14 posts categorized "Technology"

September 07, 2010

Sexting and the Law (Part One)


         Yikes!  Sexting may sound harmless but it is far from it!  Sexting can land the sender in prison for a felony and can cause that person to have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his or her natural life!  This is no laughing matter and the powers-that-be (i.e. police and prosecutors) take sexting very, very seriously.

            What, exactly, is sexting? Well, according to Wikipedia, “Sexting is the act of sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones."

            In California, Sexting is made a crime by Penal Code Section 288.2 which basically says that it’s a crime to send a message to a minor if the message is intended to arouse or seduce the minor.  This crime applies even if the sender is himself or herself a minor and that minor can be prosecuted!

            Although we all know that a minor in California is defined as someone who is less than 18 years of age, click here to read www.sexlaws.org‘s interesting discussion of California Statutory Rape.

            What are the consequences?  Well, for starters up to three years in prison.  Then, pursuant to California Penal Code Section 290, someone convicted of Penal Code Section 288.2 shall be required to register as a sex offender.  For life!

            Recent Arrests of Alleged Sexting Violators

Sexting teen austin butler ABC News: A Stockton student was arrested on suspicion of "sexting" - sending inappropriate sexual material via text  - to a minor, according to a school district spokesperson. 

The arrested teen was identified as Austin Butler, 18. "Apparently the evidence suggested that the texting back and forth had been sufficient to establish a pattern," said Lee.

Sexting ione police department CBS News: An accused serial sexter" is behind bars for allegedly harassing hundreds of women with offensive text messages.

Police say there are victims across California and at least two other states.

Steven Sharp, 30, was arrested at his home in Hayward, California after the Ione Police Department conducted a sting operation. A police officer apparently posed as a 13-year-old girl, and in one week, Sharp allegedly made 100 phone calls and sent 2,000 text messages to her. 

Read about the real life dangers of sexting In Sexting and the Law (Part Two), coming soon.

Questions? Concerns?

If You, Or Someone You Know, Was Arrested for Sexting

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March 13, 2010

Chatroulette is Shockingly (Fill in the Blank) - Is It Legal?

Chatroulette scary

             What is ChatRoulette?  Sam Anderson describes it perfectly as “a new website that brings you face-to-face, via webcam, with an endless stream of random strangers all over the world” in his New York Magazine article The Human Shuffle. 

I stumbled upon www.chatroulette.com quite by accident when perusing www.oddee.com and found 18 Funny ChatRoulette Screenshots.  While I don’t think they were necessarily funny, they were quite interesting.  Screenshots ranged from a justifiably angry African-American fellow being linked up with a young Arian whose room was adorned with a Nazi Swastika flag (not funny) to a young woman screaming in horror when her chat partner donned a humorously terrifying mask.

Chatroulette swastika  Chatroulette i will draw you 


         What is this modern technological miracle?  And, is it legal? 

 Chatroulette pervert

            Apparently Fox News is worried that ChatRoulette will become a haven for child predators.  In his Fox News Article Chatroulette Is 'Predators' Paradise',  Joshua Rhett Miller observes that “One minute you're chatting via webcam with a mom of two from Montauk, N.Y. -- and the next you're staring at a stark-naked man in Bangkok.”  The site demands that you swear to be 16 years of age or older before it will let you log on.  However, there is no safeguard to ensure that those who attest to being over 16 are actually over 16.  

            The legal issues are very complex because we’re dealing with international cyberlaw, extradition, who is breaking what laws in which countries.

            Maureen Rogers, blogging in Pink Slip, says that “It sounds like the perfect milieu for snuff [films], kiddie porn, suicide, animal torture... Which means that, as a business, it would need to be monitored and run by someone other than a 17 year old kid. And that someone should have deep pockets, because it's hard to believe that there won't be lawsuits popping up at some point.

A Movie About Chatroulette 

            A fellow by the name of Casey Neistat posted A Movie About Chatroulette on the clever site Rubbishcorp.  The movie is well worth watching.

            Meanwhile, prudence dictates that parents monitor what their kids are doing on the Internet because there are undoubtedly going to be some shockers emanating from the servers of Chatroulette.

            Chatroulette will ultimately be the focus of some sort of litigation – stay tuned!

May 03, 2009

Contempt of Court: Woman Sentenced to 30 Days for Texting in Court

Texting behind bars The unthinkable has finally happened - Susan Henwood appeared in court for a debtor's hearing in an effort to ask the judge to continue the hearing because her husband was sick and could not attend and she was sentenced for 30 days in jail for texting him the updates of the hearing!!! According to an article in the Journal of the American Bar Association

Susan Henwood, a mother of four, started serving the sentence in the Tooele County Jail on Monday, according to KSL.com. Henwood’s husband, Joshua Henwood, told KSL that his wife went to court to ask for a continuance in his case because he was sick and couldn’t attend. He also asked her to keep him updated.

Susan Henwood sent two messages from the courtroom, according to the story. The first read, "It doesn't look good for you." The second said, "They're coming for the Polaris Ranger."

In California, in order to be jailed for contempt of court the following elements must be met: (1) the making of a valid court order, (2) knowledge of the order by respondent, (3) ability of the respondent to render compliance, and (4) willful disobedience of the order. Warner v. Superior Court (1954) 126 Cal. App. 2d 821, 824.

I would imagine that the rules in Utah are similar and, if so, did Ms. Henwood's act of texting her husband as described above satisfy these elements?  I think not.  To start, there is nothing indicating that a valid order existed which means that elements 2-4 would be moot.

The judge let Ms. Henwood out of jail after only a few days ostensibly because she's a mother and her kids needed her, not because his ruling was wrong.  Well, you be the judge.

As you know, I continually rail against texting while driving - that's a danger to the driver and everyone on the road.  But texting in court?  Do we leave our First Amendment Rights at the courtroom door?

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June 25, 2008

Cell Phone Laws for 2008: What You Need To Know (and more!)

Nocellphone As you know by now, I'm a great proponent of the new California hands-free law which goes into effect on July 1, 2008.  I blogged about it in May: Click Here.  A corollary, of course, are my rants and raves about texting while driving: Click here, here, here and here.

So, I've decided to post (yet again) on this subject and provide several useful links to articles, videos and hands-free equipment vendors below.

Homefeature_driveandphone What to Expect from California's New Hands-Free Law: The Public Policy Institute of California writes the following press release:

Update: 2009 Law Bans Text Messaging while Driving - See Video

As of July 1, 2008, California drivers must use hands-free technology when talking on a mobile phone, and drivers under age 18 may not use a mobile phone at all while driving. This study examines how fatalities changed in states after a hands-free law was enacted, compared to states without a hands-free law. The findings indicate that mobile phone ownership is associated with higher traffic fatality rates in bad weather, on wet roads, and in rush-hour traffic. California’s new law should lead to some 300 fewer traffic fatalities a year. However, to gain the full benefit of the law, California should concentrate its enforcement efforts during adverse driving conditions, and public education about the law ─ and about the distraction and danger of using a mobile phone in the first place ─ should be an important component in implementing the law, which could help change behavior that enforcement alone might not achieve.  Read the entire press release here

Other Useful Links

Video Satire: Still Legal to Eat, Knit or Dress While Driving (L.A. Times: Dan Neill's Hands Free Alternatives)

If there's a fatal car accident, a violator of the hand-held ban could face a felony charge, some experts say: California Cell Phone Law May Be More Costly Than $20 (L.A. Times Article)

Hands Free Phones in California Will Save Lives (Public Policy Institute of California: By Jed Kolko, research fellow, Public Policy Institute of California)

Frequently Asked Questions About the New Hands-Free Cell Phone Laws (L.A. Can't Drive)

Guide to Handling Traffic Tickets by Mike Klijian, Esq.

Video: The Future orf Hands Free Devices (Youtube)

Video: Hands Free Cell Phone Spoof (Ameriquest)

Purchase Hands-Free Items Below

Hands Free Cell Phone Kits (Pricegrabber.com)

Hands Free Cell Phone Headsets (Pricegrabber.com)


The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger at          (323) 852-1100       

or via e-mail at [email protected]

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"


April 20, 2008

Gas Saving Tips: Video, Links, More

Gas_prices_512_512 It's no secret that gas prices are climbing up, up and away!  So I've done a little research and have found some links and a video with gas saving tips -- the most common sense tip, of course, is slow down!  Yahoo! published a report from Kiplinger which lists 5 gas saving tips:

  • Find the Lowest Gas Prices by searching GasBuddy.com or GasPriceWatch.com by zip code or city and state to get the lowest prices in your area.
  • Target the Best Time of Day to Buy Gas: The best time of day to fill up your tank is before dawn or late at night, when the sun and traffic volume are both down. Stations usually will raise prices during the day, especially for rush hour.
  • Improve Your Car's Gas Mileage: High speeds, quick starts, and squealing stops burn more gas and money. In his own test, Toews found that he could save 15% by driving 62 mph on the open highway rather than 75 mph. Using cruise control can save you even more. Smoother rides, with less pedal pushing, can save up to 37% in fuel economy, according to Edmunds.com. And don't let your car idle because idling uses up a ton of gas!
  • Keep Your Car in Healthy Shape: Toews says that proper maintenance of air filters, spark plugs, and fluid levels is best for your car and wallet.  And maintain proper tire pressure.
  • Get A Gas Rewards Card: Carrying the right credit card can earn you rebates on gas purchases. One of the most popular rewards cards found using our credit card tool is the Citi Dividend Platinum Select MasterCard. Swiping this card at your gas station earns you 5% cash back, as well as 1% on all other purchases.

Click here to read the entire Kiplinger article on Yahoo!

Here are some links to help you save gas:

Fuel Saving Zone (.com) - Tips, tips and more tips (61 to be exact)

U.S. Department of Energy provides useful information to find and compare cars, gasoline mileage tips, hybrids, diesels and other alternatives and vehicle purchases with tax incentives.

10 Fuel Saving Tips from Gas Buddy in addition to what we've already mentioned, use a/c sparingly, keep windows closed, use cruise control and avoid heavy loads.

The Federal Trade Commission has a fun, interactive website which details how to save gas by paying attention to different parts of your car such as the driver's seat, steering wheel, gas tank, tires, under the hood and the trunk.

Finally, here's a video from www.fuelsavingzone.com describing 7 (of 61) ways to save gas

The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger at (323) 852-1100

or via e-mail at [email protected]

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"


April 10, 2008

Roof Top Electrocutes Worker by Charles Samo, Safety Engineer



by Charles Samo, Safety Engineer


Thank you to safety engineer/expert Charles Samo for contributing this fascinating and informative article.  Mr. Samo has been an expert witness in a multitude of litigation matters and can be reached at [email protected].


Have you ever wondered why birds resting on high and bare electric conductors do not get electrocuted? It is because the birds are not grounded or rather in contact with the ground.  This is an interesting phenomenon. Whenever a person comes in contact with an overhead power line, if not in contact with ground, he or she is perfectly safe but as soon as a part of the body touches an object in touch with ground, chances of survival are slim. Clearly before the invention of electricity this type of harm or hazard was nonexistent. I am reminded of an old Chinese proverb which when loosely translated, “may you live in interesting times.”


Interesting times can include exposure to unforeseeable hazards. In one case a man went to work on a roof of a commercial building. He worked for a construction roofing company. He props his metal ladder up against the concrete wall of the building, buckles his tool belt, throwing on his baseball cap but unfortunately leaving his hard hat behind.  He climbed up the ladder onto the old roof, stepped up to the edge of the roof, pulled his metal measuring tape, leaned forward, bent down and began to take roof measurements.  Upon committing the measurements to memory, he rose and leaned back.  Whether he was busy calculating his measurements or just not thinking we will never know, his head came in contact with a high voltage power line conductor, spanning above the roof, electrocuting himself and threw him off the roof.

The lights flickered in the building manager’s office and followed with a momentary black-out.  The building manager went outside to investigate and saw the man on the ground sizzling, his ball cap laid next to him with a hole burnt in the center.


The local city fire department’s paramedics arrived within a few minutes and attempted to revive the barely breathing man, but were unsuccessful.  An extensive investigation was launched to determine the cause of the fatality related to this unfortunate accident. The investigation was undertaken by Electric Public Utility Company operating this particular power line, property insurance organization including U.S Occupational and Health Administration (OSHA) of the Department of Labor. Come to find that the building was constructed first and the power line went up shortly after the building was constructed. The power line poles were placed too close to the building.


Electric safety standards provide safe working guidelines to prevent such accidents. Nearly 100 years prior, in 1897, a document related to electric standards was developed as a result of the united efforts of various safety, insurance, electrical, architectural, and allied interests. This document was called The National Electric Code, or NEC.  It is sponsored by the National Fire Protection Agency, NFPA. At the time of the accident the NEC had specific safety procedures in place to prevent accidental contacts with overhead high-voltage lines.


There were a number of factors which contributed to the death of the worker.  The electric utility company had failed to meet the minimum clearance standards and safety for high-voltage overhead power-lines as required by the NEC. The line spanned too low over the roof and created a significant hazard. NEC required a minimum vertical clearance of 8-feet above the rooftops and a minimum horizontal clearance of 3-feet from the edge of the roofs. Clearly at the time of power line construction these standards were not followed.


As the owner and operator of the electric conductor, the electric utility company is primarily responsible for the death of the worker. The electric company failed to inspect and maintain the line clear from the building as required by its own standards and NEC requirements.

The employer of the deceased failed to provide and maintain a safe working area for his employee who normally worked on rooftops or likely to work near or adjacent to high voltage overhead lines. 

The worker did not take adequate precaution for his own safety while working dangerously close to the high-voltage power line. The deceased had been in construction and roofing business for many years. Either he knew or should have known the hazard presented by overhead electrical wires when working on buildings’ roofs adjacent to overhead lines. Sadly, he was responsible for his unfortunate accident.


The worker failed to follow a simple Federal OSHA’s safety construction industry rule known as a 10-foot Safety Rule. This rule is intended to keep workers away when working near overhead power lines. The rule prohibits workers and equipment from getting closer than 10 feet (radial) to overhead electric conductors.


In our world there are many environmental and occupational hazards that we all face every day. This case is not rare. Very few things in life to which we are exposed are “zero risks”. But like the automobile, and X-rays, there are non-harmful ways to use potentially harmful electricity transported by overhead bare conductors. Applicable industry safety standard practices must be adhered to. If we all follow safety rules provided, it would help to ensure us all live long and ….interesting lives!


E-Mail: [email protected]

C. Samo/M. Quecke


The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger at (323) 852-1100

or via e-mail at [email protected]

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"


March 29, 2008

Texting While Driving: Graphic Horror Photos

Please view the photo album with caution.Binder1_page_1_3  The photos in this posting are not for the faint-at-heart.  For that reason, I am posting only one picture here and you'll have to click here to see the rest.  Please show these pictures to your kids and tell them in simple, emphatic words, don't text while driving.  Texting while driving could lead to death, or worse.


Update: 2009 Law Bans Text Messaging while Driving - See Video

The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims


Update 2011 -Texting While Driving Kills





If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation


Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger at (323) 852-1100








or via e-mail at [email protected]















"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"




March 22, 2008

Creative and Amazing Gas Saving Solutions

With gas prices hitting over $4.00 per gallon in some spots around the U.S., we're all searching for ways to save money on that which fuels our country: Fuel!!!

Save_gas ABC News did an interesting story -- click here to watch video --on alternative means to power your car.  Fred Crane invented the Mileage Master which appears to significantly increase gas mileage.  You flip a switch when you reach a certain speed thereby cutting off gas flow to half of the cylinders.  Crane says that a person getting 20 miles per gallon spending $100 per month could reduce that bill to $35 per month!

Vegetable_oil_diesel Gordon Blau runs his diesel powered vehicle on vegetable oil!  This ABC News Report tells all.  Saving over $3,000 a year, "Blau fills up his tank with leftover grease he gets for free from neighborhood Chinese restaurants. Blau's car runs on diesel. After mixing in the Chinese food grease, he only spends $20 every three weeks at the gas station."  Downside? His garage smells a bit like old Chinese food. Interesting related links:

Wrightspeed_ian Entrepreneur Ian Wright, founder of Wrightspeed, has produced a $150,000 electric car that can hit speeds of up to 170mph and goes 0-60 in 3 seconds!  Watch this informative CBS News Video.


The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger at (323) 852-1100

or via e-mail at [email protected]

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"


March 08, 2008

Texting While Driving: Articles, Videos, Links

Avoidtextingwhiledriving Last September I posted a blog piece which focused heavily on texting while driving.  The situation continues to escalate.  Living and driving in Los Angeles really brings to light the flagrant disregard that so many drivers have for their fellow motorists, not to mention pedestrians and bicyclists, whom they do not see when their focus is on texting or dialing on their cell phone.  I truly believe that talking on the phone is not so much a distraction as the focus that it requires to text and/or dial while driving. 

Update: 2009 Law Bans Text Messaging while Driving - See Video

The Texas Law Firm of Perlmutter & Schuelke has posted several important links related to text-messaging on their blog.  At the risk of duplicating their efforts, I have found several important links as well.

AOL Autos: Texting While Driving talks about the common sense problem of texting while driving.  The article begins:

Sitting at the wheel in traffic, you hear the familiar beep of a text-message alert. Maybe your boss wants the latest numbers from today's sales meeting, or a friend wants to set up a place to meet for drinks. Traffic is backed up and you know it would take less than a minute to type a response with your thumbs, so you do. There is little risk here, or so you think. And then it happens ... the person in front of you stops more quickly than you expected and you crash into them. Through the claims process your insurance company starts checking your cell-phone communications in the run-up to the accident. Now you've just lost a claim and a heck of a lot of money, all because that text was oh-so important.  Click here to read the rest of the article.

The Columbus Dispatch published an article in July 2007 Many Teens Admit Texting While Driving by Bryan Wroten.  That article reports that a recent survey by the AAA and Seventeen Magazine revealed that 46% of teenagers ages 16-17 interviewed nationwide admitted to texting while driving!!!

New Jersey ABC Affiliate Channel 6 posted a March 1, 2008 story and video by Nora Muchanic entitled New Jersey Gets Tough on Cell Phones While Driving.  Fascinating and worth watching.

Watch the videos below.  I implore you to educate your kids: There is no message worth sending or receiving that justifies the deadly consequences of texting while driving.

The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger at (323) 852-1100

or via e-mail at [email protected]

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"



March 07, 2008

Japanese Digital Cameras That Can Identify Age and Gender

Japanese_security_camera Well, 1984 has come, gone and returned!  Reuters is reporting that the Japanese have invented a digital camera that can identify the gender and age of its subject!  Once in production, this camera will make it easier for police to identify criminal suspects.  Click here to watch the full report.  The camera, which debuted at the Tokyo Securities Show, has a margin of error of plus or minus 10 years.  Apparently, the inventors have uploaded over 1 million mug shots to their database.  The camera's software will be able to take the image and match it with those mug shots, thereby helping the police in their search for the proper suspect.

While in place as a surveillance camera in retail stores, it can also be used to determine customer demographics by identifying the age and gender of their customers as they browse and make their purchases.

Currently, the only images in their database are those of Asian people, limiting the current usage to Asian subjects.

To me, the implications are both exciting and scary.


The Law Office of Lowell Steiger Represents Injured Victims

If you have suffered a Personal Injury, Call for a Free Consultation

Contact Attorney Lowell Steiger at (323) 852-1100

or via e-mail at [email protected]

"Treated With the Respect That You Deserve"


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