Thursday, February 14, 2013


Press v. Broadcasting
The freedom of speech or of the press is a hotly debated issue and how the First Amendment is interpreted to establish the true meaning of “Freedom,” as if applies to the access theory. These following two cases have been passionately debated and now it being the  21st century, with all of the internet and smartphone accessibility to express oneself and be connected, it makes an individual deliberate where the line will be drawn and what the consequences will be for this freedom.
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the access theory in, Miami Herald v. Tornilla[1]and reversed the decision made by the Florida State Supreme Court. The court stated the statute in which the prior decision was made inferred with the guarantees of a free press under the First Amendment.  The First Amendment does not give the government the right to force a newspaper to publish views or ideas from a citizen and thus would interfere with the editorial judgment about the choice of material in which to publish.
In Red Lion Broadcasting v. FCC[2], the supreme court ruled the public has the right to receive what they consider suitable access to social, political, esthetic, moral, and other ideas, therefore embracing the access theory. The FCC limits the broadcast system by only allowing a number of radio and television stations to broadcast; therefor the government has the obligation of protecting the public interest.
The courts made the distinction between the print and broadcast media in the above cases by rationalizing there would be unlimited voices in the press. Meaning that there is no regulation on how many newspapers, magazines, etc. there could be in business. On the other hand, the government has promulgated statutes and ordinances through the FCC to limit the number of radio and television stations that are able to broadcast on the airways, along with their content and language usage.
Much has changed since 1969, with the invention of the internet and affordable computers/smart phones. A person can easily download a podcast, tweet on Twitter or rip music onto their electronic device. The once written form of expression such as newspapers, books, etc. can be accessed easily by just about anyone from their smart device, making the printed word go viral. As for broadcasting, yes the FCC still limits the number of stations on the airways and how much power you can use to broadcast. But with the invention of the internet a person can listen to the news, a podcast, and an opinion of a private individual  as easy as or easier than turning on the radio or the television. The access theory does not seem to fit comfortably into the 21st century and our social network.

[1] 418 U.S. 241 (1974)
[2] 395 U.S. 367 (1969)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Punishment, Control, and Deceit

Immediately the, “Standford Prison Experiment,” came to mind when I was reading these chapters 4, 5, 6, and 7. About a year ago in my Sociology class our instructor should us the video of the experiment. As I perused this website I began to recall some of the disturbing behavior that was exhibited by the prison guards. The first initial POWER was picking up the so called criminals in a police car with lights and sirens blaring. To boot, the police officers wore dark sunglasses an idea borrowed from the movie, “Cool Hand Luke,” the prisoners couldn’t see their eyes, which in itself is deceptive. The forms of deception that the guards used on the prisoners throughout the experiment to get them to conform was interesting to say the least because these guards were just volunteers in the experiment and the power went to theirs heads and they became, “ Super Cop.” The guards did everything they could in order to degrade, dehumanize and take away their individuality in order to make them comply. The guards would wake up the prisoners at different times and cause them sleep deprivation, along with using push-ups as a form of punishment. The push-ups were viewed at first as an inappropriate use of punishment but it was discussed that during the Nazi camps this form of punishment was also used to punish and control the prisoners.
The guards used solitary confinement to quail the ring leaders and they met force with force during the initial uprising with the fire extinguishers. Privileges of special food and treatment were given to some of the prisoners in order to cause more friction with the other prisoners. The amazing thing was the way the guards developed and morphed into these SUPER GUARDS and they came up with ideas about the harassment, punishment, and rewards all on their own. A couple of them seem to really relish in the fact that they wielded this power over the prisoners. The behavior the guards exhibited and how they morphed into these power symbols made me think of the movie industry.
            Within the past year I went to the Movie Theater and saw, “Hunger Games.” Given the subjects that we have been studying, I believe this movie seems to flip the bill. The movie takes place in a dystopian future, where a controlling, advanced technological consolidated government rules over "DISTRICTS" of poor populaces scarcely enduring in a third world environment. The government is punishing the districts because of a failed uprising and now the government is holding killing games once a year and a boy/girl must participate from each district, enslavement by the government, with the hope of freedom. What a deception!  
The government controls the rations of food and if a family or person wants more the child’s name goes into the selection again to increase their chances of being picked for the games, controlling maneuver by the government. The government has fenced off the districts with high voltage wires in order to keep the people confined to certain areas and restrict their liberty. The communications are controlled and the broadcast are theatrical events in which the government makes up in order to deceive the districts into believing what they want them too. Not unlike deception that is used in our own broadcasting and communications from the government. You never really get the entire real story; just the bits and pieces that might make the ratings go up, political goals and MONEY.
            The power in which the government had over these people, by restricting their freedom, food, and constantly putting them in fear for their families has such an huge impact upon the communities. These tactics are not such unlike power plays that happen in our own community, but not at this level. I had not realized how close to home this movie really was to some situations in our own society. While I was doing research on the internet about these power plays and deception the movie, “Hunger Games,” just seem to fit very nicely into the slot that I needed. This article for me was very interesting and quite an eye opener.

Waiver of Child Support ?


            You have requested for me to research and locate any authorities which control a couple’s ability to contract away an obligor parent’s past or future child support responsibility.


            Our client is an architect from New Mexico and she has been here in Fairbanks, Alaska, since May. She had a relationship with said father during this time and conceived a child. Mary’s job has ended and she will be returning to New Mexico. She earns no less than six-figures per year and is financially capable of supporting/raising the child alone. Mary has spoken with the father of the child and he agrees to pay $5000.00 in cash to help pay for the pregnancy and birth of the child. He has furthermore agreed to not having any natural parental rights to this child. In lieu of this agreement, he wants no child support obligation for past or future for the child. Mary has agreed and is now seeking legal service to execute the contract.


In the Alaska State Statue, AS 25.27.065, it does say the custodian of a child, including custodial parent, owes a duty to child that child support is paid, by noncustodial parent. An agreement to waive past and future child support by custodial and noncustodial parents is not enforceable unless:
1.      the agreement is put in writing at the time the agreement is made; and
2.      the agreement is signed at the time it is made by both the obligor and the person acting for the obligee.
Further into the statute, AS 25.27.065(b)(c), does imply this type of an agreement would not be enforceable if custodial parent was on welfare. Moreover, if our client and said father were seeking separation, dissolution, or divorce in a proceeding, the court would want proof from the custodial parent that they could support the needs of the child. Since our client Mary isn’t on welfare, currently not married, the statute does prove to have legal strength for the congenial agreement between parties in reference to child support. 
In, Cox v. Cox, 776 P.2d 1045, 1048(Alaska 1989), the above statute was cited in this case to strengthen the point that custodial and noncustodial parents should not be allowed to enter into an agreement where child support is concerned to evade the operation of Rule 90.3. Quoted from the brief:
Thus, the mere fact that an agreement may comply with this
statute does not mean that it is free from the operation and effect
of Rule 90.3. Our holding that parties cannot by contract evade
the operation of Rule 90.3 therefore does not conflict with this statute.

The Alaska Rules Civil Procedure Rule 90.3, Commentary V (B)(1), does state:
Agreement of the Parents: The fact that the parties, whether or not
Represented by counsel, agree on an amount of support is not reason
in itself to vary the guidelines. The children have an interest in
adequate support independent of either parent's interest. Thus,
approval of any agreement which varies the guidelines, whether in a
dissolution, by stipulation or otherwise, must be based upon an
explanation by the parties of what unusual factual circumstances
justify the variation.

Given the civil rule above, it does appear that even though the parents of said child have reached a satisfactory agreement between each other, is not necessarily an agreement the court would find in the best interest of the child. The court would have to rule on the agreement based off of Civil Rule 90.3.
            In the Civil Rules Procedure 90.3, Child Support Awards in summary are the guidelines for the Alaska court to determine child support based off of the best interest for the child or children. The guidelines were written in order to try to encompass most situations of child custody between the custodial and noncustodial parent, based off of financial needs of the child or children.
            Rule 90.3 is detailed about establishing child support and clarifies in the commentary that even though parents enter into an agreement themselves, the agreement has to be approved by the court. But in the Alaska State Statue, AS 25.27.065, it does give the impression our client does meet all of the requirements for the exceptions.
            After doing the research to locate authorities as you requested, it does appear the court would not look favorably upon an agreement made between a custodial and noncustodial parent to avoid past and future child support, since child support is a payment that a noncustodial parent makes as a contribution to the costs of raising her or his child. Moreover, within the AS 25.27.065, it does appear that our client’s situation does meet the enforceable requirements for the waiver of child support, but if brought before the court it would be debatable that the agreement would be held as so.
            I believe I have addressed your request to locate any authorities which control a couple’s ability to contract away an obligor parent’s past or future child support responsibility, based off of the resources available.


Old Laws On The Books

For the internet project in Chapter 4, I have to admit having difficult time deciding what I was going to do research on. I finally decided upon researching a topic that was not so serious as, “The Code of Hammurabi,” or on the, “Honor Killings.” So, I opted to do a little research on the old laws after reading the section on Model Penal Code. Don’t get me wrong I know that the, “Model of the Penal Code,” was developed as a way to standardize and organize the disconnected criminal codes enacted by the states. But some of the sections of the MPC are now considered old-fashioned, and the code is inadequate to address various significant recent criminal law issues. My interests are mainly the old laws that are on the books for Alaska. I found most of them extremely funny and interesting.
I found this web site where you could select a state that you’re interested in and then it provides you with a selection of laws that are still on the books. The dumb laws of the United States web site has some old laws for Alaska like:
·         Moose may not be viewed from an airplane.
·         Waking a sleeping bear for the purpose of taking a photograph is prohibited.
·         It is considered an offense to push a live moose out of a moving airplane.
The first law that is listed I found to be intriguing, because I couldn’t really come up with a reason why a moose could not be viewed from an airplane. Maybe it was related to a hunting law of some sort. Now anybody in their right mind would not wake a sleeping bear up just to get picture. Could this law have been written for purposes of waking a bear from hibernation and or maybe in an en-caged area like a zoo? Now, why would anyone push a moose out of a moving airplane? The law did not specify flying, just moving. Maybe if a person was being pursued by Fish and Game for taking an animal illegally?
·         Intentionally avoiding walking on the cracks in the pavement is illegal
·         Fairbanks: No moose is allowed to have sex (or even heavy petting on city streets.
·         Stealing snow from a neighbor’s garden to make a snowman is against the law. Using it for an igloo is acceptable.
Intentionally avoiding walking on cracks, I don’t get it. I remember the saying that we chanted when we were kids about stepping on cracks, but I truly cannot come up with any logical explanation why this was ever on the books. Research on this topic is for another day. The Fairbanks law I found quite funny about the moose and sex. To whom would you give the ticket to? Well, the stealing of the snow of course is logical, one would think that building a snowman is non-essential and an igloo of course is just the opposite. As I further explore these old laws I can see that many are outdated for our society and may if never used.
·         In Missouri, It is Illegal To Drive With An Un-caged Bear (Caged Bears Are OK)
·         In Maine, It's Illegal To Have Christmas Decorations Up After Jan. 14
·         In New Jersey, It is Illegal To Wear A Bulletproof Vest While Committing A Murder
Who in their right mind would drive around with a un-caged bear. Maybe someone in the circus, but that is stretching it pretty far. Now about having decorations up after January 14th, I’m sure glad that we don’t have that law here in Fairbanks. Most people leave their Christmas lights up year around. The last one that I listed I thought to be so funny, I practically fell off my chair. These laws are for extremely ignorant people and I would hope that our society has better sense than that. These states paid these people to spend time to come up with these laws, amazing.
I can still see where the Model Penal Code is needed in order to organize the criminal laws in the states. MPC is organized into four parts, helps define the crimes and organizes them:
(1) General provisions containing definitional functions and presumptive rules;
 (2) Definitions of specific offenses;
(3) Provisions governing treatment and correction; and
(4) Provisions governing the organization of corrections departments and divisions such as the divisions responsible for parole or probation.
But our states need to update their laws in order to reflect today society.