriums or theaters. The Government may restrict speech in these forums if the restriction is narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling government interest. Nonpublic forums include areas such as airports and cemeteries; the Government is allowed to restrict speech in nonpublic forums so long as the restriction is reasonable and not an effort to suppress expression because public officials oppose the speaker’s view.

Multiple courts have upheld restrictions prohibiting confederate flags from being displayed in cemeteries, while courts in some states (such as South Carolina and Alabama) have approved the display of the confederate flag atop state buildings. Although a person is free to fly a confederate flag at their own home, one could potentially be restricted from doing so in a public place.

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Friday

6

September 2013

0

COMMENTS

Question: Is it illegal to burn money?

Written by , Posted in Statutory Law

Answer:

Money is government property, and in the United States it is illegal to deface or destroy government property. Specifically, this is a violation of Title 18, Section 333 of the United States Code, which says that “whoever mutilates, cuts, disfigures, perforates, unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, Federal Reserve Bank, or Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such item(s) unfit to be reissued, shall be fined not more than $100 or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.”  The law is enforced by the Secret Service.

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Tuesday

30

April 2013

0

COMMENTS

Question: Is it possible for a private citizen to bring a criminal case against a person or other entity?

Written by , Posted in Statutory Law

Question:

Is it possible for a private citizen to bring, charge, and prosecute a criminal case against a person or other entity in any court (federal, county, etc.) without having to go through the law enforcement jurisdiction involved?

Answer:

This type of action is called “private prosecution.” A private prosecution is a criminal proceeding initiated by an individual or private organization instead of by a public prosecutor who represents the state. Public prosecutors (i.e. district attorneys) today conduct almost all criminal prosecutions. The United States Supreme Court has quashed the right of private prosecution in federal court. Under Leeke v. Timmerman, (1981), 452 U.S. 83, the Court affirms the precedent in Linda R.S. v. Richard D., (1973) 410 U.S. 614, which denies the right of private prosecution, and serves as a bar to criminal prosecution in federal courts by persons not federal government employees. There may be an exception when a federal court appoints a private attorney to prosecute a criminal contempt action if the executive refuses to prosecute. Young v. U.S. ex re. Vuitton et Fils, (1987) 481 U.S. 787.

Regarding state private prosecutions is a different matter. Some states do allow a complainant to either file a request for an order to show cause or to actually prosecute as a private prosecutor. However states usually do not allow private prosecution on cases involving serious crimes or in situations where a public prosecutor has expressly refused to prosecute the defendant. Other states allow the use of private attorneys to assist the state in the prosecution of criminal cases.

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Thursday

18

April 2013

0

COMMENTS

Question: Is It Legal To Fly A Drone?

Written by , Posted in Statutory Law

Answer:

In order to fly a drone you must comply with applicable laws, which can be difficult. Officially referred to as an ‘unarmed aerial vehicle’, known as a UAV, the government requires a certification from the FAA in the form of Certificate of Authorization and also adhere to non-commercial recreational flights. Because most ‘drones’ are meant to be operated at higher altitudes, commonly classified as commercial airspace, the FAA would likely be hesitant to grant permission to an individual as opposed to a governmental agency with a specific purpose.

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Wednesday

17

April 2013

0

COMMENTS

Question: Is It Legal To Own A Hedgehog In New York?

Written by , Posted in Statutory Law

Answer:

It depends where in New York you live. While hedgehogs are legal to own in the State of New York, they are not legal to own if you live within New York City (inclusive of the five burroughs). Other states have banned ownership of hedgehogs as some wildlife agencies are concerned that a larger hedgehog population could pose a risk to local wildlife. The only resource tracking hedgehog ownership laws can be seen here: http://www.hedgehogcentral.com/illegal.shtml

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