Month: October 2018

US Law

The 13th Amendment Exclusion Leads To Modern Day Slavery

October 30, 2018 Ellen Wang 0

Summary: U.S. inmates stage nationwide prison strikes over the 13th Amendment loophole that allows for the exploitation of coerced prison labor. A hundred and fifty years after the end of the Civil War, the legality of slavery is still up for debate. Though the U.S. Constitution was amended to prohibit the existence of both slavery and involuntary servitude in the U.S., it left a very large loophole for people who are convicted of crimes – a loophole that affects 2.3 million Americans today. The 13th Amendment, ratified in 1865, states “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” This sharp exception makes it clear that incarcerated persons don’t have constitutional rights under the 13th Amendment – they can be compelled to work for as little as […]

Noose
International Law

Malaysia to Abolish Death Penalty

October 30, 2018 Eliza Farley 0

Malaysia’s Chief Minister announced on October 3rd, that the nation will abolish the death penalty for all crimes, and will nullify all pending executions. This comes after a push from human rights activists and organizations, including but not limited to Amnesty International. Malaysia has been known for keeping their death row prisoners in the dark about their execution dates as well as the results of their appeals. The country is also notoriously strict about enforcing the death penalty, as it is a mandatory punishment for a wide range of crimes, including charges such as drug possession. In fact, there have been tourists in the country executed for such crimes, despite backlash from western nations. Such an instance occurred in 1986 when two Australian citizens, Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers, were found with heroin on their person. The harsh Malaysian government had just newly prescribed death for anyone possessing over 15 grams, […]

Case Reviews

State v. Downey: Reflective Of Lingering Price Gouging Dissatisfaction After Florence And Michael Subside

October 26, 2018 Dominique Karesh 0

Summary: In the wake of hurricanes Florence and Michael, hundreds of price gouging complaints have been filed in the state of North Carolina, drawing attention to North Carolina’s price gouging laws in a state of emergency. In the threat of Hurricane Florence, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency. The state’s price gouging law immediately went into effect, which defines gouging as charging “unreasonably excessive” prices for goods needed in an emergency. Even with this law banning the practice, the wake of Florence has left the North Carolina Attorney General’s office with over 800 price gouging complaints. Several lawsuits have been filed against various companies for exploiting such a state of emergency. One particular case, State v. Downey, leaves a question for those that oppose gouging laws: is having an exorbitantly expensive option really better than having none? State v. Downey Summary On October 17th, State Attorney […]

The Aquarius in 2017
International Law

The African Refugee Crisis: Claiming Asylum in the European Union

October 26, 2018 Nora Benmamoun 0

This past summer, the Aquarius Migrant search and rescue ship run by Doctors Without Borders landed on Italy’s coast carrying 629 migrants. The migrants came from 26 countries in Africa, and includes 123 minors, 11 small children, and seven pregnant women. All of the migrants were rescued by the Aquarius from six boats that were overcrowded in the Mediterranean. Aquarius currently monitors the area between the coast of Libya and Italy, as many refugees coming from sub-Saharan Africa pass through Libya on their way to Italy. Italy’s far-right Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, refused the ship, saying “Rescuing lives is a duty, transforming Italy into an enormous refugee camp is not. Italy has stopped bowing its head and obeying.” Italy directed Aquarius towards Malta, claiming that the ship was closer to their coast. Malta also refused the ship, deferring responsibility back to Italy. After being stranded at sea for a week, […]

International Law

Repercussions for Destruction of Cultural Property: Intensified for the Individual or the Aggregate?

October 25, 2018 Rachel Sereix 0

     Nearly twenty-five years after the founding of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, there remains a lack of analysis regarding the impact of severe war crimes on cultural property. The Yugoslav Wars precipitated the growth of numerous paramilitary groups that sought havoc and unrest amongst villages and towns that did not share their ethnic makeup or cultural affiliation. Do International Criminal Tribunal cases in which cultural property was destroyed result in relatively consistent outcomes; if not, is there greater penalization for individual violators or coalition violators in the former Yugoslavia? If an explanation can be provided for possible inconsistencies amongst sentence length between coalition and individual violators, the results can be applied to the United Nations enforcement of Article III of The Hague Convention deter future violators from committing crimes directed at cultural property, and provide insight as to whether inconsistencies in sentence length exist beyond the […]

US Law

Internal Revenue Service or International Revenue Service?

October 25, 2018 William Tong 0

What does the eastern African nation of Eritrea have in common with the United States? Not much, aside from a shared practice that makes the two countries absolutely unique in the entire world: the practice of collecting income taxes based on citizenship as opposed to residency. The overwhelming majority of tax-collecting jurisdictions on Earth are based on the concept of residency, whereby the tax laws of a jurisdiction define a set of criteria to determine whether a person is considered a resident in said jurisdiction. For instance, two common components of residency tests include, first, the circumstances in which a particular length of physical presence within a jurisdiction would count toward residency, and second, a threshold of length of physical presence above which residency is ascertained. Most jurisdictions also have a clause that allows for stays or visits that do not contribute to residency, such as transitional presence and various […]

International Law

The Khashoggi Case and Diplomatic Immunity

October 23, 2018 Jessica Edelson 0

Khashoggi Disappearance On October 2, Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and United States resident, arrived to the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. With his fiancé Hatice Cengiz waiting outside, Khashoggi entered the consulate in order to obtain legal documentation authenticating his previous divorce, a requirement mandated by Turkish law in order to marry Cengiz. Three hours later, Cengiz asked consulate staff about the whereabouts of her fiancé, at which point she was told that he already departed through the back door. Khashoggi, an outspoken critic of de facto Saudi ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), has not been seen since. The mystery of what exactly happened in the Saudi consulate soon thereafter sparked international interest and outrage. General speculation was that Khashoggi had been murdered by the Saudis, likely from direct orders of MBS, in order to silence his criticism. Given that Khashoggi’s disappearance occurred within Turkish jurisdiction, […]

US Law

The Right to Refuse Service and Its Implications on Society

October 22, 2018 Jacob Turobiner 0

Summary: A business owner has the right to refuse service as long as he or she does not infringe upon federal or state discrimination laws. Background Across the nation, businesses display and enforce their right to refuse service. Whether a customer is causing a nuisance or is dressed inappropriately, the business could withhold its services without legal repercussions. Many businesses make their right clear by posting signs with phrases like “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone.” While this statement does hold true in many cases, it depends on the reasoning behind refusing service. The Constitution, federal laws, and state laws protect certain groups of people from discrimination on the basis of being a member of that group in public accommodations, but not all groups are protected. What Constitutes Illegal Discrimination Since the Civil Rights Act of 1964, businesses cannot discriminate against any person on the basis of […]

US Law

California Bail Reform Leaves Both Sides Unhappy

October 21, 2018 Isabella Caracta 0

Summary: California’s new bail reform bill, Senate Bill 10, goes into effect October 2019, but activist groups pull support for SB10. It is a little-known fact that the American constitution fails to guarantee its citizens the right to bail; however, the Eighth Amendment prohibits excessive bail charges. The Bail Reform Act of 1966 affords people charged with non-capital offenses a statutory right to be released, pending trial, based on personal recognizance or personal bond. This act provided people with a statutory right where a constitutional right is lacking. Contrarily, bail systems vary from state to state and can be highly discriminatory against certain racial and socioeconomic groups (particularly African American and Latino minorities). Judges are afforded great discretion as to when a defendant is detained, whether or not bail will be set, and the price of bail. Because inherent prejudices can arise from the current bail systems, there has been […]

International Law

Puerto Rico’s Debt: The Crisis of a Modern Colony

October 21, 2018 Juan Jimenez 0

Summary: Puerto Rico currently faces the most alarming financial crisis in its modern history: a bankrupt state unable to pay the more than $75 billion it owes as national debt, accompanied by a downward economic spiral of migration, high unemployment, and a shrinking labor market. Puerto Rico’s unique relationship to the United States, its status as an ‘unincorporated territory’, has undermined the island’s sovereignty, especially in relation to its plans for economic restructuring. Under the tight control of US Congress, and particularly after the devastation caused by Hurricane María’s passing on Sept. 20, 2017, Puerto Rico’s chances of a quick and stable recovery certainly seem bleak.   Background On Sept. 20, 2017, media sources all around the world presented images and videos of Puerto Rico after Hurricane María, a category 5 storm which killed over 4,600 people, plowed through the island, and caused insurmountable devastation. As disastrous as it was, […]