TalksOnLaw Editorial

TalksOnLaw Editorial

Featuring legal updates and trends from across the United States and around the world.

The ideas shared by contributors represent the ideas of that individual only and in no way represent the views or position of TalksOnLaw.


Berkeley College Settles Student Deception Suit with NYC

New York City Reaches Settlement with For-Profit Berkeley College to Provide Debt Relief to Students   In March 2022, the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) reached a settlement with Berkeley College for $20 million in debt relief to former students. Berkeley College is one of the largest for-profit colleges in New York state and has campuses in New York and New Jersey. The settlement resolves a 2018 lawsuit filed by the DCWP in which the city alleged that Berkeley engaged in a variety of deceptive and predatory practices. What were the alleged deceptive and fraudulent practices, and what are the benefits of the settlement for students? DC...

Published: April 14, 2022
New COVID-19 Testing Rule for International Travel

CDC's COVID-19 Order on International Travel The CDC issued a new order restricting travel to the United States from a foreign country. Under the new rule, air passengers entering the U.S. must pass a COVID-19 test prior to flying or be cleared by a medical professional after recovering from the virus. The order also provides that additional instructions and guidance for airlines may be forthcoming. The rule takes effect on January 26, 2021.   The Legal Justification What legal grounds does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention use to justify regulating air travel? Under 42 CFR § 71.20 (Public Health Prevention Measures to Detect Communicable Disease), the C...

Published: January 13, 2021
Extradition Battle: Who Gets Julian Assange?

Who gets Julian Assange? The (in)famous Wikileaks founder was arrested on April 11 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.  But with charges still pending in the UK (skipping bail), the possibility of a sexual assault case in Sweden, and a felony charge in the US for “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” (helping Chelsea Manning take and release classified military docs), who will end up with custody of the famous white-haired hacker?  While many experts see the U.S. as the favorite for custody, Sweden is also a contender; Assange’s alleged rape victim is pushing Swedish prosecutors to reopen her case.  Another mystery yet unsolved – why after 7 years of asylum (plus Ecuado...

Published: April 11, 2019
EU Bans Single-Use Plastics

The European Parliament approves a new law banning single-use plastics by 2021.  The law bans items such as plastic straws, plates, q-tips and plastic cutlery.  Additionally, the new legislation calls for EU states to reach 90% collection targets for all plastic bottles by 2029.  “Today, we have taken an important step to reduce littering and plastic pollution in our oceans and seas. We got this, we can do this.” Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the European Commission. Additional Resources For details on the ban from the European Parliament, click here. For the EU's factsheet on the new rules reducing plastics and the damage of such plastics to the oceans, click he...

Published: March 28, 2019
Bump Stock Now Illegal

The federal ban on bump stocks is officially law as of March 26, 2019.  Bump stocks modify semiautomatic rifles, allowing them to fire continuously with one pull of the trigger.  Back in December 2018, the Dept of Justice provided owners with 90 days to turn in or destroy their bump stock before banning them outright.  Bump stocks are now included within the federal definition of a "machinegun" in the Gun Control Act (GCA) and the National Firearms Act (NFA). Possessing them can result in fines and a prison term of up to 10 years.  To learn more, read the official Bump-Stock-Type Devices Final Rule released by the Department of Justice December 18, 2018.

Published: March 26, 2019
Donald Trump & Incitement of Insurrection 

President Trump Impeached for "Incitement of Insurrection" President Trump was impeached for the second time on January 16, 2021. Impeachment under our Constitution follows “high crimes and misdemeanors,” but what were the exact charges leveled against the President? In this case, the "high crime" is incitement of insurrection. What is incitement of insurrection, how is it defined in House Resolution 24, and how is it different from incitement of violence?   What is incitement of insurrection? First off, it’s good to remember that “high crimes and misdemeanors” don’t actually have to reflect federal or state crimes. In fact, it is up to Congress to judge whether the ...

Published: January 15, 2021
What Does the Cole Memo Mean for Marijuana?

WHAT IS THE COLE MEMORANDUM? On August 29, 2013, the Department of Justice issued the now infamous Cole Memorandum, signaling a shift in federal law enforcement policy on marijuana in America. While the memo (signed by then United States Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole) reiterates the view that marijuana is a “dangerous drug” and federally illegal under the Controlled Substances Act, it provided some comfort to the cannabis industry by offering some restraint in terms of enforcement of the prohibition.   Specifically, the memo provided guidance to federal law enforcement regarding crimes relating to the cultivation, distribution, sale, or possession of marijuana in stat...

Published: February 11, 2020
Contested Paternity between Identical Twins

► TOL Foreign Law Update A woman is pregnant, and the father is one of two identical twins.  But what happens if each twin claims he is not the father? Well, according to a court in Brazil, both will pay. The twins, referred to by the court as Fernando and Fabrício, are alleged to regularly impersonate one another while pursuing women.  The judge, left unable to identify the father, imposed child support on both men.     Additional Resources For an in depth conversation on bioethics, including the ownership of sperm and contested paternity, watch this interview with Harvard Law Prof. Glenn Cohen.  Click here. For the legal decision (in Portuguese), click here.  ...

Published: April 3, 2019
Jussie Smollett–All Charges Dropped

In an example of the broad powers of prosecutorial discredition, Chicago prosecutors dropped all 16 felony charges against Jussie Smollett. The actor had been previously accused of staging a fake hate crime against himself and then lying to police about it.  Without reversing on the allegations from Chicago PD, the DA’s office dropped the charges after Smollett agreed to forfeit his $10,000 bond and perform community service. According to DA Kim Foxx, the crimes may not have been serious enough to merit pursuing further, given that Smollett wasn't likely to face jail time. Kim Foxx said, “This is a Class 4 felony — We recognize that the likelihood that someone would get a pri...

Published: March 27, 2019