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Supreme Court: Phones Can’t Be Searched Without a Warrant

June 26, 2014

United States Supreme Court

United States Supreme Court

In a sweeping victory for privacy rights in the digital age, the Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled that the police need warrants to search the cellphones of people they arrest.

While the decision will offer protection to the 12 million people arrested every year, many for minor crimes, its impact will most likely be much broader. The ruling almost certainly also applies to searches of tablet and laptop computers, and its reasoning may apply to searches of homes and businesses and of information held by third parties like phone companies.

“This is a bold opinion,” said Orin S. Kerr, a law professor at George Washington University. “It is the first computer-search case, and it says we are in a new digital age. You can’t apply the old rules anymore.”

via Supreme Court Says Phones Can’t Be Searched Without a Warrant – NYTimes.com.

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New Law – Cell Phone Ban in Illinois Takes Effect Jan. 1, 2014

December 17, 2013

Starting in the New Year, it will become illegal to talk or use hand-held cell phones and other communication devices while driving in Illinois. The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, 2014, imposes fees starting at $75 for drivers caught talking while driving. Gov. Pat Quinn signed the legislation in August.

via Cell Phone Ban in Illinois Takes Effect Jan. 1 – Government – Niles-Morton Grove, IL Patch.

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Consumer Issues – Legal Wrinkle Creates Debate Over ‘Debtors’ Prisons’ in Illinois

January 26, 2012

debtor prisonGenerally, when there are summons or a subpoena for you to appear in Court, you must do so if you have been served with those papers. Either yourself, or a legal representative on your behalf has to show up. Failure to show-up, may result is a warrant for your arrest to be issued. Now, that is a Rule of Law that is helpful in many instances in order to get those who have done harm or have important information about an incident such a witness to come to Court and help in the implementation of Justice.

What I fail to understand, is that in a collection proceeding, if the defendant has been properly served, and he or she does not show up in Court, the common sense result would be the entry of a judgment in the amount asked in favor of the plaintiff and against the missing defendant. The defendant then may begin collection activities which may include freezing bank accounts, wage garnishment, ceasing property and such. It behooves us to think that a person who owes money, and has not paid it as he or she was supposed to, would suddenly come up with funds to pay the debt holder if he or she would appear in Court. It is utterly void of any sense whatsoever, for a Judge to enter a body attachment order and issue an arrest warrant in a debt collection proceeding. It is simply void of any practical sense and/or common sense and/or legal sense.

Yet, the example below is one amongst many that I have heard taking place as of late. This causes a Court to play into the hands of low-life debt collectors who have found a new weapon to harass and harm otherwise good and law abiding citizens who are down on their luck. No one should be sent to jail because they cannot pay their debt. That is a sound principle that a Judge should be able to work through when a debt collector’s representative requests the Court to issue an arrest warrant when the defendant fails to show. Under normal circumstances, the failure should simply mean that the defendant does not have any defense nor is disputing the existence of the debt or his or her obligation to pay it. What more can be obtained by placing the person in jail, possibly causing more economic harm and making it even more difficult to pay back, even if they had such an intention.

This sort of behavior is expected of debt collectors-but it is surprising and sad to see Judge’s who are willing to go along with it.

“Robin Ebersohl left her job at a Wal-Mart in Montgomery County to drive back to her home in Livingston. During the trip, she was stopped by police. “I knew my muffler was bad, but I just kind of chanced it,” Ebersohl said. “He pulled me over, and I thought I would just get a fix-it ticket or something.” What Ebersohl didn’t know was that a warrant had been issued against her in Macoupin County for failure to appear in court on a debt collection issue. “I didn’t know what I was supposed to appear to,” said Ebersohl, who said she never got a notice that she was due in court.

Instead of going home that day, she was taken to jail. Ebersohl said she spent the night in the Montgomery County Jail and then was transferred to Macoupin County, where she spent three more days in jail.”

via Legal wrinkle creates debate over ‘debtors’ prisons’ in Illinois – Springfield, IL – The State Journal-Register.

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New Law – Back-seat Riders Required to Buckle Up

January 2, 2012

A good law is now in effect. If one is ridding in a moving vehicle, there are no reasons why all passengers should not be belted in and secured in their place. All unrestrained objects in a vehicle can become deadly projectiles in an accident and cause various levels of personal injuries if not death to themselves and/or others. It only makes sense that this law was passed.

One thing that is not clear, why passengers in taxi cabs and/or motor buses are exempt. Will the laws of physics not apply to those passengers if involved in a motor vehicle accident?

Just like unrestrained front-seat riders, back-seat passengers who aren’t buckled up during an accident can suffer head, chest and abdominal trauma.“ And they can be thrown from the vehicle,” said James Doherty, medical director of trauma and critical care programs at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. Back-seat passengers also can become human projectiles during a crash, injuring or even killing others in the vehicle, he said.

Beginning Sunday January 1, 2012, Illinois will require all passengers, including previously exempt back-seat riders 18 and older, to buckle up. “It’s a good law,” New Lenox police Deputy Chief April DiSandro said. “It makes sense. If you have to be belted in the front seat, why not the back?

”The bill, which was sponsored by state Senate President John Cullerton D-Chicago and the late state Rep. Mark Beaubien R-Barrington Hills, was signed into law during the summer. It allows police officers to stop a car if they spot an unbuckled rider. Fines start at $25 but can be more, depending on court costs.

via Back-seat riders required to buckle up starting Sunday – Joliet Herald News.

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Illinois Supreme Court Finds Caps on Damages To Be Unconstitutional

February 4, 2010

Much to the delight of all victims of medical malpractice and consumers in Illinois in general, the Supreme Court found that caps on non-economic damages as legislated by Illinois lawmakers was an unconstitutional interference of the legislative branch with the judicial branch of the government. This is a great victory for all victims of medical malpractice in Illinois. regrettably, the fight does not stop here and will now be focused, at least for us, to the Federal arena where Tort Reform is still a threat to all consumers and victims of malpractice.

Illinois Supreme Court to rule on medical malpractice cap

The Illinois Supreme Court struck down the state’s medical malpractice law today, saying it violates separation of powers by allowing lawmakers to interfere with a judge’s ability to reduce verdicts.

The much-anticipated ruling, which challenged the constitutionality of damage caps for doctors and hospitals, is being watched closely by the health care industry and employers that see caps on damages as a way to tame rising health care costs.

The ruling could figure in the national health care debate of stalled health care legislation. In the U.S. Senate where Republicans have opposed existing health care reform legislation, the GOP has been vocal about the need for tort reform and caps on damages.

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Tort Reform Gives Bad Doctors a License To Kill.

January 26, 2010

License to kill | kill, license

Tort law defines what a legal injury is and establishes liability. All tort reform limits the circumstances under which injured people may sue and limits how much a jury may award the injured.

Is tort reform good or bad? That depends on who benefits and who loses out. It benefits the insurance companies in a big way. It benefits for-profit hospitals and clinics. It hasn’t reduced our medical bills.

The big loser is the patient who is injured or killed by bad medical practice. Tort reform makes Florida’s health care system less safe and effective. It limits victims’ access to the courts and costs taxpayers money in order to care for injured victims. If you’re injured by bad medical practice, you will have a near-impossible time finding a lawyer who will represent you because of the 2004 Florida tort reform. It effectively gives bad doctors a license to kill.

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You Save Lives… AIG Limits your Healthcare!!

January 22, 2010

Isn’t this precious? These people are in a airplane crash–the plane crash landed in the Hudson River–and AIG is playing hardball in paying their claims. Insurance companies have generally adopted the triple “D’ approach to claims: Deny, Delay and Defend. Do not be intimidated by this tactic–it quickly falls apart when legitimate claims are brought before juries.

Nice job, Capt. Sullenberger. Now quit whining about that neck pain and get back to work!

In yet another P.R. coup for everyone’s favorite bailed-out insurance company, AIG balks at paying claims to passengers from the US Airways flight that miraculously landed in New York’s Hudson River last January. According to The New York Times, the firm tells passengers with medical bills to file claims with their own health insurers — assuming they have health insurance — and limits the number of therapy sessions for passengers traumatized by their brush with death to three.

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Drink Up Johnny!

November 19, 2009

Alcohol Cuts CHD Risk in Men

Consumption of alcohol in almost any quantity is associated with a nearly one-third reduction in the incidence of coronary heart disease (CHD) — at least in men, a large Spanish study confirmed.

Reporting online in Heart, Larraitz Arriola, PhD, of the public health department in San Sebastian and colleagues wrote that a multivariate analysis determined the following reductions of CHD risk at these consumption levels:

* Low levels of alcohol (0 to 5 mg/day), HR 0.65 (95% CI 0.41 to 1.04)
* Moderate levels (5 to 30 g/day), HR 0.49 (95% CI 0.32 to 0.75)
* High levels (30 to 90 g/day), HR 0.46 (95% CI 0.30 to 0.71)
* Very high levels (more than 90 g/day), HR 0.50 (95% CI 0.29 to 0.85)

No significant associations were seen for women, however.

Many studies have examined the association between alcohol use and CHD. Most have suggested that moderate intake reduces the risk, with effects on high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, clotting factors, insulin sensitivity, and inflammation providing biologic plausibility for the observation.

However, scientists still debate whether the the association is truly causal, and whether the studies have been marred by “abstainer error.”

Abstainer error refers to classification of participants who had recently stopped drinking — usually because of declining health, frailty, or disability — as nondrinkers.

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