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Articles Posted in Law & Information

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Capitol_building_California-300x145The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that could change the future of sports betting. The court recently decided to hear arguments regarding the legalization of sports gambling.

It all stems from a New Jersey ballot measure regarding sports betting that was approved by voters. As a result, the state began setting up sports books, but the MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL and NCAA sued New Jersey under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a federal law that prohibits sports gambling outside of Nevada, Oregon, Montana and Delaware.

What Happens Next?

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Concealed-weapon-2-300x199In 2016, California voters allowed a number of laws that aimed to strictly regulate firearm and ammunition purchases within the state. One of those laws banned Californians from owning or possessing large-capacity magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

The law was set to go into effect on July 1. However, just days before it officially became law, a judge blocked it. So, is it illegal to possess large-capacity magazines in California?

California Voters Pass Law Banning Large-Capacity Magazines

The sale of large-capacity magazines was banned in California in 2000, when voters elected to outlaw people from purchasing magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. However, the law did not completely ban large capacity magazines within the state.

A stipulation in the law allowed individuals who had already purchased large-capacity magazines before 2000 to keep them for personal use. Individuals who owned a firearm purchased before 2000 that can only be used with a large-capacity magazine also were exempt from the laws.

However, voters passed Proposition 63 in 2016. This law, which was set to take effect July 1, eliminated exemptions from the large-capacity magazine law and increased the maximum penalty for owning large-capacity magazines. Therefore, anyone who possessed or owned a large-capacity magazine would have been required to:

  • Transfer the magazines to federally licensed gun dealers,
  • Move the magazines out of the state,
  • Turn in the magazines to law enforcement, or
  • Destroy the large-capacity magazines

Judge Blocks Gun Magazine Law from Taking Effect

On June 29, days before the gun magazine law was set to take effect, U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez issued a preliminary injunction to block it at the request of attorneys representing the Nation Rifle Association (NRA). Continue reading →

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Internet_Social-Media_Computer_Cellphone-300x200It’s no secret how much President Trump loves taking his message directly to the public through his Twitter account. Recently, Trump’s account has started to block people who express opposition to his tweets. By blocking these people, it prohibits them from reading and responding to tweets from Trump’s account.

Do you have a right to see the president’s tweets? There is currently a legal battle pending as to whether it is a violation of the First Amendment for Trump to continue to block people from seeing his tweets.

Is Twitter a Public Forum?

The central question in this case is whether the president’s Twitter account is a “designated public forum.” Under the First Amendment, a designated public forum is a forum that is set aside by the government for the purpose of free expression. In such a forum, the government may only place limits on the time, place, and manner in which the speech is made, but cannot censor the content of speech without a compelling interest.

The Knight First Amendment Foundation is arguing that the president’s Twitter account is a designated public forum and blocking people from this forum is a violation of their First Amendment rights. The foundation is stating that since the president of the United States controls the account, the government therefore operates it for the purposes of public expression. By blocking access to the account to people who are critical of him, Trump is censoring the free speech rights of those who disagree with him, according to the Knight First Amendment Foundation.

The argument has some weaknesses. First, like other social media services, Twitter is a privately owned and operated service that allows anyone to sign up for an account and use it for free. Also like other social media services, users must agree to Twitter’s terms of service before they can use the site, which means that Twitter reserves the right to deactivate accounts that violate those terms. Thus, President Trump’s legal team could argue that Twitter is a private forum in which the president is but one of millions of participants, and therefore the content can be regulated. Continue reading →

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AWDW-300x145In 2015, a terrorist attack in San Bernardino left 14 people dead. The shooter used assault rifles to kill his victims. This horrific event led to a crackdown on weapons in California. However, now that new gun laws have taken effect, gun rights groups are attempting to fight them.

Gun Rights Groups Challenging California Laws

Since 2015, California lawmakers have passed several laws prohibiting different types of weapons and ammunition. Now, the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA), the state’s affiliate of the National Rifle Association, has filed a series of court challenges against California’s new gun laws.

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jail_handcuffs_prison-300x199The Orange County District Attorney’s Office recently came under fire after it was discovered that prosecutors were using a secret program in which law enforcement would place informants in jail cells with defendants in order to convince them to unwittingly give up information that could be used against them in their cases. In some cases, the prosecution failed to turn over information to the defendants’ lawyers about the informants’ past work with police agencies, denying the defense a chance to call into question the credibility of the informants.

This unfair practice has drawn the attention of California lawmakers, who have proposed a new law that limits the incentives district attorneys can offer informants.

Paying for Information

Current law allows law enforcement or corrections officers to give informants $50 for their testimony, as well as incentives such as more lenient or reduced sentences, credit for good behavior, or a reduction of the charges against the informant.

However, the law placed no limit on the amount that could be paid to an informant for the information they provide toward the investigation of a suspected crime, which means that all the work prior to an informant’s actual court testimony can be compensated at an unlimited amount. For example, two members of the Mexican Mafia, Raymond “Puppet” Cuevas and Jose “Bouncer” Paredes, received a combined total of over $335,000 cash and other perks for providing information on dozens of cases over a span of four years.

A new law, Assembly Bill 359, is attempting to change that. While this bill would allow law enforcement to pay informants up to $100 per case, it would also apply to any information they provide during the investigation phase. The law would apply to members of any “prosecution entity,” which means the cap would no longer apply just to law enforcement or corrections officers. Prosecutors would still be able to offer incentives to informants, but the unlimited flow of cash would be cut off if this bill becomes law.

Currently, AB 359 has passed the Committee on Public Safety, which means the full assembly is set to take up the debate and vote on the bill in the next few months. Continue reading →

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social-media-300x225Visiting the doctor can be an intimidating experience, especially when your doctor is using complex medical terms that you don’t understand. So, when your doctor calls you to give you medical results or advice, you may feel compelled to record that conversation so you can be certain of what the doctor told you.

However, what you do not realize is that recording your doctor without his or her permission is a crime in California.

Confidential Recordings (PC 632.01)

Under California law, it is illegal for you to intentionally eavesdrop or record a confidential communication without the consent of all the parties involved in the communication. Previously, this law did not include conversations with doctors or medical professionals.doctor-300x200

However, Assembly Bill 1671 went into effect Jan. 1, 2017. This law defines communication with healthcare providers and state-licensed medical professionals as “confidential communications.” The law amends California Penal Code Section 632. Under this law, you could be convicted of a crime if you record a medical professional without his or her consent with the intent to disclose or distribute the communication.

If you are convicted of violating PC 632.01, you could face severe consequences. You could be sentenced to up to three years in state prison and fined up to $2,500.

The Purpose of AB 1671

You may be wondering why it is against the law to record your doctor without his or her consent. The bill stemmed from the publishing of confidential videos that were recorded during an investigation into Planned Parenthood’s reported involvement in selling fetal parts. Sensing that patients and clinical staff needed their confidential interactions to be protected, Los Angeles Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez introduced the bill. Continue reading →

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california_flag.jpgIn 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown signed nearly 1,000 pieces of legislation into law. Many of these new laws went into effect Jan. 1, 2017. Here are eight new California laws you need to know about.

  • No More Bullet Buttons (PC 30515, 30900, 30680)

Assault rifles, semi-automatic pistols and other guns that did not have fixed magazines and instead could be reloaded by using the tip of a bullet or other tool are banned in California. With the passing of Senate Bill 880 and Assembly Bill 1135 in 2016, owners of these guns will need to register the weapons with the Department of Justice. Failing to do so could result in a sentence of up to 364 days in county jail and a $500 fine.

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Mariza Ruelas only wanted a recipe for a cake. Now, the single mother of six faces a year in county jail.1frustrated-mom-on-computer-300x171.jpg

According to the San Joaquin District Attorney’s Office, Ruelas and several others belonging to a Facebook group frequently broke the law by selling homemade meals without a license. Could this really be a crime?

The California Homemade Food Act of 2013

California law allows people to sell certain foods made in their own kitchens. These operations are called “Cottage Food Operations” (CFO), and are strictly governed by the California Homemade Food Act of 2013 (AB 1616).

The group of laws that make up the act contain several regulations, including:

  • Restricting the kinds of foods that can be sold
  • Requiring operators of CFOs to complete a food processing course from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and
  • Approval from the local planning and zoning department in the city or county where you plan to offer food for sale.

Under the Act, the types of foods that can be sold are generally those that do not need refrigeration, and are not made of animal products, such as chicken, fish or beef. So, while you can sell baked goods like cookies or breads, you cannot sell chicken teriyaki or, as Ruelas is accused of selling, a dish like ceviche, which is made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices and spiced with chili peppers. Continue reading →

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California’s stance on gun control is changing drastically. Several new laws that were recently passed place more restrictions on how guns and firearms are handled. Governor Jerry Brown recently signed these six new stricter gun control bills into law. Brown sees the new laws as a way to improve public safety while also protecting the rights of current law-abiding gun owners.

Restrictions on Ammunition

Concealed Weapon AttorneyTwo of the new laws involve restrictions on owning and purchasing ammunition. Senate Bill (SB) 1235 requires those who purchase ammunition for guns to undergo a background and driver’s license check. Purchasing ammunition would enter the buyer into a database that is monitored by the Department of Justice.

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In August 2014, California passed a “kill switch” law requiring all smartphones sold in the state to include built-in remote locking technology. The “kill switch” law, which went into effect July, allows the owner of a smartphone to disable the device even when he or she does not have possession of the phone. The largest smartphone manufacturers, Apple and Google, are offering remote kill software, known as “Activation Lock” and “Device Protection,” respectively.

How does kill switch technology work?

kill switch law CaliforniaKill switch software protects a smartphone by allowing the owner to remotely render it inoperable. For instance, the owner of a smartphone can remotely apply a passcode before it can be unlocked or restored to factory settings. Aside from screen locking, other remote abilities include wiping data and preventing unauthorized resets. In addition, the user can reverse data wipes and restore phone operability. According to the bill, “the technological solution, when enabled, [is] able to withstand a hard reset…and prevent reactivation of the smartphone on a wireless network except by an authorized user.”1

Is kill switch technology effective?

Stealing smartphones, as a relatively quick and easy crime to commit, has become a widespread problem in the United States (accounting for 30-40% of all robberies in the nation in 2012). Reports say that one in ten people have had their smartphone stolen.2 In California, smartphone theft accounts for more than 50% of street robberies.3 By vastly reducing the resale value of smartphones, kills switch technology is expected to greatly curb theft. In 2013, 3.1 million smartphones were stolen in the United States. According to a study by Consumer Reports, the numbers have dropped to 2.1 million (or 32%) in 2014,4 largely as a result of kill switch technology.5

Continue reading →

About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.