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Slam the Gavel Blog

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Do You Really Have a Right to Remain Silent?

Posted by Matthew J. Hornsby on April 18, 2013 at 6:50 PM Comments comments ()

          Anyone who has watched an episode of Law & Order, NYPD Blue, or Miami Vice has heard those famous words: “You have the right to remain silent; anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law....” As you may know, it’s known as “Mirandizing” a suspect, a term coined from the Supreme Court case that ruled that police are required to make these and other disclosures prior to “custodial interrogation.&...

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Soft Drink Ban Tossed Out By New York Court

Posted by Matthew J. Hornsby on March 11, 2013 at 6:50 PM Comments comments ()

          If you have travel plans to New York City coming up, good news! It appears that you will still be able to buy a large soft drink while eating out. Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration had famously banned “sugary” drinks larger than 16 ounces from being served in restaurants, street vendors, and other venues within the city. With 20 oz or larger drinks being the norm for most restaurants, this was setting up to be a major problem for ...

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Drunk Driving in Sweden

Posted by Matthew J. Hornsby on February 7, 2013 at 5:50 PM Comments comments ()

          Is it possible to use a high tolerance for alcohol as a defense to a drunk driving charge? A defendant in a Swedish criminal court did just that. He apparently is in the habit of drinking "six small snapps" of beer and an additional amount of traditional mulled Swedish wine (called glogg) every day before ...

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Want My Blood? Come Back With a Warrant!

Posted by Matthew J. Hornsby on January 9, 2013 at 5:45 PM Comments comments ()

          Does the 4th Amendment protect citizens suspected of driving under the influence from having a blood sample taken without consent and without a warrant? In case you missed that day in your high school Civics course, the 4th Amendment generally protects citizens against unlawful searches and seizures. That means that in order for the police to conduct a search or seize property, the individual must either provide consent, or a judge must issue a warrant bas...

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Seeking a Solution to Violence

Posted by Matthew J. Hornsby on December 17, 2012 at 7:15 PM Comments comments ()

          What is the appropriate response to tragedies such as the one that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday? Certainly, the best immediate response is to pray for those whose loved ones were ripped away in a matter of minutes. And, of course, to be thankful that your family is safe. But what can we do as a society about these man-made tragedies, which seem to occur over and over again? One argument would be to strengthen gun control. To me, that sou...

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How Does Marijuana Legalization Affect Businesses and Universities?

Posted by Matthew J. Hornsby on December 11, 2012 at 6:55 PM Comments comments ()

          When a state passes a law making recreational use of marijuana legal, what does that mean for schools, businesses, and other entities located within that state? This very issue is being raised in several states, such as Colorado, that have recently legalized marijuana. To completely understand the issues at hand, it’s important to realize that marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Even if Colorado state law allows personal marijuana use, fede...

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Political Speech, the IRS, and Churches

Posted by Matthew J. Hornsby on November 5, 2012 at 3:20 PM Comments comments ()

          Most people are aware of the fact that churches (as not for profit entities) risk forfeiting their non-profit status if a pastor urges his congregation to vote in a particular way. It’s why your pastor may have urged you to vote, maybe even in a manner reflecting the specific scripture or tenants of your faith, but stopped short of naming the candidate you should vote for.

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Regulation Nation - Smoking Outlawed in Private Residences

Posted by Matthew J. Hornsby on October 17, 2012 at 4:25 PM Comments comments ()

          How far should government regulation go in our lives? Over the course of my lifetime, government regulations on the aspects of our everyday lives have gone from being more or less non-existent to being - arguably – overdone. Wearing seatbelts is mandatory. Nutritional data must be placed on all packaged foods. It seems like construction permits are required by municipalities for anything more complicated than Windexing a window. Of ...

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Supreme Court Decision May Force Us All Into The Black Market

Posted by Matthew J. Hornsby on October 10, 2012 at 4:25 PM Comments comments ()

          Hold your breath. After a flurry of landmark decisions in June of this year, the Supreme Court is back in session…and with plenty more landmark cases in store. By its very definition, the Supreme Court of the United States only hears “important” cases. It’s not likely that my dispute with my homeowners association over who should repair my mailbox light would ever be deemed worthy of the Supreme Court. However, man...

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Red-Light Cameras Turned Off In Center Point

Posted by Matthew J. Hornsby on October 4, 2012 at 4:30 PM Comments comments ()

          Not that you would ever do such a thing, but anybody driving through Center Point can run red lights without the fear of a discreet camera snapping your picture and sending you a ticket. For the last year or so, these cameras have given hundreds of tickets to drivers, who are not even aware that they have been caught until it arrives in the mail. Now, the city has “voluntarily” turned off the cameras while the courts are strai...

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