Issues to Watch

ISSUES TO WATCH: FIFA Gets the Mafia Treatment

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FIFA Gets the Mafia Treatment

Christopher Burns*

Members of the Hells Angels, Latin Kings, and the Gambino crime family were all prosecuted in Federal Court under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).  RICO, enacted in 1970, was drafted with the intention to take down various mafia organizations and crime syndicates located domestically by means of incorporating assorted federal crimes ranging from substance abuse to money laundering.  Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1961 (2012).  Additionally, RICO adds new criminal and civil consequences to the predicate offenses incorporated into the statute.  Id. § 1963.  Recently, the Department of Justice (DOJ) applied RICO to prosecute a different kind of crime syndicate – the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, or as most people know it, FIFA.  Grand Jury Indictment, United States v. Webb, et al., 15 CR 0252 (E.D.N.Y. May 20, 2015), [hereinafter Webb Indictment].  FIFA is the international body governing organized soccer, commonly known outside the United States as football.  The organization has long been accused of harboring corrupt members, whose prerogative consist of filling their deep pockets rather than “develop[ing] football everywhere and for all . . . and to build a better future through the power of the game.”  Fifa, (last visited Aug. 27, 2015). (more…)

Issues to Watch

ISSUES TO WATCH: States Taking Stance Against The Use Of Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapy On Minors

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Growing Trend of States Taking Legal Stance Against the Use of Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapy on Minors

Elizabeth Danquah-Brobby*

On August 20, 2015, in a trend gaining momentum across the United States, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law the Youth Mental Health Protection Act (YMHPA).  H.B. 217, 99th Gen. Assemb., Reg. Sess. (Ill. 2015).  Illinois joins California, Oregon, and New Jersey to become the fourth state to pass into law state mandated protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) youth from the known psychological dangers of the phenomenon known as sexual orientation conversion therapy.  Cal Bus. & Prof. Code § 865.1; H.B. 2307, 78th Leg. Assemb., Reg. Sess. (OR. 2015); N.J. Stat. Ann. § 45:1-54; H.B. 217, 99th Gen. Assemb., Reg. Sess. (Ill. 2015)  The District of Columbia provided similar legal protection in 2014.  D.C. Code § 7-1231.14a. (more…)

Issues to Watch

ISSUES TO WATCH: A Rap Song Posted To Social Media By A Student Is Unprotected By The First Amendment

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First Amendment Protection—Out Of School Speech—The United States Court of Appeals For The Fifth Circuit Holds That A Rap Song Posted To Social Media By A Student Is Unprotected. —Bell v. Itawamba County School Board, No. 12-60264, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14630 (5th Cir. Aug. 20, 2015).

Rachel Melchor*

The First Amendment states that, “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.”  U.S. Const. amend. I.  In our increasingly technological world, the Internet presents new challenges for school administrators and how to balance school safety and students’ constitutional rights.  Bell v. Itawamba Cnty. Sch. Bd., No. 12-60264, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 14630, at *19 (5th Cir. Aug. 20, 2015) (citing Wynar v. Douglas Cnty. Sch. Dist., 728 F.3d 1062, 1064 (9th Cir. 2013)).  (more…)

Issues to Watch

ISSUES TO WATCH: Government Regulation of Cybersecurity Practices

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Government Regulation of Cybersecurity Practices: FTC v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp.
“You might want to check your [insert business name] account. They’ve been hacked.”

Marie Claire Langlois*

It is a warning heard far too often.  Companies from Target to Sony, from Home Depot to JPMorgan Chase, are all recovering from the malicious attacks of hackers intending to steal thousands of client’s identities for their own benefit.  Kevin Granville, 9 Recent Cyberattacks Against Big Businesses, N.Y. Times, (Feb. 5, 2015),  Since many times the hacker’s identities are never known, private consumers can only bring legal action against the businesses holding their personal information by alleging insufficient protection for commercially unreasonable cybersecurity practices.  Alison Frankel, Thanks to 3rd Circuit, companies are accountable for lax cybersecurity, Reuters (April 24, 2015),, ¶ 2. (more…)

Online Series, Student Comment, Volume 44

Comment: PASPA’s Ban on Sports Betting is Misguided

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PASPA’s Ban on Sports Betting is Misguided: Save Citizens the Financially and Morally Taxing Trip to Vegas by Allowing States to Legalize Sports Wagering.

Marie Long*

      Not all Americans realize it, but betting on sports is illegal in the United States. It is the classic American duality: morally proscribing only one type of gambling while sanctioning lotteries, slots, and online poker as legal; as though they are somehow different than or more morally acceptable than betting on sports. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1991 (“PASPA”) sought to stop the spread of state-sponsored sports gambling and maintain the integrity of professional and amateur sports by banning any wagering by government entities or individuals on “competitive games in which amateur or professional athletes participate.”

Download the full comment by clicking the following link Long Comment – Vol 44 Online – Final.

* Expected J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law in May 2015.