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February 2014 Archives

State Patty's Day Means a Return to Prohibition for State College

Apparently, Prohibition did not end in 1933 after all, at least in State College, Pennsylvania, where it has now become a tradition to revive the failed social experiment each State Patty's Day. All the downtown bars, six pack shops, beer distributors and state stores will be closed this year. With the exception of the government-owned state stores, all the private businesses are being compensated by university and municipal government money to partially offset the big financial hit they will take by closing on a Saturday. The servers and bartenders, who are not exactly in the same wealth category as bar owners, will be given a one day unpaid vacation, on the heels of sober THON weekend and two dead spring break weekends to follow. flappers.jpg

Marijuana Policy Schism Epitomized by Girl Scout Cookies

Last week, a 13 year old Girl Scout made national news when she set up shop in front of a San Francisco medical marijuana dispensary and sold 117 boxes in two hours. This past weekend, another Girl Scout in Phoenix found success using the same marketing technique. It's all about location, but all munchies jokes aside, the fact that Girl Scouts are selling cookies to legal marijuana users in some states, while pot smokers in other states are being criminally prosecuted, epitomizes the growing schism in marijuana policy among the 50 states. Girl.scout.cookies.jpg

Corpus Delicti Rule's Purpose Illustrated by Craig's List Killer's Confession

The corpus delicti rule is a concept few outside of the legal field are familiar with, but it likely applies to "Craig's List killer," Miranda Barbour, who, along with her husband Elytte Barbour, is charged with the unprovoked and premeditated murder of a 42 year old man who responded to a thinly disguised prostitution ad the couple had placed on Craig's List. The bizarre killing in rural Pennsylvania went from being a regional crime story to international news when Barbour claimed in a prison interview with a reporter that she had been a member of a satanic cult and participated in 20 murders. miranda.barbour.jpg

State Patty's Day Mayhem Not Caused by State College Bars

State Patty's Day is one of Penn State's newest traditions, and also by far the most controversial. Few people were ever truly offended by the time-honored and comical Mifflin Streak, but many State College residents have expressed annoyance over the unabashed bacchanalian festival created in 2007, when Old Main deliberately scheduled spring break when students would not be in town for St. Patrick's Day. Penn State's plan backfired when the students created the alternative holiday known as "State Patty's Day," which turned out to involve far more irresponsible drinking than the original Irish drinking holiday ever did in State College. State.Pattys.Day.3.jpeg

What is a Hung Jury in a Criminal Trial?


In Pennsylvania, a jury in a criminal trial consists of 12 citizens drawn from the county where the charges are filed, unless it is a high profile case, in which case the jurors may be brought in from another county. These 12 jurors must reach a unanimous decision when deciding whether a defendant is guilty or not guilty of a particular offense. If the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision, and is "hopelessly deadlocked," then the jury is said to be "hung." At that point, the Court of Common Pleas judge declares a mistrial.