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Justices to decide on sentences for young prison ‘lifers’
Sheriff's Deputy Charles Hurt was on truant patrol when he came across a teenager in a Baton Rouge park on a cool fall morning. The teenager pulled a gun from his jacket, panicked, he said, and shot Hurt dead. That tragic sequence took place more than a half-century ago, nine days before the Kennedy assassination in 1963. The teenager, Henry Montgomery, is now 69 years old and has been behind bars almost ever since, serving a life sentence. He wants the Supreme Court to give him a chance to get out of prison before he dies...Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree
is calling on the justices to consider banning life-without-parole sentences altogether for people who commit even the most heinous crimes before their 18th birthdays. Ogletree said the court should take note of the rapid change in sentencing laws to rule out life terms for the young.
Nobel Economist Showed We’re Helping the Wrong People
An op-ed by Cass Sunstein.
Presidential candidates from both parties are focusing, as usual, on the middle class. But what’s that? And why, exactly, does it deserve such attention? Princeton’s Angus Deaton, who on Monday was announced as the latest winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize for economics, has offered some intriguing answers. The most important is this: If you care about how people actually experience their lives, you should be concerned about people who earn less than $75,000 per year. Above that amount, Deaton’s evidence suggests that more money may not particularly matter.
Twisted Decision on Yoga Copyright
An op-ed by Noah Feldman
. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit held last week that Bikram yoga can't be copyrighted. The decision covers California -- yoga’s American heartland -- and it'll probably influence courts elsewhere. Although the ideal of yoga being free to all is appealing, the court got this one wrong. The stylized, precise sequence of poses arranged by Bikram Choudhury, and performed in a 105 degree room, should’ve been treated as choreography, entitled to copyright protection, not as an abstract expression of medical ideas.
A Peace Prize for Tunisia’s Exceptionalism
An op-ed by Noah Feldman
. The quartet of Tunisian civil society leaders who won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday played an important part in the country’s thus-far successful democratic, constitutional revolution. But their role was no more decisive than that of the leaders who shepherded the country from the Arab Spring protests to the election of the constituent assembly, or of the elected assembly members who produced, negotiated and ratified a liberal democratic constitution. The best way to think about it is that the Nobel committee wanted to reward the Tunisian people for being the only Arab state to have achieved democracy since the regional upheaval in 2011, and they picked the civil society leaders as the stand-in. The Peace Prize is being given to the Tunisian exception.
The Harvard Crimson
Student Protesters Appeal Dismissal of Divestment Lawsuit
Students from the environmental activist group Divest Harvard have appealed the dismissal of their lawsuit filed against the University last November, which asks the court to compel Harvard to divest its $37.6 billion endowment from the fossil fuel industry...Though the plaintiffs may not introduce new arguments at the appeals stage, according to plaintiff and Harvard Law School student Alice M. Cherry
, the brief seeks to argue why the dismissal was unwarranted so that the case can proceed in a lower court...“It’s amazing to have the City of Cambridge, Harvard’s own hometown, throw its support behind our lawsuit,” said Joseph “Ted” E. Hamilton
, a Law School student, in a press release. “This shows that many people support us and that Harvard owes it to the public to divest from fossil fuels.”
The Boston Globe
DCF’s new strategy could see more families split up
The tension is right there in the agency’s name — the Department of Children and Families — and in its mission statement, which charges it with both protecting children from abuse and holding together unstable families...Now, Governor Charlie Baker has made it clear that he believes the balance has tilted too far in one direction....Still, it remains to be seen if the governor will fundamentally shift the agency’s mission, said Elizabeth Bartholet
, a Harvard Law School professor who argued that such a change would require an overhaul of the policy that separates high-risk and low-risk cases. “Simply saying safety is our priority is what everybody always says,” Bartholet said. “Without specifics, DCF is never going to do that on its own.”
The Standard Times
State foreclosure bill has fans, critics
A bill aimed at increasing legal protections for people who buy foreclosed homes is working its way through the state legislature, but faces criticism from opponents who say it would disproportionately harm minorities....Several minority leaders, including NAACP New England president Juan Cofield, Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree
and city councilors Jass Stewart of Brockton and Dana Rebeiro of New Bedford, wrote a letter to Senate leaders opposing the bill. They claimed it would have disproportionate negative impacts in minority communities ravaged by subprime mortgages. They also argued the bill strips victims of illegal foreclosures of their rights. “These homeowners, from communities of color and more broadly, must retain their rights,” the letter stated. “They must have access to adequate legal redress. Denying them the ability to sue to regain title to their illegally foreclosed home is not justice.”
What You Watch on Your Phone Might Not Be Private
An op-ed by Noah Feldman
. If you download a free app to your phone or tablet and watch videos without registering, can the service share your viewing preferences with a third party? The answer is now yes in the 11th Circuit, which covers Alabama, Florida and Georgia. The appeals court held last week that the Video Privacy Protection Act doesn’t cover viewers who aren't registered, because they aren't “subscribers” under the meaning of the law. The decision is doubtful as a matter of logic, but it’s also now the law, so watch at your own risk.
The New Indian Express
ICC Prosecutor Asks India to Arrest Sudan President During India-Africa Forum Summit Visit
As New Delhi gears up for its biggest ever diplomatic jamboree with African nations, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor has said that India should “contribute” towards the goal of accountability for the “world’s worst crimes” by arresting the visiting Sudanese President, Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, who has been indicted for 10 counts as a 'war criminal...Harvard Law School's Professor Alex Whiting
, who had been attorney in ICC Prosecutor's office from 2010 to 2013, agreed that India "does not have legal obligation" to enforce warrant for Al Bashir as UNSC resolution 1593 "does not obligate non-State parties to cooperate with the ICC but only urges them to do so". "However, India is a signatory to the Genocide Convention which states that "that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which [the contracting parties] undertake to prevent and to punish," Whiting told Express. India became a party to the 1948 Genocide Convention in 1959. Whiting felt that "this obligation would cause India to think twice about hosting someone who has been charged by an international tribunal with genocide".