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Top 10 Blog Articles of 2013
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Top 10 Blog Articles of 2013

Despite its mark of the unlucky number 13, the year 2013 flew by without an apocalypse. However, the year did include a shutdown of the US government, more than 6,000 died in Typhoon Haiyan, the Boston Marathon was bombed, and world leader Nelson Mandela passed away. On a positive note, there was plenty of excitement for the royal birth of Prince George, the election of Pope Francis, and the Supreme Court’s gay marriage rulings.

Here is a selection of the top blog articles of 2013 from LegalMatch.

1. Public Nudity in San Francisco

San Francisco was one of the last bastions of urban public nudity until a ban went into effect in 2013. Ride along with one LegalMatch writer as he discusses his view on San Francisco’s public nudity while driving his grandmother through the San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood.

2. When Is Recording a Music Video Child Abuse?

Nine-year-old Luis Rivera Jr. also goes under the nickname “Lil Poopy,” and is featured rapping in a number of Internet videos. However, it wasn’t all child’s play when the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families began investigating to determine if the boy’s father may be guilty of child abuse or neglect.

3. Juror Disregards Judge’s Instructions, Sentenced to More Jury Duty

If you’ve ever had jury duty, you know jury selection often takes a long time. One reason is that courts take extreme precautions to make sure that jurors are not influenced by outside sources. One juror in Florida did not heed the judge’s instructions and looked up information about the case on his laptop in the courtroom. For his misbehavior, he ultimately was sentenced to go through the jury selection process every week for the next three months.

4. Employer Discrimination with Social Media

All states have laws against employer discrimination based on things like race, sex, sexual orientation, or age. It used to be that employers could only use application materials such as a resume or cover letter to choose candidates for an interview, however now they are often searching social media before the interview process. This may have made it much more difficult to prove discrimination, allowing employers to discriminate even when they may not think they are doing it.

5. Biometric Data in Schools

Who needs to do roll call or to carry a library card or lunch ticket when information can be stored based on a student’s handprint? Many hi tech schools are using students’ biometric data such as fingerprints or handprints in order to keep track of this kind of information, which sounds like something from a sci-fi novel. Many parents, on the other hand, are trying to implement policies to protect their children’s privacy and stop this type of data collection.

6. Privacy Rights during International Border Searches

Individuals’ privacy rights diminish when they cross the border into the United States because the need for security often outweighs the right to privacy. Thus, border patrol agents are allowed to search people even without reasonable suspicion. A new issue cropping up is whether border patrol agents are allowed to search the information inside a computer or cell phone, not just the physical hardware. Read this article to find out more about possible limits that may preserve people’s rights at the border.

7. Can a Chimpanzee Achieve Legal Personhood?

In a unique case, the Nonhuman Rights Project (NRP) filed to have a chimpanzee declared a person under the law so that it could be represented in a writ of habeus corpus proceeding. The chimpanzee was being held by the owners of Circle L Trailer Sales in New York, under what the NRP believes was a right to liberty violation.

8. Neo-Nazi Father Loses Child Visitation Rights

When a father lost custody of his five children for neglect and abuse, he argued (while wearing a fully Nazi uniform) that it was based on his beliefs and not neglectful or abusive behavior. Although there are some First Amendment implications in this case, ultimately this was an example of family law principles including the fact that the child’s needs always come first.

9. Free Happy Birthday to You from Corporate Copyright

Have you ever wondered why restaurants sing funny birthday songs, and not just “Happy Birthday to You?” Because the song is protected by copyright, the restaurant would need a very expensive license to perform the song. However, a filmmaker is fighting the copyright owner, Warner Music Group arguing that any rights in the song expired. We’ll have to wait for 2014 to find out the results of this case.

10. Should You Opt Out of Obamacare?

As the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) goes into effect on January 1, 2014, open enrollment in the Heathcare Marketplace began in 2013. Not buying health insurance and opting to pay the $95 penalty fee (for 2014) is considered opting out of Obamacare. This is a particularly difficult decision for young adults, who often don’t need healthcare because they are healthy. If you are a healthy young person, you may want to read this article to find out some other arguments people believe they should “opt out” of Obamacare.

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Law Library Staff

  • Rachel Wenzel

    LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor

    Attorney at Law