Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 3/2/15: Citizen’s Arrest!

A citizen’s arrest — an arrest by a non-law enforcement officer — is statutorily provided for in 49 states (North Carolina is the exception) where a citizen observes a felony being committed, or when a citizen is asked by a … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 2/23/15: Alienation of Affection

One of the most common 19th century civil suits was for alienation of affection, awarding damages to litigants whose marriages disintegrated due to the actions of a third party. In order for a plaintiff to prevail, he or she had … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 2/16/15: The Alford Plea

The Alford plea is a form of “alternative plea”, meaning that it does not correspond to traditional pleas of either guilty or not guilty. It is premised on the defendant’s acceptance of a plea bargain agreement while continuing to assert innocence. Typically, this involves a defendant’s … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 2/09/15: Reporters’ Privilege

Reporter’s privilege (also known as journalist’s privilege), is a limited First Amendment right of journalists to shield their confidential sources from discovery. Forty states and D.C. have enacted press shield laws that protect reporter’s privilege. While there is no federal press shield … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 2/2/15: Flag Desecration Amendment

The Flag Desecration Amendment (aka “The Flag-burning Amendment”) was a proposed constitutional amendment stating “The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.” It was first introduced in the House of Representatives … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 1/26/14: Felony Murder

The common law felony murder rule holds that if a person kills another while committing or attempting to commit a felony, the killing is classified as murder. This can include unintended and accidental deaths caused during the felony, and also … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 1/19/15: Protective Orders, Restraining Orders, and Peace Bonds

There are three related, yet distinct, protectivetools available to applicants: a protective order compels the abuser to stay away from the applicant and her home, place of work or school. A temporary restraining order (TRO) orders another party not to harm … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 1/12/15: False Imprisonment v. Kidnapping

False imprisonment is the act of confining or detaining someone with no legal justification and against their will, and is treated as a felony in some (but not all) states In contrast, kidnapping involves moving a person against their will, through use … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 1/5/15: The Declaration of Independence

While some have argued that the Declaration of Independence is part of the “organic law” of the U.S., the prevalent view is that the Declaration is not a legal document. It did not create a new government or enact any laws, … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 11/17/14: Massachusetts and the Bill of Rights

The Massachusetts delegation was deeply divided over ratifying the Constitution and was dominated by anti-federalists. The “Massachusetts compromise” to introduce amendments, led by John Hanckock and Samual Adams, convinced states such as New York, New Hampshire and Virginia to vote to … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 11/10/14–Some Facts About the Massachusetts Constitution

The Massachusetts Constitution is the world’s oldest continuously-operative constitution, having been approved in 1780 (9 years before the U.S. Constitution). Its principal author was John Adams, who insisted the state be referred to as a ‘commonwealth’. It was also the … Continue reading

Ian’s Legal Fact of the Week 11/3/14: Grand Jury Testimony

Clients subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury–whether as witnesses or suspects–are not entitled to be represented by counsel as the Sixth Amendment is not applicable to grand jury proceedings. As these are “closed” sessions, a witness or suspect wishing to have … Continue reading