Using Deadly Force

If you haven’t been following the story of the Perry County burglar who was shot and killed by an employee, here’s the story so far:

  1. Amy Turner and Jeffery Harless entered a beer distributor when they weren’t supposed to be there.
  2. The alarm sounded
  3. The owner responded to the alarm and confronted Harless
  4. Harless charged the owner with something held over his head (police later found a hammer)
  5. The owner shot and killed Harless
  6. Harless is now dead and Turner is in custody as an accomplice

There’s been a lot of furious arguing in the always troll-tastic PennLive comment section.  Some people argue that the owner had no right to shoot the intruder.  They say he should have waited for the police to respond.  Others argue that the owner was fully correct because, as revealed in today’s story, Harless charged the owner holding something over his head.  And the remaining 95% of the comments are along the lines of “LOL U SUCK” and “BUSH RULES”.

I am not a lawyer, but our gun laws are very easy to understand.  The Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act says the following about the use of deadly force:

Continue reading Using Deadly Force

State Employees Are Protected Under the FLSA

There’s been some talk lately about whether or not state employees are covered under the protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.  The short answer is yes.

When the law was first passed, it was not intended to cover government employees.  In 1966, the Act was amended to cover certain government employees in certain conditions.  In 1976, in National League of Cities v. Usery (426 U.S. 833 (1976)), the US Supreme Court ruled that the FLSA did not cover government employees doing traditional government-employee-type work, effectively ending the employees’ protection under FLSA.

However, Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority (469 U.S. 528 (1985)) effectively reversed National League of Cities.  It clearly states that employees of state and local governments are covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act.  And given the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution, no state legislation can override federal law.  So even if our legislators rush through an emergency bill that attempts to block FLSA protections for state employees, it would not stand up against federal law.

Your move.

Note:  This is part of a series of posts detailing the 2009 Pennsylvania budget impasse.  To see all posts in this series, click here.

Pennsylvania Budget Impasse: 2009 Edition

(NOTE: This is a three-part series on the Pennsylvania budget impasse.  Be sure to also read part 2 and part 3!)

In what has become an annual tradition since 2003, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has announced that, once again, our state government appears unable to pass a budget by the June 30th deadline.  If this budget remains unresolved, state employees will be required to report to work, but will not be paid until a budget is passed.  The silence from AFSCME — the union which all state employees are required to pay into, regardless of membership, and whom is supposed to help out with this sort of thing — is deafening.

If you’re thinking “Hah, I don’t work for the state, so this doesn’t affect me at all”, you’re dead wrong.

Continue reading Pennsylvania Budget Impasse: 2009 Edition

Anonymity on the Internet: Part 2

While digging for followup material for my previous post regarding on the matter, I came across this article today in the Washington Post:

The Maryland Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling and ordered that NewsZap.com, an online forum run by Independent Newspapers, does not have to disclose the identities of forum participants who engaged in an online exchange about the cleanliness of a Dunkin’ Donuts shop in 2006.

But wait — it’s not quite the news you may have been hoping for, you PennLive troll you.  It seems the appellate court’s ruling was based on a lack of identifying information and/or a too-vague subpoena:

Continue reading Anonymity on the Internet: Part 2