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August 8, 2014

When Child Pornography is Not Child Pornography

There has been an increase in crackdowns on alleged child pornography, especially on the Internet. One must consider the ramifications of assigning the label “child pornography” to distasteful, yet perfectly legal, photos, films or digital renderings. Earlier this year, the Huffington Post published a poll concerning 13 year old French model Thylane Loubry Blondeau. Blondeau was in the news not because of her young...

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Posted in: Child Pornography

July 2, 2014

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

The Supreme Court of the United States unanimously ruled that the police need warrants to search the cell phones of people they arrest after having reviewed two separate cases. Traditionally, the courts have long allowed warrantless searches in connection with arrests, saying they are justified by the need to protect police officers and to prevent the destruction of evidence. However, in the digital age, the court noted the vast amount of data contained on modern cellphones must be protected from routine inspection. Specifically, “Modern cellphones are not just another technological...

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Posted in: Uncategorized

May 6, 2014

Supreme Court Limits Restitution Payments to Victims of Child Pornography

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a plea to make it easier for victims of child pornography to collect money from people who view their images online, throwing out a nearly $3.4 million judgment in favor of a woman whose childhood rape has been widely seen on the Internet. The case involved a woman known in court papers by the pseudonym "Amy." Her losses for psychological care, lost income and attorneys' fees have been pegged at nearly $3.4 million, based on the ongoing Internet trade and viewing of images of her being raped by her uncle when she was 8 and 9 years old. The ruling...

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Posted in: Child Pornography, Internet Crime

May 2, 2014

PA Supreme Court Rules That No Warrant Is Needed to Search Vehicles

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has recently ruled that a search warrant is no longer needed when searching a vehicle, so long as probable cause exists. The Court determined that the Pennsylvania Constitution does not provide a greater protection than the Federal Constitution and effectively brings the Pennsylvania search and seizure law in alignment with Federal law. The facts presented to the court arise from a motor vehicle stop in Philadelphia. The officers stopped the vehicle on a motor vehicle violation and on their approach to the vehicle, noticed a strong odor of marijuana emanating...

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Posted in: Drug Crimes

March 6, 2014

United States Supreme Court Rules No Warrant Needed To Enter Home

The Supreme Court recently ruled that police do not always need a warrant to search your property. As long as two occupants disagree about allowing officers to enter, and the resident who refuses access is then arrested, police may enter the residence. This contradicts previous case law from 2006. Prior to this new decision, when there was a disagreement between two occupants about allowing officers to enter, the refusal by one party would have kept authorities from entering the home, without a search. The majority of the Justices now say police need not take the time to get a...

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Posted in: Misdemeanor / Felony Crimes