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November 2012 Archives

Pharmacists Refusing to Dispense OTC Birth Control

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by Katelyn DeRuyter, UMN Law Student, MJLST Staff

Thumbnail-Katelyn-DeRuyter.jpgCan your access to a legal method of birth control be blocked by your pharmacist? It seems likely. Although emergency contraception (EC) is legal in America and a recent poll found that 77% of Americans object to pharmacies refusing to fill birth control prescriptions, a woman that goes to pick up EC may face a denial of the drug by her pharmacist. According to the Appellate Court of Illinois Fourth District, in recent case Morr-Fitz, Inc. v. Quinn, the state's "Conscience Act" (protecting health care personnel from liability when they refuse to act due to their conscience) protects pharmacists who refuse to dispense EC. Illinois is not alone in providing pharmacists the ability to deny EC. Six states have laws that explicitly permit pharmacists to refuse to administer EC. Five more states (including IL) have "conscience clause" laws that are worded broadly enough that pharmacists may be included.

by MJLST

mjlst-logo-button.pngStudies of adolescent brain development have influenced debates on issues such as the constitutionality of the juvenile death penalty, if sentencing juveniles to life without the possibility of parole is moral, to whether states should raise the legal driving age, to permitting minors to obtain an abortion without parental consent. In this lecture, Prof. Steinberg will examine whether burgeoning research on adolescent brain development should influence legal policy.

by Jennifer Nomura, UMN Law Student, MJLST Staff

Thumbnail-Jennifer-Nomura.jpgDNA is a key piece of evidence in criminal trials. But despite what we see on Law and Order and CSI, obtaining a DNA sample from potential suspects isn't always easy. In an episode of a popular crime-solving TV show, detectives are shown following a number of potential suspects. The detectives pick up used tissues and discarded cigarettes from a long list of suspects in order to obtain DNA samples from each of them. Is that the criminal justice system of the future? A system where a thrown away coffee cup could be used to obtain a DNA sample from an individual, without them even knowing?

by Sabrina Ly

Thumbnail-Sabrina-Ly.jpg Evidence from social networking websites is increasingly involved in a litany of litigation. Although the widespread use of social media can lead to increased litigation, as well as increasing the cost of litigation, use of social media has assisted lawyers and police officers in proving cases and solving crimes. In New Jersey, for example, two teenage brothers were arrested and charged with murder of a twelve year-old girl. What led to the two teenagers' arrest was evidence left behind in their homes along with a Facebook post that made their mother suspicious enough to call the police. In another case, Antonio Frasion Jenkins Jr. had charges brought against him by an officer for making terroristic threats to benefit his gang. Jenkins posted a description of his tattoo on Facebook which stated: "My tattoo iz a pig get'n his brains blew out." Pig is considered a derogatory term for a police officer.The tattoo also had the officer's misspelled name and his badge number. The officer who is a part of the gang investigation team saw the Facebook post and immediately filed charges against Jenkins as he interpreted the tattoo as a direct threat against him and his family. These are two of the many situations in which social networking websites have been used as evidence to bring charges against or locate an individual.

by Maya Suresh, UMN Law Student, MJLST Staff

Thumbnail-Maya-Suresh.jpgHikma Pharmaceutical Company recently received the 2012 Client Leadership Award of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) due to its strong commitment to the community and leadership in the Pharmaceutical Industry. The award is given to companies that display this commitment through a variety factors, including strong corporate governance. As the biggest pharmaceutical manufacturer in the Middle East, Hikma has helped the public by providing affordable and lifesaving medicines to those in need. The CEO of the IFC lauded the corporation for setting the standard for corporate social responsibility within the industry.

by Mike Borchardt, UMN Law Student, MJLST Managing Editor

Thumbnail-Mike-Borchardt.jpgThe strong showing in polls for marijuana legalization efforts in Colorado and Washington illustrate that America's attitudes toward illegal drugs is starting to shift. Though the attitudes of some voters are starting to shift on pot, there is still a strong disconnect, especially when it comes to harder drugs, between what we know about addiction and the policies we use to curb drug use. In their article in MJLST 11.1, "Why Neuroscience Matters for Rational Drug Policy," David M. Eagleman, Mark A. Correro, and Jyotpal Singh outline this disconnect between science and policy. As they explain, "Although addiction may involve volitional choices early on, it is best understood as a brain disease." Despite this being the general consensus of the scientific community, our drug policies do too little to address addiction as a disease.

by Greg Singer, UMN Law Student, MJLST Managing Editor

Thumbnail-Greg-Singer.jpgIn the west, perhaps no right is held in higher regard than the freedom of speech. It is almost universally agreed that a person has the inherent right to speak their mind as he or she pleases, without fear of censorship or reprisal by the state. Yet for the more than 1.3 billion currently residing in what is one of the oldest civilizations on the planet, such a concept is either unknown or wholly unreflective of the reality they live in.

Political Data-Mining and Election 2012

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by Chris Evans, UMN Law Student, MJLST Managing Editor

Thumbnail-Chris-Evans.jpgIn "It's the Autonomy, Stupid: Political Data-Mining and Voter Privacy in the Information Age," I wrote about the compilation and aggregation of voter data by political campaigns and how data-mining can upset the balance of power between voters and politicians. The Democratic and Republican data operations have evolved rapidly and quietly since my Note went to press, so I'd like to point out a couple of recent articles on data-mining in the 2012 campaign.