A Week in Review - March 25th, 2016

The Mississippi House of Representatives has passed Representative Chris Brown's HB 1410, the “Asset Forfeiture Transparency Act” by a vote of 112-5.  If passed into law, police agencies would be required "to list all property seized under state or federal forfeiture laws and include a description of the seized property and its estimated value..... [and] would oblige agencies to list whether or not property owners were even charged with a crime as well as how the case was resolved."  If there's nothing shameful about the practice, there should be no problem divulging such information... should there?


Federal prosecutors appear to be abandoning their coercion of Apple to provide a "backdoor" to their operating system, claiming that 'an outside party' has demonstrated a possible method for unlocking the phone in question.


NJ state Senator Gerry Cardinale (R-Cresskill) is sponsoring a bill that would allow state legislators, and municipal and Superior Court judges to obtain concealed carry permits all but impossible for "common" citizens to obtain.  If passed, "[a] public official wouldn’t have to satisfy the state’s difficult-to-meet 'justifiable need' requirement — that is, he or she wouldn’t have to prove to a local police department and then a Superior Court judge the firearm is needed for personal protection."


The U.S. Supreme Court vacated a Massachusetts court ruling, stating the court "improperly found that Second Amendment protection applies only to weapons that were in common use at the time of the nation's founding."  Referring to its landmark 2008 ruling on handguns in the home, the justices said the Second Amendment applies "to all instruments that constitute bearable arms," even those not in existence at the time of the founding.  The ruling cast doubt over a handful of state bans on possessing Tasers and other kinds of stun guns.


The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown out a 2014 federal court ruling upholding gun laws forced on Colorado in 2013, and resulting in the state's first recalls.  Sheriffs opposing the laws will be returning to court to press their case that the laws are unenforceable and an unnecessary infringement of Coloradan's Second Amendment rights.


Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe has vetoed a bill to override his executive order banning state workers "from possessing a weapon... when they are on state premises or conducting state business."  The bill did not pass the Assembly with sufficient numbers to indicate that a veto override was a possibility, unlike recent actions in neighboring West Virginia.


The three-judge panel of a federal appeals court unanimously rebuked IRS and DoJ attorneys for selective enforcement of law, and "accused [them] of acting in bad faith."  Judge Raymond Kethledge wrote in a unanimous opinion, "The lawyers in the Department of Justice have a long and storied tradition of defending the nation’s interests and enforcing its laws - all of them, not just selective ones - in a manner worthy of the Department’s name. The conduct of the IRS’s attorneys in the district court falls outside that tradition.  We expect that the IRS will do better going forward."


The Mississippi Supreme Court determined that employees cannot be fired for having a firearm in their vehicle, even if company policy prohibits it.  The Court stated that "that the Legislature has declared it 'legally impermissible' for an employer to terminate an employee for having a firearm inside his locked vehicle on company property."


An otherwise completely law-abiding North Carolina man stopped for a broken brake light was arrested for not returning a rented VHS video cassette fourteen years ago. A warrant had apparently been issued in 2002 by the store, which has since gone out of business.  James Meyers, 37, was allowed to turn himself in after arranging child care for his young daughter.  He was handcuffed before being taken to the magistrate's office.  Think about that the next time you say, "There should be a law...."