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Articles Posted in Law & Information

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California will make sales of recreational marijuana legal on Jan. 1, 2018. So, when the law takes effect, what happens to people who have been convicted of marijuana-related crimes in the past? Thanks to a provision in California’s new marijuana laws, those convicted of nearly any marijuana offense may have the opportunity to get their conviction expunged.

New Marijuana Laws Allow Offenders to Expunge Criminal Record

According to the Drug Policy Alliance, nearly 500,000 people were arrested for marijuana crimes in California from 2006 to 2015. Those offenders now have the opportunity to clear their record or be released from custody under new California laws regarding marijuana.Possesion-of-MJ-300x200

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On Jan. 1, 2018, hundreds of new laws will go into effect in California, and they will impact every citizen in our state. Here’s a look at 10 important new California laws for 2018 that you need to know.

10. AB 1008: Ban-the-Box Criminal History on Applications

Companies with five or more employees are now prohibited from asking about a potential employee’s criminal history on job applications. Inquiring about or considering criminal history at any time DUI_Marijuana_Drugs-300x201before a conditional offer of employment has been made is now illegal under Government Code 12952.

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There’s an expression that “two wrongs don’t make a right.” However, U.S. lawmakers may not be following that old saying when it comes to “revenge hacking.”

Congressman Tom Graves (R-GA) and Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have co-sponsored the Active Cyber Defense Security Act (ACDC), which would essentially allow people or companies who have been hacked for data to “hack back” the hacker.

What are “Hack Back Laws?”

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In recent years, California has passed several laws that essentially give people who are convicted of low-level crimes a second chance.

It all started when California voters approved Prop. 47 in 2014, which reclassified several drug, theft, property and other non-violent crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. Other reforms soon followed, including changes to the Three Strikes law, realignment of the prison system, and expansion of parole opportunities under Prop. 57. Since these reforms took effect, California has reduced its prison population by nearly 20 percent.breaking_handcuffs_2-300x197

Recently, a group of lawmakers in Sacramento decided that California has reformed too many criminal justice laws. The result is the “Reducing Crime and Keeping California Safe Act,” a proposed ballot initiative that would undo many of the criminal justice reforms approved over the past few years.

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Innocent people are convicted of crimes far too often. Ed Easley is one of those people.

In 1993, Easley was convicted of molesting a 7-year-old girl. He served eight years in prison, five more on probation, and was required to register as a sex offender for life. Years after his conviction, the alleged victim came forward and confessed to lying about Easley’s actions to protect a family member who actually committed the crime. However, the courts would not allow Easley the opportunity to legally prove his innocence.breaking_handcuffs_2-300x197

The Writ of Habeas Corpus

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California has been dealing with the issue of prison overcrowding for the past several years. During that time, the state has passed various laws to help reduce the prison population. With prison overcrowding still an issue, California Governor Jerry Brown recently passed two new laws that affect some of the oldest prison inmates and those who committed crimes at a young age.Prison_Inmates-300x145

The Elderly Parole Program (AB 1448)

One of the new laws passed in California helps inmates 60 years old or older seek release from custody. Assembly Bill 1448, introduced by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, establishes the Elderly Parole Program, which aims to reduce the expensive costs of housing elderly inmates with health issues.

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Recently, we’ve seen that sports can spark controversy. gavel_4-300x199NFL players have taken knees and locked arms during the national anthem to protest inequality and injustice, but the NFL isn’t the only form of football causing controversy.

A high school football coach who prayed at the 50-yard line after a game has sparked a debate over the separation of church and state. Are coaches allowed to pray on the field?

High School Football Coach Fired for Praying on the Field

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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 →

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.