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Archive for October, 2018

Canada’s Legalization Of Marijuana Will Have Implications Across The Border

Posted on: October 29th, 2018 by Sfl Media No Comments

On Oct.17, Canada became the second country in the world to legalize marijuana. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any rules or laws that apply to marijuana smokers, The Washington Post reported.

Canadian law allows people 18 and older to buy marijuana, but some provinces have set a minimum age of 19 to match the drinking age, and Quebec has announced its intentions to raise it to 21.

The new federal law sets a 30-gram limit on how much marijuana people can buy or possess in public. That’s equivalent to about one ounce. In addition, some cities have specific rules that apply to where you can consume your legal lmarijuana.

The legal sale of pot is limited to fresh buds, oil, plants and seeds. Edibles are not available for legal purchase although you can cook and consume them in someone’s home.

Driving under the influence of drugs is illegal, with different penalties in different provinces.

You cannot bring marijuana legally purchased in Canada back into the United States, even if you are bringing it into a U.S. state where marijuana has been legalized. It will be considered both possession and drug smuggling.

Although medical cannabis is legal in 46 states, marijuana is still an illegal substance under federal law. The federal government regulates drugs through the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This act does distinguish between medical and recreational use of cannabis. Marijuana laws are used to prosecute people who possess, cultivate, or distribute large quantities of cannabis, according to Americans for Safe Access.

Under federal law, cannabis is treated like every other controlled substance, such as cocaine and heroin.. Under the CSA, cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, which means the federal government considers it to be highly addictive and that it has no medical value.

Although doctors can’t “prescribe” cannabis for medical use under federal law, they can “recommend” its use under the First Amendment, ASA said.

Court Workers In Fresno County Set To Strike

Posted on: October 22nd, 2018 by Sfl Media No Comments

Court workers are important to the smooth operation of the American court system, but when workers find it’s necessary to strike to protest work conditions, the system can grind to a halt.   

CourtScribes court reporting agency is working to change the industry by having fewer workers in the courtroom, using internet-age technology to create the official record of court proceedings, using remote transcriptionists and charging attorneys up to 50 percent less. The attorneys not only benefit from a less-expensive transcript, but video and/or audio recording also provides them with a more accurate and verifiable record.

Fresno County, California is one place that could be facing court proceeding disruptions because nearly 300 courtroom workers could walk off the job if they don’t reach an agreement with court administrators on increased pay, hours and benefits.

Clerks, assistants, and court reporters have been working without a contract since September 30th, looking for a raise and protesting steep increases in health care costs as well as seeking better benefits.

Six years ago during the economic crisis, court reporters had their 40 hour week reduced to 35 hour week, according to ABC 30 Action News. The latest proposal would increase the work week to 37.5 hours, but court reporters would not get a pay raise, although clerks, judicial assistants and office assistants would get a 3 percent raise.

Workers protested that the eight to nine percent increase in the cost of health benefits would mean workers would still have to pay more out of pocket, even with the increase in hours. They rejected the proposal and are heading back to the negotiation table but are still considering a strike.

Court administrators issued a statement saying, “We are very disappointed to hear rumors about the employees’ vote to not accept the Court’s offer. The Court has no more money to offer.”

National Law Enforcement Museum Opens In D.C.

Posted on: October 15th, 2018 by Sfl Media No Comments

Law enforcement is any important part of the legal process, just as court reporting plays a crucial role.

A new National Law Enforcement Museum has opened in Washington, D.C. offering interactive exhibits the founders hope will help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community.

Among the more than 21,000 artifacts housed at the new museum are the phone that received the first 911 emergency call, the desk J. Edgar Hoover used as FBI director, and the handcuffs used by a police officer to arrest Sirhan Sirhan, the man who assassinated Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

The purpose of the museum is to honor law enforcement professionals and to give people a greater appreciation for what officers do, CEO Craig Floyd told Fox News.

“People are, hopefully, going to come away with a better understanding and appreciation of the value and the vital role that law enforcement plays in our society,” Floyd said.

The Day in the Life exhibit allows visitors to see what a typical day is like for a patrol officer in various cities. Visitors can also go inside a real prison cell.

Visitors can learn what it’s like to be a 911 emergency by visiting the 911 dispatch center and going through a simulation, taking mock calls and deciding how to proceed and get help to “victims.”

A key feature of the museum is the Hall of Remembrance, which honors fallen law enforcement professionals by displaying photos of officers killed in the line of duty.

Congress approved the use of federal land for the museum, but developers were required to build most of the museum underground. Two of the floors of the 58,000-square-foot building are underground.

Tickets for the museum, located at 444 E Street N.W., are $21.95 for adults, $16 for seniors ($14.50 for military, veterans, law enforcement and students with valid ID) and $12 for children under the age of 12.

Beijing Introduces Internet Court To Improve Efficiency

Posted on: October 8th, 2018 by Sfl Media No Comments

Technology is advancing the way that court reporting is handled in United States Courts, and technology is being instituted in courts around the world.

China is so invested in the legal aspects of future technological developments that it has set up an entire court system not only set up to deal with technology-related cases but also run by technology.

The Chinese government in Beijing has put into place an internet court powered by facial and speech recognition technology, the China Money Network reported. The goal of the new system is to provide more efficient legal services for the city’s fast-developing technology companies.

The Beijing Internet Court, which is located in Fengtai district, is primarily focused on hearing cases regarding the internet and intellectual property rights, including disputes caused by online loans, online shopping contracts and online copyright cases.

The average duration of an internet  trial is 41 days, about half that of a conventional court trial in China, and a hearing lasts 28 minutes, whichis 60 percent.

Beijing’s internet court is the second in the country. An internet court was opened in 2017 in Hangzhou, and China plans to set up a third internet court in Guangzhou.

“The judges and all the parties are connected via a screen, where the plaintiffs and the defendants can participate in court hearings via their computers or mobile-phones,” Zhu Ting, a judge at the Beijing Internet Court, told state-owned Chinese media outlet Xinhua News Agency.

The court uses facial recognition and speech recognition technology during the online proceedings that draws on a national ID system curated by the country’s public security bureaus to verify participants’ identities. Electronic signatures are used to sign any documents.

The Beijing internet court also can automatically generate legal documents, use machine translation and allow voice interactions with its knowledge system.

According to Xinhaua, Beijing handled 45,382 internet-related cases including online shopping and online service contracts in 2017. In the eight months from January to August 2018, cases increased to 37,631, with a growth rate of nearly 25 percent.

Indiana Supreme Court shifts in big way to electronic filing

Posted on: October 1st, 2018 by Sfl Media No Comments

High-tech solutions like the court reporting technology CourtScribes provides make the courtroom run more smoothly. And there are other important technological advances coming to courtrooms as well. One of them that increases efficiency and saves time and money is electronic filing.

For example, the Indiana Supreme Court is turning to electronic filing to reduce the paperwork that was created by the 1.3 million cases filed in Indiana’s state courts in the past year, The Statehouse File of Franklin College reported.

Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush said in the court’s 2017-2018 annual report that the goal is to switch almost every county court system to electronic filing over the next year.

Part of the problem is that more than a million cases being filed each year, courts are running out of room to file and store the paperwork, and electronic filing will create a more efficient, more accessible system while saving the court system money.

The electronic document filing system, along with new notification systems, will also help create more transparency among the courts and the public, Rush said. The court system also recently started sending reminder messages to defendants via text reminding them of important appointments like court dates.

Counties in the system have sent more than 160,000 text reminders in the past month alone.

“There was a real push with the courts with regards to advancing technology. We had about 90 percent of our counties involved in electronic filing in some form and we had 80 percent of our counties in a unified case management system,” Rush told The Statehouse File.

The court system has also increased security measures to make sure that the electronic records are fully protected, including putting the  entire system is behind the state’s technology firewall,

“We have a team in court administration for technology working on cyber security,” Rush said.