Arrest Records—They Can Last a Lifetime

Americans are finding that arrest records can haunt them for their whole lives, even for arrests where no charges were filed. The problem is discussed in a recent Wall Street Journal article. Retired Judge Eugene Hyman discusses the problem in this report. Statistics suggest that one out of three Americans …

Cyberbullying—Albany County, NY Law Appealed

Cyberbullying—Albany County, NY Law Appealed from Sequence Media on Vimeo. Albany County, New York enacted a “cyberbullying” law, under which a juvenile was convicted. He entered a guilty plea, reserving the right to appeal. As this report was produced, the case was pending before the New York Court of Appeals. …

No-Fly List A Constitutional Rights Violation?

No-Fly List A Constitutional Rights Violation? from Sequence Media on Vimeo. A federal district court judge ruled on June 24 that the use of the no-fly list by the federal government is a violation of constitutional rights. Retired judge Eugene Hyman discusses the ruling. The origin of the no-fly list …

Ninth Circuit Extends Batson to Sexual Orientation

Ninth Circuit Extends Batson to Sexual Orientation from Sequence Media on Vimeo. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has recently extended Batson v. Kentucky, which forbade the striking of jurors for racial reasons, to include striking prospective jurors because of their sexual orientation. In Smithkline Beecham Corp. v. Abbott Laboratories, …

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Arrest Records—They Can Last a Lifetime

August 23, 2014 Uncategorized No Comments

Americans are finding that arrest records can haunt them for their whole lives, even for arrests where no charges were filed. The problem is discussed in a recent Wall Street Journal article. Retired Judge Eugene Hyman discusses the problem in this report.

Judge Hyman

Statistics suggest that one out of three Americans has an arrest record of some kind. The problems can be very serious, especially if a prospective employer turns you down for a job because of a spurious arrest record and does not tell you why you were passed over. Judge Hyman says that is especially the case for job applicants who don’t even get an interview.

Another problem, says Judge Hyman, is that people will sometimes run record checks through one of several websites that offer the service. This can especially be a problem if a state law does not permit a record check for the kind of job someone is applying for, where there is no sensitivity to the job. About 25% of the records are inaccurate, so that merely aggravates the problem.

Judge Hyman points out that errors occur because human beings are in charge of preparing and handling the records. Also, he says, people who complete their probation often assume that their records are sealed and will not be discovered. But in a number of states, affirmative action is required to get a conviction expunged from a person’s record.

Mug shot websites are another problem. These sites can hurt people with inaccurate information. Judge Hyman opines that such a site might be liable to a class action lawsuit.

Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com. He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.

Cyberbullying—Albany County, NY Law Appealed

August 13, 2014 Uncategorized No Comments

Cyberbullying—Albany County, NY Law Appealed from Sequence Media on Vimeo.

Albany County, New York enacted a “cyberbullying” law, under which a juvenile was convicted. He entered a guilty plea, reserving the right to appeal. As this report was produced, the case was pending before the New York Court of Appeals. Retired Judge Eugene Hyman discusses the case and the issues involved.
Judge Hyman points out that the law is similar to a California law banning what a reasonable person would deem a threat and have fear for personal safety. Judge Hyman notes that the California law has been held constitutional and suggests that this could be a guideline for drafting cyberbullying laws. Annoyance or harassment may not be conduct that can be forbidden.
The defendant in this case was charged under county law, as New York has no statute on the subject that would have preempted a county law. The defendant here, a juvenile at the time, created a Facebook page on which he posted offensive material about other teen-agers.
Judge Hyman opines that the NY Court of Appeals could hold that the county statute was overly broad for several reasons. Subsequent to this report, on July 1, 2014, the NY Court of Appeals overturned the law, holding that the statute was overly broad based on U.S. Supreme Court decisions and that judicially rewriting the law to make it acceptable would “[encroach] on the authority of the legislative body that crafted the provision.” People v. Marquan M., 2014 NY Slip Op 04881 (NY Ct. App. 7/1/14).
Since the decision of the Court of Appeals, the Albany County legislature has made another try at writing an acceptable cyberbullying law. As of December, 2013, more than half the states have laws against cyberbullying or cyberstalking.
Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com. He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.

No-Fly List A Constitutional Rights Violation?

August 13, 2014 Uncategorized No Comments

No-Fly List A Constitutional Rights Violation? from Sequence Media on Vimeo.

A federal district court judge ruled on June 24 that the use of the no-fly list by the federal government is a violation of constitutional rights. Retired judge Eugene Hyman discusses the ruling. The origin of the no-fly list dates back to 2003.

First, judge Hyman notes, the ruling is not binding on any other judge because it is only a trial court’s ruling. A different district in Oregon might follow it, or not. Because the list involves travel, it is purely a federal matter, so the only way a passenger can contest being “blacklisted” is in federal court. Prior to this particular case, judge Hyman notes, there was no testing of the list.

The list contains about 20,000 names at this time. Before this case, there was no recourse for a passenger who was on the list and was barred from boarding flights. Every review is “on a case-by-case basis.” As judge Hyman notes, the Supreme Court does not have to accept cases, and unless there are appeals from district court decisions, there will never be a definitive ruling on the review of blacklisting. Judge Hyman points out that the no-fly list even includes U.S. military personnel.

Note: About a month after the Oregon decision that is the subject of this report, were made public by an online magazine and were the subject of a story in the New York Times.

Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com. He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.

Ninth Circuit Extends Batson to Sexual Orientation

August 13, 2014 Uncategorized No Comments

Ninth Circuit Extends Batson to Sexual Orientation from Sequence Media on Vimeo.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has recently extended Batson v. Kentucky, which forbade the striking of jurors for racial reasons, to include striking prospective jurors because of their sexual orientation. In Smithkline Beecham Corp. v. Abbott Laboratories, a panel of the court held that prospective jurors could no longer be struck on account of their sexual orientation. The full court recently declined to review the ruling. The Batson ruling has been expanded to include jury strikes because of gender.

Former judge Eugene Hyman comments on the decision, noting that the decision in this case will apply throughout the courts in the Ninth Circuit, the largest of the federal circuits. Judge Hyman does not believe that the losing party will seek certiorari in this case. This case is very important because it extends constitutional rights to gays and lesbians for the first time. This could conceivably extend to marriage cases.

Judge Hyman notes that California already had this level of constitutional protection (from the case of People v. Garcia). However, most states have not taken this step. Judge Garcia opines that conservatives “are concerned that this is going to heighten these kinds of reviews.” The concern is that courts are legislating by decision rather than letting state legislatures consider this issue.

Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com. He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.

The Scarlet Letter and Other Roadblocks to Redemption for Female Offenders

July 1, 2014 Uncategorized No Comments

 

Does redemption exist in today’s criminal justice system? Conceptually, redemption stems from the Judeo-Christian belief that forgiveness shall be given for past misdeeds or sins.  In the context of law—once one has atoned for their sins,  misdeed, paid their debt to society, served time, moreover, has turned the corner and is living crime free—is a crime ever really forgiven, much less forgotten?

Read more at the Santa Clara Law Review

US Supreme Court Reviewing Cell Phone Searches and Seizures, With Judge Eugene Hyman, Santa Clara, California

April 30, 2014 Uncategorized No Comments

The U.S. Supreme is reviewing privacy interest in the context of cell phones, after spending time previously reviewing cases involving computers and GPS systems.  Generally, things can be searched incident to an arrest but the question is if you can’t search, can you seize?

Retired Superior Court Judge, Eugene Hyman, of Santa Clara, California, says the answer is yes and then the officer can apply for a search warrant to see if there’s probable cause to believe the cell phone is evidence of a crime.  If the magistrate believes so, then the search warrant is issued and the police can search it.

Nowadays, cell phones are mini computers and if a police officer needed a search warrant to search a computer taken from a home, the why wouldn’t they need a search warrant if it’s taken from your car, Hyman asks.

The California Supreme Court held that since it’s incident to an arrest, especially in the context of a vehicle, then that is enough to allow officers to search cell phones without the necessity of obtaining a search warrant, according to Hyman.

A vehicle is different from a home in that a vehicle is mobile and the concern is that things can disappear or get damaged, explains Hyman, who further adds that the general rule, historically, for warrant-less searches is there’s a great deal more leeway with vehicles.

Hyman believes the case is very important because it’s going to test the limits on what “historically, has been open season.”  In this case, they will decide if a cell phone truly is so personal to require additional protections or whether the general historical rules apply, he explains.

Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com. He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast NetworkThe Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.

Supreme Court Gives Police Authority to Turn Tips into Traffic Stops, With Judge Eugene Hyman, Santa Clara, California

April 30, 2014 Uncategorized No Comments

In a closely divided Supreme Court ruling, the Supreme Court has given police the authority to turn anonymous tips into traffic stops and possible arrests.  Given the imminent danger a vehicle possesses and because the situation is fluid, the Court decided on a more liberal approach as compared to tipsters calling on situations involving drugs in homes.

A tip wouldn’t be enough for a search warrant when it involves the selling of drugs out of a house because the tipster has to be a reliable informant and by going into the tipster’s history, the judge would need to determine if the tipster is reliable, says Eugene Hyman, a retired Superior Court Judge out of Santa Clara, California.  The reliability factor, with respect to the tipster involving a vehicle is a lot lower, he adds.

By calling in a tip involving a vehicle and providing the make of the car and license plate number and the fact that it’s in progress leads to a more reasonable event with respect to stopping that vehicle in question.

In the case before the Supreme Court, what Judge Hyman found interesting was that the police followed the vehicle for a couple of miles and saw no evidence of bad driving, but still stopped the vehicle based on the tip and the Supreme Court said this was allowed.

Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com. He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast NetworkThe Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.

Olympian Bode Miller’s Custody Dispute, With Judge Eugene Hyman, Santa Clara, California

February 28, 2014 Uncategorized No Comments

The custody battle involving Olympic skier Bode Miller raises the question of whether a pregnant woman should be legally obligated to live near the unborn child’s father.

California’s laws came about because of surrogacy, to prevent a person who’s being paid to be a surrogate and then change the rule and back out.  As a result, a procedure was established in California where even pre-birth you can establish parentage and there can be pre-birth rules with respect to the child, says Judge Eugene Hyman, retired from the Superior Court in Santa Clara, California.

Bode Miller is using those laws for a completely different purpose in his situation and what he’s doing is allowed under law, says Hyman.  Unfortunately, New York went overboard in their application, he adds.  As the case plays out, it’s interesting to understand that anyone can have these jurisdictional disputes and it’s true that once a procedure is started in one state, assuming that the state has initial jurisdiction to begin, the fact that one participant moves to another state doesn’t necessarily mean proceedings move to another state, Hyman says.  He adds that what’s unusual in this case is that while there were proceedings to establish parental abilities with respect to California, prior to being born, the mother moved to New York to attend graduate school at Columbia University.

The New York judge that was drawn decided to view this as she was trying to kidnap a fetus and deny Bode Miller his parental rights and that’s where things went horribly wrong, says Hyman.

Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com. He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network.  The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.

Bieber Refuses Offer From Court, With Judge Eugene Hyman, Santa Clara, California

February 28, 2014 Uncategorized No Comments

After charges stemming from a DUI arrest, Justin Bieber refuses an offer from the court and decides to take the case “to the box.”  Retired Superior Court Judge Eugene Hyman, of Santa Clara, California, does not think this is a good idea.  Based on what Hyman’s read in the media, the evidence is somewhat overwhelming with respect to his guilt and he thinks that maybe because of his notoriety, Bieber thinks he stands a chance if not only a not guilty verdict, at least a hung jury and come out okay.

Clearly, a judge couldn’t give a person a more harsh sentence because that person has assisted on availing themselves of their constitutional rights and they can’t be punished for exercising that right, says Hyman.  However, a judge is not obligated to give a pre-trial offer to someone who has taken their case to adjudication with respect to guilty or not guilty.  The judge can take into consideration if that person lied during testimony and consider all the other factors not known during the time the pre-trial offer was made, Hyman says.  “This could have immigration consequence that we’re unaware of at this time,” adds Hyman.

Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com. He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network.  The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of the Sequence Media Group.

Sperm Donor Lawsuit in Kansas, With Judge Eugene Hyman, Santa Clara, California

January 30, 2014 Uncategorized No Comments

All states are concerned with the best interest of the child when it comes to child support and sperm donation and the rules and laws have been developed around this to make sure these children are economically supported. Judge Eugene Hyman, retired from the Superior Court of Santa Clara, California, says that in California, if a sperm donor mistakenly pays child support, after two years, he will have to continue until the child is 18 because of the social policy to make sure the child is supported.

In a case in Kansas, where a home-grown transfer was completed after a sperm donor answered a Craiglist ad, Hyman says it was the method of transfer not done in a clinical setting, which doesn’t provide the independence that’s required in terms of eliminating the legal responsibility of becoming financially responsible for the child.

Before entering into an arrangement, Hyman advises checking the state’s statutes and contacting a licensed sperm bank. When doing it person to person, you are giving up the confidentiality that sperm banks guarantee, says Hyman.

Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com. He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network.

Family Law FAQ: What if my child is arrested?

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