Questions in the Law & Government category.
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October 18

Neighbor's tree on utilities- no one cares

Our neighbor has a huge cedar tree right next to the property line. This tree has been topped in the past, is rotten inside, and subsequently has a heavy broken branch being held up by the telephone line. I can't get anyone to take action- what can I do to get this cleared up? [more inside]
posted by oneirodynia at 12:39 PM - 11 answers

October 17

Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. ENOUGH.

Writing a screenplay about outing abusers- so timely! Here are some legal and logistical questions, essentially: How best could a group of people share a secret online document that lists known abusers? Setting is Ontario Canada, and the legal aspects should be extremely accurate. [more inside]
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:11 PM - 6 answers

Names of victims in Commonwealth v. Welansky (1944)

I've been looking for the names of the 19 victims of manslaughter cited in the 1944 case Commonwealth V. Welansky--the first criminal case from the Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston. According to Wikipedia, club owner Barry Welansky was convicted of 19 counts of manslaughter. I've reviewed a number of briefs related to the case, but none of them list names of the victims cited in the case. What are the names of the 19 victims?
posted by pxe2000 at 8:37 AM - 6 answers

October 16

Gift cards as "gratuities"

YANML. I know that dollar-value-equivalent gift cards given to employees as a bonus, gift, or award are considered taxable income under US law. Mostly, I've seen this in the context of "Widget Inc. is giving each of its employees a $100 gift card to Acme Stores, as a holiday bonus." But what about when Widget, Inc. gives its employees gift cards to Widget, Inc.? What about when Widget charges the cards to a customer's credit card in place of an agreed-upon "gratuity"? [more inside]
posted by armeowda at 6:33 PM - 8 answers

October 15

Appendix E?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in a speech : Take the case nonetheless the Solicitor General urged, for the Court of Appeals decision "casts a cloud of unconstitutionality upon the many federal statutes listed in Appendix E." [more inside]
posted by Ideefixe at 2:47 PM - 7 answers

Today's edition of Name My Blog

What should I name my blog? I plan to cover election laws and related topics. This will include redistricting, instant-runoff voting, election security, and voter suppression in the USA but focusing on New Mexico. Also, besides a name, let me know if you have other ideas about what I should cover or good sources.
posted by maurreen at 10:41 AM - 5 answers

October 10

Most effective U.S. environmental advocacy group?

Who is the most effective at changing attitudes, policy and practice as regards the environment, and why? I'd looking to join a group like, but time is a precious resource, so I'd like some thoughts (and facts/numbers) on which groups are doing the most effective work.
posted by falcon42 at 2:49 PM - 5 answers

Can You Hear Me Now? Downstairs Neighbor Noise Edition!

I just moved into the top floor unit of a small 2 story building. I specifically chose the top floor unit to avoid noise. I just started grad school and my partner works from home so it was super, super, super important that the building is quiet. When we asked about noise, the property management company said "oh yeah, it should be very quiet since you're on the top floor" but... I can hear everything my *downstairs* neighbors are doing and my unit vibrates every time they take a step. [more inside]
posted by forkisbetter at 9:06 AM - 15 answers

October 8

Dangerous enough to report?

Is there anything that a person can do when they see another driver do some really questionable stuff? Should I call the police non-emergency line? [more inside]
posted by Tehhund at 7:07 AM - 24 answers

October 6

Historic demographic data from censuses?

Is there a (relatively) quick and easy way to find demographic information for from past U.S. Federal Censuses? In particular, I'm looking for racial breakdowns for a particular town over the decades.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:58 AM - 9 answers

October 4

Someone totaled my car; I'm getting screwed by her insurance company.

I've never been through this before, so I don't know what to expect. (I didn't know Gap Insurance was a thing, so I don't have it.) The other driver was entirely at fault, and her insurance company admits this. But because my car's value has gone down in the 1.5 years we've owned it, by the time they pay off the lien holder, I'll be $4,000 short of my initial investment and car payments. [more inside]
posted by grumblebee at 9:36 AM - 48 answers

October 3

How can I protect my interests from a quit claim deed?

I am being asked to sign a quit claim deed to what will in reality be a marital home, which I will be paying most of the mortgage on. Is there anything I can do to protect my interests? [more inside]
posted by anonymous at 2:19 PM - 10 answers

October 1

Parallels to the Catalan referendum crackdown?

Have there been other situations like the one in Catalan right now, where one democratically elected government has sent in the police to violently suppress a referendum being held by a lower-level democratically elected government?
posted by clawsoon at 5:20 AM - 4 answers

September 30

Lawyer jokes suddenly make sense.

Please help me understand whether this legal bill is fair, and if not what I have a right to expect. [more inside]
posted by flourpot at 5:53 AM - 10 answers

September 29

Should I file a complaint against the NYPD?

This week, NYPD swarmed the alley behind my building, seemingly looking for one of my neighbors. Three officers crouched behind an NYPD vehicle with guns drawn and pointed toward the end of the alley for at least twenty minutes (I think it was closer to 35). They were later accompanied by an officer with a dog and then at least five more officers in helmets, vests, and a couple of riot shields. [more inside]
posted by anonymous at 11:23 PM - 23 answers

September 27

CIA withheld letters to President Truman

In the first episode of Ken Burns' Vietnam, the narrator says that Ho Chi Minh sent letters to President Truman that were never given to him. I can't find out anything about this on the web so far, any help? More inside. [more inside]
posted by Rufous-headed Towhee heehee at 6:21 PM - 8 answers

September 26

The Repeal That Wouldn't Die

Are there any limits for how many times a proposed bill can be brought before Congress? [more inside]
posted by thedarksideofprocyon at 11:30 AM - 10 answers

September 25

USPS Letter Pickup - Urban vs Suburban

Whenever I've lived in a big city (my experience has been in New York and Chicago), the USPS has refused to pick up stamped letters from the mailbox in my apartment building lobby, so I have to carry them to a blue collection box. Whenever I've lived in a smaller city, the mail carrier has happily picked up my letters. What is up with that? [more inside]
posted by enn at 2:53 PM - 23 answers

Can I make a noise complaint with the cops about a moving motor vehicle?

On the weekends, there are all these motorcyclists who rev their engines and drive around downtown, moving in a circuit. They aren't actually going anywhere. They just drive and rev and often the noise is quite ear-splitting. I know that you can file a noise complaint about a house party, but what about motorcyclists? [more inside]
posted by Sully at 12:24 PM - 17 answers

September 23

Moving from the US to France. Can it be done?

My boyfriend and I live in the US. He is currently interviewing for a postdoc position in France. It looks like he'll be receiving an offer, likely on a scientific/researcher visa. We're trying to figure out how I can move with him, but we're finding the process confusing and overwhelming! [more inside]
posted by anonymous at 6:50 PM - 7 answers

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