Voisine v. United States, the Orlando Shooting, and the Suspension of Constitutional Rights

By Marvin Lim

In the wake of the 2016 Orlando nightclub mass shooting, Voisine v. United States, a case the U.S. Supreme Court decided only two weeks later has even more significance now than ever. Voisine v. United States raises an important, timely question: When can constitutional rights, and in particular the Second Amendment right to bear arms, be suspended? The case – which involved a defendant who, like the Orlando perpetrator, had a history of domestic violence – further emphasizes why our society must be more principled and consistent in making this kind of determination.

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Plain Error at Sentencing

By Anthony Copple

Any defendant in our criminal justice system is faced with overwhelming odds. Part of this stems from the fact that the vast majority of criminal defendants will be convicted of the crimes of which they are accused. They all, guilty or innocent, feel the weight of that fact. This is particularly true for those with appointed counsel by the Court. The public defender agencies do an admirable job of representing their clients, however; they are stretched to the limit and simply do not have the time or resources to cross every “t” and dot every “i.” One possible mistake is through failure to preserve error for appellate review. This article examines the way in which unpreserved claims of error at sentencing may affect the substantive rights of criminal defendants within the First Circuit.

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Combating Off-Label Drug Use with a Tort Modernization Solution

By David Tobias

It is common practice for doctors to prescribe drugs for uses that have not been approved by the FDA, a phenomenon known as “off-label” use. In fact, at least 20% of all drug prescriptions are off-label, and some scholars quote figures as high as 60%. In the fields of oncology and psychiatry, off-label drug use is even higher. This practice has significant pros and cons. Many healthcare providers and patients consider off-label use necessary in order to get drugs to patients who need them. However, off-label drug use correlates with significant increases in adverse drug effects for patients, especially when the use is not supported by significant scientific research, and it has caused significant harm to the public. In order to stop these negative effects without stifling off-label drug use’s benefits, this article proposes a two-part solution that will encourage physicians to prescribe and administer off-label drugs in accordance with society's expectations of safety.

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