Sotomayor first Hispanic and third woman on the Supreme Court

Profile America — Monday, October 5th. As National Hispanic Heritage Month continues, today marks the first day of the current Supreme Court session. As the justices file in, their ranks will include Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, confirmed by the Senate in August. Her official investiture ceremony was held last month. She already has participated in one case left over from the previous session. Sotomayor is the 111th justice to sit on the nation’s highest court. She is the first Hispanic and the third woman on the Supreme Court. Across the U.S., there are just over 1 million lawyers, nearly one-third of them women and just over 4 percent Hispanic.

You can find these and more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at

Sources: Chase’s Calendar of Events 2009, p. 495

Statistical Abstract of the United States 2009, t. 596

Profile America is produced by the Public Information Office of the U.S. Census Bureau. These daily features are available as produced segments, ready to air, on a monthly CD or on the Internet at (look under the “Newsroom” button).

SOURCE U.S. Census Bureau

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Georgia Law Enforcement Restrictions on Vehicle Searches

The public is rightfully grateful for strict enforcement of traffic and safety laws, but sometimes cops in Georgia go too far in searching the vehicles they stop.

June 21, 2009 /Hispanic PR News/ — Georgia Law Enforcement: Constitutional Restrictions on Vehicle Searches

Georgia is a beautiful place for a road trip. From piney forests to coastal islands and from rural farms to urban Atlanta, millions of vehicles traverse the state clocking billions of trip miles every year. In this time of a depressed economy and the resulting pressure on public funding, the Georgia State Patrol (GSP), sheriffs and local police departments have their hands full keeping everyone safe. The public is rightfully grateful for strict enforcement of traffic and safety laws, but sometimes cops in Georgia go too far in searching the vehicles they stop.

Vehicle Privacy Rights

The United States Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protects people from unreasonable searches and seizures unless the authorities obtain valid judicial warrants based on probable cause. Federal and Georgia courts recognize that the constitutional right to privacy extends to your vehicle, although the privacy protection in your car is weaker than the right to privacy in your home.

Because cars are mobile and could drive away with important criminal evidence, and because they are highly regulated by the government, courts have held that in certain carefully defined circumstances police are not required to obtain warrants before searching motor vehicles. However, in Georgia police officers have abused these limited exceptions in order to conduct illegal searches of vehicles.

Search Incident to Arrest

The Supreme Court recognizes an exception to the warrant requirement in a search incident to a proper arrest. Basically the search-incident-to-arrest exception as articulated in Chimel v. California allows an officer to search the space within reach of the arrestee — the area within his or her immediate control — for either of two important reasons:

• To prevent the suspect from obtaining a weapon that could harm the arresting officer
• To prevent the arrestee from destroying or concealing evidence

In the 1981 case of New York v. Belton, the Supreme Court analyzed the search-incident-to-arrest exception to the warrant requirement when the person arrested is a driver or passenger of a motor vehicle. The Court looked at whether the lawful search in this circumstance extends to the passenger compartment of the car. The Court reasoned that because things –weapons or evidence — in the passenger compartment could be grabbed by an arrestee and removed from the car, an officer making such an arrest could legally search the inside of the car, including the interior of a container found in the vehicle, without a warrant.

Arizona v. Gant

In April 2009, the US Supreme Court in Arizona v. Gant looked squarely at the Belton rule again, narrowing its reach and giving specific guidance to police about warrantless passenger compartment searches incident to arrest. Gant revisited the Chimel reasoning that an arresting officer could search the area within the immediate control of the arrestee to ensure that he or she could not reach a weapon or interfere with important evidence.

In Gant, the arrested person had been detained for driving with a suspended license, and was safely handcuffed and locked in the back of the squad car while the police searched his automobile without a warrant, finding an illegal drug in a coat in the backseat. Because an arrestee cuffed and locked in another car could not possibly reach into his own passenger compartment, the original reason for the exception to the warrant requirement – the safety of the officer and the preservation of evidence – had evaporated. The court also held that the only legitimate warrantless search in these circumstances is when there is reasonable suspicion of the existence of evidence of the crime for which the person is being arrested.

New Guidance for Police

Gant sends a clear message to Georgia cops and law enforcement across the US: no more “unbridled discretion to rummage at will among a person’s private effects.” If you arrest someone for a traffic offense, you cannot search the car hoping to find drugs or other illegal contraband (unless another exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement exists). You may only reasonably look for evidence related to the traffic offense for which you are arresting the car’s occupant.

The decision also gives pointed guidance to Georgia judges. When a defendant has been arrested on a traffic stop, did the cops search the car even after the defendant was removed from physical proximity to the car and could no longer have reached inside the passenger compartment? Was it reasonable for the police to believe the inside of the car could have contained evidence of that traffic offense?

Protect Your Rights

If you were stopped by Georgia law enforcement for a traffic violation and the officer either searched your car after cuffing and removing you from reach of the passenger compartment, or searched the inside of the automobile when there was no reasonable chance of evidence relevant to the traffic violation, that search may have been an unconstitutional violation of your Fourth Amendment rights as interpreted in Gant. Any evidence seized illegally should not be used against you at trial for a drug charge or any other criminal charge.

Be sure to consult with a knowledgeable Georgia criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you believe you were the victim of an illegal vehicle search. To protect your rights and your liberty, time may be of the essence.
Source: Ross & Pines, LLC

Legal Marketing Site Targets US Hispanics in Spanish

English-Only Legal Marketing Sites Fail to Reach a Growing Segment of US Population in Spanish. Article marketing on legal topics in a target market’s own language, such as Spanish for Hispanics, provides an unrivaled opportunity to increase a legal firm’s online exposure and web traffic.

Miami, FL, June 28, 2009 –(– A new website seeks to tap directly into the US Hispanic market for legal services by offering an outlet to market legal services in Spanish. TusDerechosLegales.Com targets Hispanics by delivering general information online exclusively in Spanish through short articles on a legal topic.

US-Based Web Site Targets Legal Marketing at US Hispanics in Their Native Language

US-Based Web Site Targets Legal Marketing at US Hispanics in Their Native Language

Some legal topics, such as immigration and divorce, naturally provide an opportunity for lawyers to extend their marketing reach in Spanish. Short articles in their native language allow Hispanics in the US to find relevant information quickly and in an understandable format that online translators do not provide. This, in turn, leads to an easier process in locating attorneys who can provide the services needed.

Marketing legal services in Spanish is an example of niche marketing. Because the internet lends itself to this type of marketing, TusDerechosLegales.Com expects to gain significant traffic throughout the US within a reasonable time by catering only to legal marketing in the Spanish language. The site uses an article directory format with over twenty-five legal categories, including not only the two already mentioned but also real estate (including foreclosure), wills, probate, personal injury, etc.

As attorneys learn to make the most of their online presence, and learn to use marketing strategies that take advantage of their online presence, a marketing niche such as legal articles in Spanish provides a no-cost avenue to increase their web traffic. TusDerechosLegales.Com is actively seeking attorneys to write short articles on various topics with which attorneys can include their contact and website information. For attorneys who cannot write in Spanish, the site provides an additional service of translating their first five articles on a first-come, first-served basis for key categories, and will be expand its offerings to low-cost translation services of articles. Article submission is free to the attorneys as is, of course, access to the articles.

Additionally, TusDerechosLegales.Com also makes use of other online tools, such as RSS feeds for the articles. In addition, legal professionals who are using Twittr can take advantage of another marketing opportunity by announcing their latest article submissions in a “twitt.”