BART and the First Amendment

Posted on August 28th, 2011 by admin

The police for San Francisco’s subway system, the Bay Area Rapid Transit System, received information alleging that patrons were planning to use mobile devices and cell phones to organize a protest on August 11. The BART police acted on this information by blocking cell phone service in certain subway stations for three hours to quell [...]

The ADA at the Movies

Posted on January 6th, 2011 by admin

Not surprisingly, it is often difficult for people with hearing or vision loss to enjoy the movies.  One popular method of making movies accessible to hearing impaired people is rear window captioning.  With RWC, the movie theater receives a CD of the movie’s dialog along with the movie.  The CD is then broadcast from an [...]

The Disabled as Witnesses

Posted on October 28th, 2010 by admin

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently decided a case in which a disabled crime victim was not allowed to testify. Ruby McDonough has extreme difficulty with oral communication as the result of a stroke.  Citing this difficulty, the defendant filed a pretrial objection to preclude Ruby from testifying. The judge ordered a hearing and appointed [...]

Speak up if you want to remain silent

Posted on June 2nd, 2010 by admin

In its famous Miranda v. Arizona decision, the Supreme Court made it very easy to invoke the Fifth Amendment right to remain silent: “If the individual indicates in any manner, at any time prior to or during questioning, that he wishes to remain silent, the interrogation must cease”.  The current Supreme Court completely reversed this [...]

And when the last law was down. . . .

Posted on May 29th, 2010 by admin

Many people don’t care about providing attorneys to indigent defendants until they need one themselves.  Then their tune changes quite dramatically. Recently an attorney on a listserv pointed out a story on the Channel 22 / WWLP website regarding bar advocate attorneys who provide criminal defense for indigent defendants.   The story is at   http://www.wwlp.com/dpp/money/your_money/defenders-draining-public-funds.  [...]

Perception of Disability

Posted on May 1st, 2010 by admin

I came across a case in which a prosecutor attempted to use a peremptory challenge against a juror who he perceived as  disabled due to “halting speech” and the prosecutor’s “discomfort” with the way the juror “stared” at him.  According to him, this indicated a lack of “mental acuity” sufficient to deliberate upon evidence received [...]