Criminal law

Rogue sheriff “enforces” unconstitutional law; Update: the apology

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July 29, 2013
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Since Lawrence v. Texas was decided 10 years ago, laws prohibiting oral or anal sex (sodomy) have been unconstitutional.  And it is a pretty basic precept that asking someone to engage in a lawful act cannot itself be unlawful.  Except, apparently in Louisiana. The Baton Rouge Advocate reports that the local sheriff’s office is using […]

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Sex workers challenge Canadian laws as undermining their safety

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June 15, 2013
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On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada heard oral arguments in Bedford v. Canada, in which several sex workers are challenging three laws related to prostitution (prostitution itself is not a crime in Canada): • Bawdy-House Laws, which make it illegal to operate or be found in a place used for prostitution. These “anti-brothel laws” […]

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Where Lawrence fears to tread

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April 13, 2013
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Ten years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that a state could not criminalize consensual adult sexual conduct because of a belief that the conduct was immoral. It carefully limited the decision, however, noting that sex work, for example, did not fall within the scope of the liberty right being protected. Thus […]

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Sodomy laws that will not die

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April 5, 2013
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This year is the 10th anniversary of Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court decision that found the Texas sodomy law unconstitutional. So – no more worries about sodomy laws, right? Wrong. There are still sodomy laws on the books in 18 states; most of these laws are felonies. You might think they would be dead […]

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Canadian Supreme Court modifies HIV exposure crime

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October 5, 2012
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The Canadian Supreme Court ruled today in R. v. Mabior [2012 SCC 47] that the law criminalizing failure to disclose HIV positive status to a sexual partner was constitutional only in situations where a realistic risk of transmission could be proved.  In a 1998 decision, the court had ruled that failure to disclose vitiated the […]

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LGBT law update: Sub-Saharan Africa

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September 25, 2012
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Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa offered wonderful words of support in July for the world’s LGBT communities. Across Sub-Saharan Africa, however, much more support is sorely needed. Here is a brief survey of recent developments in the region. Ghana. As part of its mandate to provide comprehensive recommendations to improve the country’s 1992 constitution, the […]

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