Monday, June 24, 2013

Alleyne v. United States: An Element By Any Other Name...

The Supreme Court had decided US v. Alleyne
In Alleyne v. United States, the Supreme Court dropped the biggest bombshell on criminal sentencing since Booker in 2005. The holding is relatively simple, overruling the 2002 case Harris v. United States to find that any fact which increases the minimum sentence for a crime must be proved to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt and cannot be found by a judge on a preponderance standard. This renders current federal sentencing procedure unconstitutional and invalidates the sentencing schemes in a large number state jurisdictions. It's an important decision that has been a long time coming, but it leaves some big questions unanswered.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Maine Legislature Considers L.D. 415 and Limits on Cell Phone Tracking

Maine Legislature building cell phone location privacy
Maine's Law Factory
Secretly tracking people without a warrant or notice to the person is much cheaper than the alternative, so lets just keep doing that, right? That's essentially the the Maine Attorney General's Office response to L.D. 415 a bill that would limit Law Enforcement's currently unfettered access to cell phone location information. An article in the Portland Press Herald discusses the bill noting that:
Maine is one of the few states that are considering legislation to regulate access to cellphone records. L.D. 415, sponsored by Assistant Senate Minority Leader Roger Katz, R-Augusta, an attorney, would force police to get warrants to access location information from cellphones or other GPS-enabled devices, except in emergencies such as imminent threats of bodily harm.