Author: University of Baltimore Law Review Staff

Issues to Watch

But First, Let Me Take a Selfie…


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But First, Let Me Take a Selfie: Milwaukee Attorney Snaps Selfie with Client After Jury Verdict Comes Back Not Guilty, Raising Concerns about Professionalism within this Generation and Whether the Government Can Regulate When One Can Take a Selfie

Shannon Clancy*

On September 18, 2015, Brandon Burnside, a Milwaukee citizen convicted of first-degree intentional homicide, was acquitted. Bruce Vielmetti, Attorney Flagged for Facebook Selfie with Client After Winning Murder Acquittal, J. Sentinel (Sept. 28, 2015), http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/news/329539971.html.  Burnside was originally serving a life sentence, but was granted a new trial after winning his appeal last year. Id. When the decision came out, Burnside and his attorney rejoiced—and what better way to celebrate in our media-obsessed society than with a selfie.[1] Id. Cotton snapped a photo of himself with his client to post on his Facebook page, including the caption: “Not guilty.  First-degree intentional homicide.” Id. (more…)

Issues to Watch

The U.S. Court of Appeals Upholds Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections for Home Care Workers


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The U.S. Court of Appeals Upholds Minimum Wage and Overtime Protections for Home Care Workers

Aiste Palskyte*

On August 21, 2015, in Home Care Ass’n of America v. Weil, 799 F.3d 1084 (D.C. Cir. 2015), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the Department of Labor (DOL) rule extending the Fair Labor Standard Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime provisions to third-party-agency home care employees.  With the rule expected to come into effect in January 2016, approximately two million home care workers will qualify for FLSA minimum wage and overtime protections.  Charlie Sabatino & Caroleigh A. Newman, The New Status of Home Care Workers Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 36 Bifocal 130, 130 (2015).  The rule, promulgated by the DOL in 2013, made a few important changes: it revised and narrowed the definition of “companionship services,” and limited the parties who could claim the “companionship services” and “live-in domestic services” exemptions.  Sabatino & Newman, supra, at 131–32. (more…)

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Understanding and Solving the Puerto Rican Municipal Bond Crisis


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Where Less Light is Shed Than a Piece of Coal on a Moonless Night: Understanding and Solving the Puerto Rican Municipal Bond Crisis

Stanley Carignan*

Introduction

In the final week of June 2015, the financial world’s attention focused on whether Greece would default on its loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Anna Yukhananov, The International Monetary Fund is on the Hook if Greece Defaults, Bus. Insider (June 29, 2015, 6:37 PM), http://www.businessinsider.com/the-international-monetary-fund-is-on-the-hook-if-greece-defaults-2015-6.  As the tension between Greece and the IMF came to a head, Puerto Rican Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla quietly announced that the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico would no longer be able to pay the $72 billion in debt it owes to its creditors.  Michael Corkery & Mary Williams Walsh, Puerto Rico’s Governor Says Island’s Debts Are ‘Not Payable, N.Y. Times: Dealbook (June 28, 2015), http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/29/business/dealbook/puerto-ricos-governor-says-islands-debts-are-not-payable.html.  Taken on its face, Puerto Rico and Greece’s debt crises may seem very similar, but in fact, each crisis involves a different set of legal issues and solutions.  John Cochrane, Greece vs Puerto Rico and What’s “Systemic”, Grumpy Economist (July 4, 2015, 10:28 AM), http://johnhcochrane.blogspot.com/2015/07/greece-vs-puerto-rico-and-whats-systemic.html.  To start, Puerto Rico owes significantly less debt than the country of Greece.  Desmond Lachman, Is Puerto Rico America’s Greece?, The Hill (May 29, 2015, 7:00 AM), http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/economy-budget/243406-is-puerto-rico-americas-greece.  Moreover, Puerto Rico cannot declare bankruptcy to renegotiate its debt with its creditors, increasing the possibility the island will default.  AJ Vicens, Puerto Rico Crisis Goes From Bad to Worse, Mother Jones (Aug. 5, 2015, 6:05 AM), http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/08/things-keep-getting-worse-puerto-rico. (more…)

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Rethinking Solitary Confinement in American Prisons


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Behind Bars: Rethinking Solitary Confinement in American Prisons

Emily Steiner*

Solitary confinement is a widely used and highly controversial practice in American prisons that has been the go-to method for handling discipline and security since the mid-1980s. Inmates held in solitary confinement spend approximately twenty-three hours a day in tiny, windowless cells, receiving their food on trays passed through a slot in the cell door. According to an estimate by the Vera Institute of Justice, as many as 80,000 people are currently held in isolation cells across the United States. See Natasha Haverty, Amid Backlash Against Isolating Inmates, New Mexico Moves Toward Change, Nat’l Pub. Radio (Aug. 24, 2015, 4:47 AM), http://www.npr.org/2015/08/24/432622666/amid-backlash-against-isolating-inmates-new-mexico-moves-toward-change.  Solitary confinement is so commonly widespread that many states do not even track how many people are held in isolation. Id.  A growing number of activists, however, are convinced that the policy is a violation of basic human rights.  These activists, largely comprised of lawmakers and former prison inmates, are speaking out about the damaging effects of solitary confinement and demanding prison reform. (more…)

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Macaque takes a selfie: PETA publicity stunt or genuine animal rights issue?


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Macaque takes a selfie: PETA publicity stunt or genuine animal rights issue?

Jay Patel*

Copyright protections can be sought for “original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression,” which includes any “pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works.”  17 U.S.C. § 102 (2012).  Over 100 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that an original photograph that represented the “intellectual conception of its author” could be afforded copyright protection.  Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co., v. Sarony, 111 U.S. 53, 59 (1884).  Our Nation’s copyright protections have evolved to include any original arrangement and selection that exhibits creativity.  Feist Publ’ns, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., 499 U.S. 340, 358 (1991).  This is particularly relevant today when many authors compile facts and ideas in their own creative ways to sell things such as textbooks and phonebooks.  Id.  (more…)