Landlords Use Sensitive Personal Information to Spy on Tenants

Due to the economic hardship resulting from the coronavirus crisis, rent payments in New York are under a moratorium until August, with many other states implementing similar measures. However, with stimulus payments on the way for many Americans, some landlords have been using tenants’ personal information to check on their payments and collect rent anyway. This practice, while seemingly uncommon, is illegal, and constitutes a serious breach of a landlord’s duty towards their tenants. Continue reading “Landlords Use Sensitive Personal Information to Spy on Tenants”

Suffolk Red Light Fee Increase Struck Down by Court

A New York State Supreme Court judge has struck down a $30 fee increase that Suffolk County attempted to impose on red light camera tickets. The fee increase was imposed to increase revenue to the county from red light camera tickets, as well as a way of deterring speeding through harsher penalties. However, the court determined that Suffolk County did not have the legal authority to increase the fee and ruled the increase unconstitutional as a matter of law. Continue reading “Suffolk Red Light Fee Increase Struck Down by Court”

Prevalence of Face Masks Confounds Facial Recognition Technology

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, wearing a face covering in public was limited to a handful of circumstances, such as protecting against cold weather or wearing a mask on Halloween. At most other times, wearing a face mask would raise suspicion, often associated with criminals attempting to conceal their identity from cameras. However, the coronavirus has made face masks a common sight, confounding facial recognition technology intended to catch criminals from camera footage. Continue reading “Prevalence of Face Masks Confounds Facial Recognition Technology”

How Criminal Rights Have Been Affected by the Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in most legal proceedings being suspended for its duration, and this is as true for the criminal courts as it is for everything else. Due to the coronavirus, most criminal court proceedings have been suspended, while others are now being conducted remotely through video conferencing and other telecommunications methods. This has had a dramatic impact on how criminal defendants can protect their rights during the pandemic. Continue reading “How Criminal Rights Have Been Affected by the Coronavirus”

Confusion Arises Over New York Eviction Moratorium

In late March, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a moratorium on evictions throughout New York State. While the move was welcomed by tenants who feared being evicted during the coronavirus pandemic, it didn’t stop cases for eviction from being filed in New York courts. This strange situation, where landlords can file to evict their tenants but can’t carry out the eviction, has caused confusion among landlords and tenants alike about what is permissible during the moratorium. Continue reading “Confusion Arises Over New York Eviction Moratorium”

NYC to Release 300 Nonviolent Offenders Due to Coronavirus Fears

Mayor Bill DeBlasio of New York City has said he will release approximately 300 inmates currently incarcerated at Rikers Island for nonviolent misdemeanor offenses, in response to the coronavirus. The coronavirus is at the forefront of everyone’s minds now, and this is particularly true of the prison system, where inmates and staff alike are at high risk of exposure to the contagion. However, it isn’t entirely clear how many of these inmates can legally be released, due to complications with state and federal law. Continue reading “NYC to Release 300 Nonviolent Offenders Due to Coronavirus Fears”

Criminal Penalties for Breaking Quarantine

In late March, President Trump publicly floated the idea of quarantining New York, as well as parts of New Jersey and Connecticut. While the quarantine was ultimately not implemented, with the White House instead issuing a travel advisory for those three states, it made some people fear what might happen if one or more states were, in fact, quarantined. For example, what happens to people who break an officially imposed quarantine? Continue reading “Criminal Penalties for Breaking Quarantine”

The Benefits and Drawbacks of a Jury Trial

Every American is guaranteed a right to a trial by a jury of their peers in a court of law, thanks to the Seventh Amendment of the United States Constitution. However, almost all criminal cases are settled out of court, and of the ones that go to trial, many choose to forego a jury trial in favor of a “bench trial” instead. Why is it that, despite having this right, so few criminal defendants choose to have a jury trial? Continue reading “The Benefits and Drawbacks of a Jury Trial”

What is Cruel and Unusual Punishment?

The Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States says, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” In theory, this means that the courts cannot assign any “cruel and unusual punishment” on any United States citizen. But what exactly makes a punishment cruel and unusual, and when does a court go too far in assigning a punishment for a crime? Continue reading “What is Cruel and Unusual Punishment?”

Reasons You Should (or Should Not) Take a Plea Deal

Getting arrested for a crime is one of the most stressful things that can happen to someone, and the possibility of going to prison is terrifying for most people. That’s why, when many people are offered a relatively lenient plea deal, especially one that promises to keep them out of prison, they’re eager to jump on it. However, there are several reasons why you should stop to consider your options before you plead to the charges against you. Continue reading “Reasons You Should (or Should Not) Take a Plea Deal”