Rutgers Journal of Law & Public Policy

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Gay Bashing, Trans Slayings, and the Reasons Why LGBTQ Philadelphians Remain Woefully Unsafe in 2014

By: Alexi Velez

December 2, 2014

The “gay bashing” of a Philadelphia couple in September 2014 was widely covered by national news outlets. In the wake of the attack, it became apparent that LGBTQ Philadelphians find limited benefit, if any, in current state and federal hate crime statutes. Additionally, there was a striking disparity between reactions to the September attack and past attacks suffered by transgender Philadelphians. Why are hate crime laws unavailing? Why have hate-driven crimes against transgender individuals been treated so differently?

State v. Terry and Savoy: An Affirmation of the Continued Importance of the Marital Communications Privilege in New Jersey

By: Kathryn Somerset

November 3, 2014

The marital communications privilege has historically protected spousal communications from compelled disclosure in criminal courts via New Jersey Evidence Rule 509. However, in a recent New Jersey Supreme Court case, State v. Terry and Savoy, the privilege’s limitations became a topic of contention. Notably, due to public policy considerations, the N.J. high court proposed an amendment to Evidence Rule 509 for a crime-fraud exception. 

Philadelphia Faces Class-Action Lawsuit Over Property Seizures

By: Andrew Schwerin

October 15, 2014

The city of Philadelphia has been earning millions of dollars under a process known as civil asset forfeiture. In August, the Sourovelises' filed a class-action lawsuit against Philadelphia for violation of their due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.  In doing so, the Institute for Justice is seeking for the civil forfeiture practices to be deemed unconstitutional.  The significant inquiry arising from this case is whether the court will step in to curtail states' rights? If so, what steps will the court take to reform seizure practices?

A Fluid Interpretation: Pennsylvania Courts’ Conflicting Interpretations of the Legislature's Intent for the Guaranty Minimum Royalty Act

By: Mark T. Wilhelm

October 1, 2014

Pennsylvania landowners have been leasing their mineral rights for decades. Pennsylvania's Legislature adopted the Guaranty Minimum Royalty Act in 1979, to protect mineral right owners' right to royalties from those leases. Pennsylvania courts have recently interpreted that law with mixed results for landowners.

A Tour of the Second Amendment in the Third Circuit and Beyond

By: Aimee Blenner

September 23, 2014

The right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Second Amendment, but there are a plethora of differing opinions regarding how that right can be regulated. Various circuit courts have interpreted the scope of the Second Amendment very differently. Notably, the Third Circuit has evaluated and clarified the specific rights that the Second Amendment protects.

Setting the Bar in Cyberspace: How the FTC is Enforcing Standards That Protect Individuals Online

By: Sam Pellegrino

September 8, 2014

Cyber attacks are becoming more common and companies have lost substantial amounts of their consumers' finances as a result of poor security online. Without any congressional guidance there have been few successes in establishing a baseline standard of online security. The FTC has sought to fix this problem before, but can it be successful within the constraints of its own legislative intent? This past summer, a federal district court has answered in the affirmative. Although such a decision allows for consumers to have greater protection, it may also be the start of government intrusion into private businesses online.

Dealership or No Deal: New Jersey’s Ban on Direct Automobile Sales Prohibits Tesla from Selling Without Use of Dealerships

By: Carla Zappi

September 1, 2014

Earlier this year, the New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles adopted a rule that prohibits Tesla Motor Company from legally selling cars in New Jersey. What are the overall implications to ending Tesla's ability to sell vehicles in N.J.? Specifically, are the continued protections of the law necessary when weighed against the plethora of benefits an exception for Tesla would allow? Notably, in June, the state assembly passed a bill that carves out an exception to the rule, but the bill must also be passed by the Senate and signed into law by the governor.

Does McNeely Provide Steely Protection Against Warrantless BAC Testing?

By: Bill Jeffers

August 18, 2014

Drunk driving is a serious offense and carries heavy penalties for those found guilty. Blood alcohol content (BAC) tests are an important piece of evidence in obtaining those convictions. What happens when motorists refuse to consent to testing and the test is administered anyway? How does this form of testing fit in with the protections provided by the Fourth Amendment and how is New Jersey dealing with it?

Legalize it? The Problems Marijuana Legislation Faces in New Jersey

By: Michael Mellon

July 25, 2014

Legalize marijuana? Some say it is a sin and others say it is saintly. This question is one of many polarizing political pop-culture discussions of the day. The debate has transformed into action in some states and New Jersey may follow suit. But is the State of New Jersey ready?