Tag: Criminal Law

Court Strikes Down Ban on Inadvertent Drug Possession. And Next?


Until last month, the state of Washington had the nation’s only law under which simple possession of illegal drugs could make you a felon regardless of whether you knew you had any such thing on your person or property. The result, as a Washington Supreme Court justice noted in a 2019 case, was to make potential felons of such hapless figures as:

a letter carrier who delivers a package containing unprescribed Adderall; a roommate who is unaware that the person who shares his apartment has hidden illegal drugs in the common areas of the home; a mother who carries a prescription pill bottle in her purse, unaware that the pills have been substituted for illegally obtained drugs by her teenage daughter, who placed them in the bottle to avoid detection.

Now that law is gone – struck down by the state’s high court as violating due process by “taking innocent and passive conduct with no criminal intent at all and punishing it as a serious crime.”

Richard Epstein examines Carpenter v. United States, a Supreme Court case testing the limits of the government’s ability to engage in digital surveillance, and explains the ideal balance between liberty and security.

Member Post


Perhaps I’ve just seen too many movies, but I thought American legal tradition held that a spouse cannot be compelled to testify. A federal judge has just ruled otherwise.  I presumed that this protection was an extension of the legal right against self-incriminating testimony. Western legal codes, probably based on the Christian tradition of considering […]

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The Libertarian Podcast: Baltimore, Law Enforcement, and Race


You won’t want to miss this installment of The Libertarian podcast. Professor Epstein is on his A-game as we review the recent riots in Baltimore, discuss whether criminal charges were brought too hastily against the police involved in Freddie Gray’s death, work through Hillary Clinton’s critique of “the age of mass incarceration,” and ponder what both law enforcement and African-American political leaders can do to ratchet down the tensions. Listen in below or subscribe to The Libertarian through iTunes or your favorite podcasting app.

Another Repressed Memory Case?


Despite what you may think of Hollywood’s casting couch, is dredging up repressed memories at the 11th hour —right before the statutes of limitation expire — any way to get justice?

The 31-year-old man suing “X-Men” director Bryan Singer for allegedly sexually molesting him at a party when he was a teen says he didn’t remember the incident until recently — but filed another suit over the same party in 2000, according to TMZ.

No Body to Kick, No Soul to Damn — Salvatore Padula


During the 2012 Democratic National Convention, a video was played that claimed that “government was the only thing we all belong to.” As objectionable as the sentiment behind that statement was, it does highlight the important fact that a government, at least ideally, is an association of its citizens. Recently, Mike H argued persuasively that government should be held to the same standards of accountability for its conduct as are other entities consisting of associations of individuals: corporations. While I wholeheartedly endorse Mike’s point about the relative accountability of corporations and government, one paragraph of his post caused me to pause.

When a corporation does something that would be morally or ethically wrong in the case of an individual, the people and the corporation involved are rightly punished. They may have broken a law, or they simply may lose business because of unsavory practices. Either way, we know when a corporation has done something wrong because it has violated a tenet to which we hold each individual. The rules for corporations don’t change simply because of the label “corporation,” because it is still a “person.”