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Legal News Roundup: August 12th, 2016

by Missie Frandsen

on 12 August, 2016

Let’s take a look at this week in legal news.


Inmate Allowed to Meet Newborn Son

Last week, we had not one, but two stories about pants. Remember Judge Amber Wolf, who called out prison officials who sent a woman to court without pants and denied her feminine hygiene products? The video of Wolf’s outrage and subsequent hammering of jailers garnered national attention, with the public rallying behind Wolf’s compassion and quick action.

This week, Wolf is in the news again for allowing an inmate to meet his infant son for the first time. Defendant James Roeder appeared before Wolf for a second time after allegedly coordinating a burglary with his then-pregnant wife, Ashley. The Roeders were in Wolf’s court separately when Wolf realized Mr. Roeder, following sentencing, would not get to meet his child in the foreseeable future. She arranged for Ashley Roeder to return to the courtroom with their son, saying “I know you have a no-contact order between you and Mrs. Roeder that I issued — and I am not changing that, I’m making a temporary exception right in front of me, on the record, so that you can meet this baby. This is your son.” The courtroom video shows the first tender moments between the small family and tissues are passed all around.

Megaupload Assets Seizure Sanctioned

Megaupload, Hong-Kong based parent company of storage and streaming services such as Megavideo and Megapix, has faced ongoing legal battles since it was shut down by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2012. New Zealand owner Kim Dotcom was charged with copyright infringement, racketeering, and money laundering and over $42 million worth of assets were frozen. Since then, Dotcom has been fighting extradition from New Zealand to the United States, while New Zealand release millions for legal fees and a monthly living stipend of $170,000.

Dotcom is considered a fugitive in the United States, which has sought to deny all funds to Dotcom. On Friday, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision allowing the government to seize and withhold all of Megaupload assets, stating that Dotcom’s fugitive status disentitled him from using these assets to fight the case. Dotcom’s lawyers state that this is a violation of due process, and “This opinion has the effect of eviscerating Kim Dotcom’s treaty rights by saying if you lawfully oppose extradition in New Zealand, the U.S. will still call you a fugitive and take all of your assets.” Dotcom personally responded on Twitter, saying “Did they think they can separate me from my kids without a fight? I fight corrupt US empire clowns all day, every day. Not even tired.”

The Ongoing Legal Drama of Pokémon Go 

Pokémon Go has opened up endless legal queries, from the theoretical to concrete. Every week, it’s something new; players finding corpses and being sued for trespassing or cheating, Russia and the U.S. worried about Pokémon spies, Niantic’s incredible disclaimers, the legal playing field of augmented reality, and more.

This week, in a consolidation of concerns, Pokéstops and Pokégyms, landmarks where players can pick up items, lure Pokémon, and fight other players, are disappearing from the game. Parks, suburban communities and even libraries have requested that developer Niantic remove Pokéstops, citing safety concerns as players flood Pokéstops; locals complain about rowdy and numerous players, public spaces are struggling to sustain crowds. Utah’s Provo City Library requested four stops be taken down because “of the unexpected costs and increased problems we experienced” that added up to “a dangerous situation.”

Most takedown requests have been made without too much of a fuss, though some come on the backs of lawsuits. One Alberta couple is demanding a gym be removed from their property, and Michigan locals are trying to start a class action lawsuit with demands that stops and gyms be removed from local parks.