November 13, 2017By Brian Manchester
Recently there have been several different news articles dealing with rights and privileges across the US that can have an affect right here in Pennsylvania.
The American Bar Association is working with members of Congress on creating a bill to help people in Civil Asset Forfeiture cases. See my other blogs are these types of case where the Government is able to legally steal your cars, money, and even houses and businesses. This new legislation will make it harder for the government to take these items by requiring higher levels of proof from the preponderance of the evidence to clear and convincing evidence. In addition to making the government only take the property if they have probable cause, provide written notice to the property owner, and present clear evidence that the items seized were used for criminal activity. We will have to wait and see if Congress will act on these protections or continue with the status quo.
A case going in front of the US Supreme Court could have major ramifications not only here in the US but across the globe. Prosecutors are attempting to get a US based subpoena to use on servers that are located outside the US in another county. The Prosecutors claim that they should be allowed to get to these emails because they will be able to gather better evidence on a variety of crimes. Microsoft is fighting back claiming that should the US Supreme Court allow this to happen what would stop a foreign government from doing the same thing to gain access to our emails and other digitally stored data. Currently, the New York bases 2nd Circuit has ruled in favor of Microsoft. Again we will have to wait and see how the Court will rule in this matter.
First Amendment Protections were upheld in a recent case in the Georgia Supreme Court. A Defendant was convicted of disorderly conduct. The Defendant, in this case, was upset with his pastor and flipped him the bird and began yelling about sending the children to evil public schools where they would be raised by Satan, during a disagreement in with the Church’s school. Because these actions and words used were not considered fighting words or a true threat by the Georgia Supreme Court the charge of disorderly conduct was dismissed. The Court stated that Defendant’s raised middle finger was a constitutionally protected expression.
And finally Facial Recognition how safe is it, and where is this data being stored. A better question would be who exactly has access to this data. See my previous blog on securing your cell phone and what police have to do to gain access to your phone. Facial Recognition could change all of this as your face is out and open to the public. In addition, all of this data that is gathered is stored somewhere and someone has access to it; as Facial Recognition was used to identify an individual who was on the run for over forty years. A positive match was made from this data and this individual was arrested and returned to custody. What other data is being gathered and how is it being used. Could innocent people be swept up in being misidentified? We will have to wait and see how this new technology is used and as always we have to keep an eye on our right to privacy.
It is extremely important to contact an experienced law firm right away in you or someone you know is charged with a crime in Pennsylvania. If you, your son, daughter, or loved one in Pennsylvania has been arrested for a crime in state or federal court in Pennsylvania you need legal representation. Here at Manchester and Associates, we represent people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For a free consultation, we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.