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Don’t Trust Stormtroopers to Uphold Civil Rights

The First Order on Star Wars Resistance stationed a detachment of Stormtroopers on the Colossus to protect against pirates in the episode “The First Order Occupation.” As with any invading force with ulterior motives, the First Order started conducting law enforcement activities. One can imagine how Stormtroopers are naturally guardians of Civil Rights.

Three Stormtroopers stopped a Rodian named Glem and demanded to see his identification near the beginning of the episode. The stop of the Rodian was a civil rights violation, because there was no reason to justify a “police” stop. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. Law enforcement (in the United States) must have a “reasonable suspicion” based on specific facts that warrant a stop. This is a lower standard than probable cause, but it cannot be a “hunch” to stop someone. United States v. Hodgkin, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 199936, at *7-8 (D. Nev. May 24, 2017). Reasonable suspicion is a commonsense standard with the practical considerations of everyday life. Id.

An equally important requirement for a station with denizens from multiple species is that any stops by law enforcement must be done in a racially neutral manner. See, Floyd v. City of New York, 959 F. Supp. 2d 540 (2013); U.S. Const. amend. XIV § 1; Whren v. United States, 517 U.S. 806, 813 (1996).

The First Order had no common sense reason to stop Glem beyond, “You! Show us your identification.” There are no facts the First Order Stormtroopers can identify that support a reason to stop Glem. They made no attempt to even meet the low standard of a “reasonable suspicion” other than to send a message to bow down to the First Order.

The Civil Rights violations continued throughout the episode with Stormtroopers stopping a Frigosian janitor named Opeepit and confiscating his floor buffer. There is no credible argument that a floor buffer is a weapon or a contraband item warranting confiscation. The taking of the floor buffer was an unreasonable seizure and a violation of the janitor’s rights. It’s also just mean.

The worst violation of an individual’s Civil Rights was the arrest of a Gotal named Rolt for loitering past curfew. Loitering is usually a misdemeanor if someone is in a place for an “unreasonable length of time as to give rise in a reasonable observer a belief that the person intends criminal mischief.” Bouvier Law Dictionary. Modern curfew laws usually apply to children. While wartime curfews that apply to an entire population might be valid, courts have held that curfews that restricted the travel of Japanese-Americans during World War II violated their rights. See, Odow v. United States, 51 Fed. Cl. 425 (2001). The language and applicability of the First Order curfew is never explained, but would be highly suspect given the First Order’s track record of Fourth Amendment violations.

Liberty does not die a quick death, but a slow one when people have a blase attitude on Civil Rights in the name of security. Tam Ryvora surprisingly embodied this view, with her nonchalant attitude about the First Order providing “security” on the Colossus. When anyone advocates that a “stop and frisk” policy is needed for “law and order” over freedom, the bulwark against oppression breaks. Where will this all lead in Star Wars Resistance? Probably without lawyers, but I bet there will be a dogfight or two.

Court Blasts “Terran Tempus” Guru Back to Suspension with Time Travel History Lesson, “This Nut Job’s Tryin’ To Kill Us All!” fumes UNA Appellate Judge

Opinion of the Court

COURT OF APPEALS OF THE UNITED NORTH AMERICA

__________

No. 2195.03.15223

__________

ROBERT XIAOTONG XANDO v. UNITED NORTH AMERICA

ON WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS CHALLENGING LIFE SUSPENSION

[March 15, 2195]

Judge Amukamara-Ping delivered the opinion of the Court.

         We revisit the irreconcilable tension in the space-time continuum between Time Transitioners and the continuity of our universe.  On January 15, 2194, Robert Xiaotong Xando was arrested by officers of the Time and Transportation Security Administration (“TTSA”) at the Time Transition Facility (“TTF”) in New Phoenix, Arizona.  Following a bench trial, Xando was convicted of attempting to enter a foreign object into the space-time continuum in violation of the Time Travel Act (“TTA”), 18 U.S.N.C. § 2815 and 40 C.F.R. § 890.103.  Xando contends the lower court does not have jurisdiction over the action, or alternatively, erred by failing to properly consider his defenses.  For the following reasons, we affirm Xando’s conviction.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Robert Xando is a time transition (old English: time travel) enthusiast from New Laredo, UNA.  Since the TTA was amended to permit one annual time transition event per qualifying citizen in 2176, see 18 U.S.N.C. § 2814(b), Xando has elected and paid for the opportunity every year.  During each of these prior 18 events, Xando’s fully complied with all statutory and regulatory requirements for Travelers. See 40 C.F.R. § 890.010 et seq.  Xando commonly wrote about these experiences, detailing the procedural process of transitioning time periods on his public cloud, TransitionTalk.RX.

         On February 21, 2193, Xando paid and provided certifications for his annual time transition event.  As part of complying with 40 C.F.R. § 890.230’s requirements, Xando geno-certified that he “would not bring, or attempt to bring, a foreign object . . . into the [TTF].”  Despite this certification, TTSA Agents conducting routine electromagnetic radiation sweeps observed a suspect object on Xando’s person as he entered the New Tucson TTF on January 15, 2194.  Upon secondary search, a small card (the “note”) was discovered concealed within the lining of his transition suit.

         Xando was subsequently taken into custody and charged with attempting to enter a foreign object into the space-time continuum in violation of the Time Travel Act (“TTA”), 18 U.S.N.C. § 2815 and 40 C.F.R. § 890.103.  Xando was ultimately convicted and sentenced to permanent life suspension. 18 U.S.N.C. § 2815(e)(3).  Pending his commitment to the Life Suspension Facility at Toronto, see Goldsmith v. United North America, 2095.11.16421 (CA-UNA), he now appeals that conviction.  We review all claims de novo.  C.Crim.Pr. 123.57.

II. DISCUSSION

1. This Court’s Temporal and Corpus Jurisdiction

         Xando first challenges, as he did in the lower court, our temporal and corpus jurisdiction to hold or hear charges against him based on the fact that (1) he is from a future time period and knows the current universe remains unchanged, and (2) that he is not a citizen of the United Northern America (“UNA”), but “Relinquished that Citizenship in Favour of His Majesty’s Service in a Colony of the Balkan Federation of 2142.”

         As stated by the lower court, the answer to those challenges are firmly established in our jurisprudence.  First, “[t]hat we are here to hear this case is evidence alone that the universe remains unchanged; however, it does not diminish this Court’s ability to weigh the evidence or apply the law against [the defendant].”  United North America v. McKay, 2163.11.09342 (CC-UNA) (denying defendant’s claims that he is from a later time period and thus cannot be subject to the Court’s temporal jurisdiction).  Last, Xando’s visa and pre-Transition certification both explicitly stated that he “was submitting and subjecting [himself] to the jurisdiction, authority, and temporal control of the [UNA] upon entry of the [TTF].”  See 18 U.S.N.C. § 2802(a).  We therefore affirm the lower court’s ruling that it has jurisdiction over Xando en toto.

         But because this Court is of the belief that Xando is an adherent of the Terran Tempus Autonomus psuedolaw movement—whose adherents resemble the Sovereign Citizens and Freemen of the Land of the 20th Century—we provide a longer response to Xando’s allegations that “No TERRAN Can Be Judged For ACTS that Do Not EFFECT [sic] or ALTER tempus corpus.”  

         Following the discovery of the rifts in Old Khartoum, New African Union (“NAU”) (“TEAR-1”) and New Phoenix, UNA (“TEAR-2”), the early 22nd Century power struggles in Africa, the Chinese Collective States, and central America resulted in the populist-driven New United League of Unions (“NULU”).  The newly formed UNA and NAU adopted resolutions approving NULU’s Civil and Criminal Codes.  Among those were Time Transition Criminal Act, passed by unanimous vote in NULU General Assembly in 2162, stating:

Acknowledging the unruly yet delicate string holding the entire Universe at her mercy, these Unions hereby commit to Sincere and Unyielding Control of the [rift sites]; whereby current temporal and spatial dimensions shall be maintained consistent with Article I;

***

and any Person(s) caught within the [physical jurisdiction] of a Union’s [rift site] shall be subject to their full jurisdiction, authority, corporal and temporal punitive discretion, without exception or appeals.

NULU Charter, Art. IV, § 200.1.  See also 18 U.S.N.C. § 2802 (enacted 2162).  Because Xando was taken into custody as he entered a UNA TTF in 2194, any claims relating to lack of jurisdiction are forfeit.  Morley v. United North America, 2164.01.22341 (CA-UNA).

2. Time Travel Act, 18 U.S.N.C. § 2800 et seq.

         Following enactment of the TTA, which later established and directed enforcement authority of time transitions to the TTSA, a regulatory scheme was put in place to ensure that “joint Union scientific ventures may retain access for stabilization and exploration.”  § 2800(a). By 2170, NULU’s General Assembly restricted all transitions to “observatory,” as later defined by 40 C.F.R. 810.020, and integrated a scheme for public access to Union citizens.  Consistent with NULU Charter, Art. III, any qualifying Union citizen would be permitted access to one time transition event in their lifetime.  § 2810.  By 2176, however, a qualifying citizen was eligible for one TTE per year, see § 2847(b)(2)(iii), and a recent 2195 NULU Investigative Committee Report found that some black markets offer circumvention of security measures that allow up to three TTEs pre calendar year, see NIC-UNDOJ Report 2192.12.12998.

         In the entire history of legislation of time transition, from the 2162 NULU Charter through the most recent revisions to the USNC, the following has been absolutely prohibited:

To Attempt or Complete, the act of Entering Oneself, Extension, or a [foreign] Object into the [Space-time Continuum].

See NULU Charter, Art. IV, § 280; § 2815 (adopting Charter).  Since the earliest written record of the common law, sovereigns have criminalized attempting an act and punishing that attempt as if it were completed.  See I. de S. and Wife v. W. de S, At the Assizes, coram Thorpe, C.J. (1348).  As part of TTSA’s regulations, 40 C.F.R. § 890.230 explains that “‘foreign objects’ are any object, not organic[] to one’s own self, that are not approved by the [TTSA Controlling Authority].”

          And the U.N.A Constitutional Court has determined that “entering, or attempting to enter, can include such acts as placing, … displaying, concealing,” and is “no more connected to intent than the butterfly that flaps its wings” for constitutional purposes.  Krisotnis-Xi v. United North America, 2162.05.05429 (CC-UNA). As a result, we have validated the practice of pre-TTF arrival arrests when individuals are carrying “foreign objects” containing harmful material that “merely cross the threshold of planning.” Gonzalez-Rodriguez v. United North America, 2162.12.24771 (CA-UNA) (citing Krisotnis-Xi).

         Here, Xando was arrested walking into the New Tucson TTF at 21:42 on January 25, 2194, with a note concealed on his person. Subsequently, the government charged him under 18 U.S.N.C. § 2815 and 40 C.F.R. § 890.103, certifying that “the note, …, is consistent with and included within the [TTA’s] definition of “foreign object.” See Xando Indictment (2194.01.26085). Challenging the government’s indictment on appeal, Xando claims that his charging document failed to specify what made the note a prohibited “foreign object.” Furthermore, he contends the lower court erred because he presented evidence at trial that (1) “[he] failed to enter the [TTF Protected Area] or actually Place an Object into the [time space continuum],” and (2) he “is a ScienceMAN of NOTABLE repute, … and can Certify the Note’s INERT Nature,” by failing to credit his “extensive TIME TRAVEL Knoledge [sic].”

         While the contents of the note remain under seal, in camera review revealed the UNA Government has “met its burden to show that a ‘plausible’ opportunity existed to irreparably alter the universe.” Krisotnis-Xi, 2162.05.05202. The Court also affirms the lower court’s finding that Xando has no formal Transition training or certification. From the record, it appears his knowledge concerning the delicate balance of the space-time continuum was wholly gleamed from 20th Century science fiction and his personal experience transitioning within the Government’s confined terms and boundaries for public access. Accordingly, he has not met his burden of “proving through scientific methods and to a greater degree of certainty [the invulnerability of space-time] than those time transition forefathers whose admonitions formed the basis for NULU Charter, Art. I.”  Gonzalez-Rodriguez, 2162.12.24560 (detailing inherent and untenable risk of irrevocable harm to our universe in the event of a breach in the time-space).

III. Conclusion

         Although the U.N.A. Government (by adoption of the NULU’s Charter) may permit and encourage its citizens to make use of its TTFs, thereby allowing the public to view (from afar) our world’s greatest historical moments from Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel to the building of the Great Pyramids, that privilege is not without harsh and unyielding requirements.  We do not affirm Xando’s sentence and commit him to complete life suspension lightly; however, we quote the words of our first NULU Secretary General Manuel O’Kelly XI:  “Our world shall never again know the peace of an undisturbed or unthreatened history or future.  Because we cannot ever allow that which would change and possibly destroy this universe, we treat those who would attempt to do so as treasonous enemies of everything we now hold dear.”

AFFIRMED.

Star Trek Extravaganza

We kicked off 2019 with two Star Trek webinars on the Trials of Star Trek and Star Trek Elimination of Bias. Sorry, CLE credit is not available for the recordings.

Recorded on January 28, 2019. Every generation of Star Trek had at least one trial episode that explored the ethical duties of attorneys. The stories Judgment in Enterprise and Rules of Engagement in Deep Space Nine, all are out of this world example of trial advocacy, the duty of loyalty, competency, and the special duties of prosecutors.

Recorded on January 29, 2019. Star Trek has shown a future with Equal Protection under the law. We will boldly go across each series exploring discrimination and bias issues that include women and the practice of law, gender identity, slavery, refugees, religion, and race. Laws discussed will include the US Constitution, 13th Amendment, 14th Amendment, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

 

 






















Can the First Order Be Charged with Piracy for the Kidnapping of Torra Doza?

The First Order in the Star Wars Resistance episode “The Doza Dilemma,” hired interstellar pirates to kidnap Torra Doza. Could the First Order and pirates be charged with conspiracy to commit piracy and piracy?

Looking to international and United States law for guidance, the answer unquestionably is YES. US law states:

“Whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life.”

18 U.S.C.S. § 1651.

The “high seas” are defined as “open waters of sea or ocean, as distinguished from ports and havens and waters within narrow headlands on coast.” United States v Rodgers 150 US 249 (1893).

Looking to international law, the Convention of the High Seas states that piracy includes, “Any illegal acts of violence, detention or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed.” 1958 U.S.T. LEXIS 31, Article 15, section 1.

The Colossus is an operational refueling station on the ocean planet Castilon. The Colossus is either adrift or holding station in open waters, far out of sight from any ports or harbors. The location of the Colossus meets the statutory requirements of being on the “high seas” given the nature of Castilon being an ocean planet.

The pirates Valik and Drell were smuggled aboard the Colossus in a shipping container. They were released from the container and gained access to the Aces’ Tower with the assistance of Synara San in order to kidnap Torra Doza. International law recognized piracy as “any illegal acts of violence.” Kidnapping is an act of violence that is recognized as one form of piracy, along with being held hostage, tortured, or murdered. See, United States v. Said, 798 F.3d 182, 199-200 (4th Cir. 2015).

Valik and Drell forcibly took Torra Doza from her quarters. Doza was then transported by over the Castilon Ocean in a small vessel to the pirates’ mother ship. These actions would constitute an act of violence on the high seas. As such, all of the elements of piracy are met in the kidnapping of Torra Doza.

The First Order cannot escape liability by claiming their retention of the pirates never placed them on the high seas, because the prohibition against piracy on the high seas has universal jurisdiction. Those who stay ashore who are part of a conspiracy cannot escape liability for the actions of co-conspirators on the high seas. See, United States v. Ali, 718 F.3d 929, 937 (D.C. Cir. 2013).

The issue of the First Order double-crossing the pirates does not absolve the First Order of being an active participant in the conspiracy to kidnap Torra Doza. It is merely a lesson that there is no honor among thieves.






















Engineering Emergency Medical Treatments

Star Trek Discovery season 2 opened with Brother, which captured the essential qualities of Star Trek. The episode is about a phenomenon that could be a massive threat that brought Captain Christopher Pike onboard the USS Discovery.

Our heroes discovered the USS Hiawatha, a medical frigate that had crashed on an unstable asteroid where the crew expected to find the red anomaly of unknown origin. The Hiawatha was lost ten months earlier during the Klingon War. The Away Team found the heavily damaged hull and met Commander Jett Reno. Reno was the engineering officer who had kept injured crew alive with “alternative” medicine based on her engineering skills and crash course in medical texts. For example, one crewmember she nicknamed Valentine needed a heart transplant, so she used the heart of a dead Bolian in jar with a pump system to keep the patient alive.

Did Commander Reno get consent from the patients for her engineering based medical treatments? Are there any defenses for her in the event someone sues for her “ipsumpathy” emergency medical procedures?

Duty to Inform Patient of Possible Consequences of Medical Treatment

Doctors have a duty to inform a patient of possible consequences of a medical procedure and secure informed consent of their patients. This is a defense to a malpractice action. Exceptions for not securing consent include a patient being unconscious; a doctor reasonably believed that a medical procedure should be undertaken immediately and that there was insufficient time to fully inform the patient; and procedure was performed on a person legally incapable of giving consent and there was insufficient time to obtain informed consent for that person. See, Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 2397(a)(1) to (3).

As fast as you can say, “Damn it, Jim, I am a doctor, not an engineer,” you can notice a problem for Commander Reno: she was an engineer, not a doctor.

Medical Treatment After a Vessel Accident 

Commander Reno has a valid defense if any of her medical decisions are questioned under a “Good Samaritan” law for vessels involved in a collision, accident, or other casualty. Vessel operators in an accident have a duty to render aid to persons affected by the accident that is practicable and necessary to save them from the accident, provided they could do so without serious injury to their own vessel. Cal. Harb. & Nav. Code § 656(a).

Anyone who in good faith renders assistance at the scene of a vessel accident without objection by any person assisted, shall not be held liable for any civil damages sought for any medical treatment, provided the assisting person acted as a “an ordinary, reasonably prudent person would have acted under the same or similar circumstances.” Cal. Harb. & Nav. Code § 656(b).

Commander Reno was likely the third or fourth person in command of the USS Hiawatha. It is highly likely the Captain and First Officer were killed in the attack that crippled the vessel; the commanding officer does not normally abandon ship while anyone is left aboard. It is highly likely Reno was in command due to death or injury of the bridge officers. Reno bravely stayed with the “sinking” ship, because the remaining injured could not be evacuated to escape pods.

Reno could argue she reasonably believed she had a duty to save the injured officers after the crash as the officer in charge of the vessel. The injured officers had varying life threatening injuries that would have resulted in death if not treated. As in the case of Valentine, the officer who needed a heart transplant, he would have died but for Reno piggybacking his heart to a Bolian heart. Reno went beyond what a reasonably prudent person would do, to what an exceptionally brilliant person would do in order to save life. While Reno lacked a medical degree, she clearly was resourceful and should avoid any liability if she did not seek consent before her unorthodox emergency medical treatments.

The better question is what awards to nominate Reno for her gallant conduct in saving the lives of others. That is one of the defining characteristics of Star Trek and it is great to see it again each week.






















What’s Neeku’s Liability for Bibo?

Star Wars Resistance honored Kaiju films such as Gorgo and Gappa: The Triphibian Monster with the episode Bibo. The story focused on Neeku Vozo adopting a small creature that smelled horrible and ate anything. Neeku named his new pet Bibo.

Bibo’s odor caused Neeku’s coworkers distress. The creature also caused vaudevillian shenanigans on the Colossus. Could Neeku be financially responsible for any damages caused by Bibo?

The first issue is determining whether Bibo is a domestic animal that is not abnormally dangerous or a wild animal. The distinction matters, because if Bibo is a domestic animal, then Neeku would be held to a negligence standard. If a wild animal, the Neeku could be strictly liable for any damages caused by Bibo.

The general rule for domestic animals that are not abnormally dangerous, which includes the owner not knowing the animal to be abnormally dangerous, is the owner is subject to liability for any harms done by the animals if the owner 1) intentionally causes the animal to do harm or 2) is negligent in preventing the harm. See, Restat 2d of Torts, § 518 (2nd 1979).

The standard is different for wild animals, because a “wild animal is presumed to be vicious and since the owner of such animal…is an insurer against the acts of the animal to anyone who is injured…” Baugh v. Beatty, 91 Cal. App. 2d 786, 791, 205 P.2d 671 (1949) (case involving an attack by a chimpanzee).

Bibo was found in the wreckage of a Z-95 Headhunter that was recovered from the Karavian Trench. Given the deep-sea nature of Bibo’s natural habitat, he clearly is a wild animal and not a domestic one. Just a dolphin might be highly intelligent, they are wild animals and not kept as pets.

Bibo is comparable to someone keeping a juvenile marine mammal or bear cub as a pet. Yes, they are cute and adorable, but they can grow-up to be a large and deadly animal. Just like Gorgo. If Neeku had kept Bibo, he could have subjected himself to personal liability for the little guy eating somebody’s ship.

Neeku was encouraged to feed Bibo to the Rokkna attacking the Colossus, when bystanders believed the leviathan fed on Bibo. This raised issues of cruelty to animals, with people willing to sacrifice Bibo for their own safety. It is a felony to maliciously maim or torture a living animal. See, Cal. Penal Code § 597. Feeding a defenseless animal as some sort of blood sacrifice to a giant creature, no matter how smelly, arguably would be the intentional and malicious killing of that animal.

In the true Jedi tradition, Neeku found a peaceable solution to the crisis of Bibo’s mother attacking the Colossus by reuniting parent and child. Let’s just hope no one sues Neeku for Bibo’s mom attacking.






















Bumblebee Better Buckle Up

Bumblebee is a beautiful tribute to everyone who grew up playing with Transformers in the 1980s. The film is set in 1987 in a fictional California town that looked like Santa Cruz located in San Rafael, with heavy homages to pop culture, TV dinners, and the theme song from the animated Transformers movie. However, there are more than a few moving violations in Bumblebee. Put on your seatbelts, because there are spoilers ahead.

Vandalism

Memo talked Charlie into seeking revenge after a mean girl taunted Charlie about the death of her father. The instrumentalities of vengeance were to “TP” and “egg” the mean girl’s house. Bumblebee, who had suffered a traumatic brain injury after being assaulted by the Decepticon Blitzwing, escalated the revenge operation by destroying the mean girl’s car.

Vandalism is the malicious defacing with graffiti, damaging, or destroying, or real or personal property. Cal. Penal Code § 594(a)(1) to (3). Hitting a car with eggs is the intentional damaging of property. Moreover, Bumblebee’s dance moves on the car crushed the vehicle. There is no way around the fact the heroes engaged in a criminal conspiracy to conduct vandalism on a spoiled brat who cruelly mocked the death of Charlie’s father. While the victim most likely lacked a soul, the good guys are not supposed to seek revenge. That is to say nothing about using a mentally diminished Autobot as a henchman. Charlie had recently turned 18 and could be prosecuted as an adult. The issue of recognizing legally Bumblebee as a person aside, there could be a good insanity defense argument due to Bumblebee’s reduced mental capacity.

Reckless Driving

Bumblebee failed to stop for a police officer after escaping from their act of vandalism. Bumblebee engaged the officer in a high-speed chase that included going off the side of a cliff, hanging on the guardrail, and automotive gymnastics in a tunnel. Ideally self-driving cars do not drive like like our favorite VW Autobot. 

It is established law that police officers have a duty to stop a vehicle that they observe on a public street where a violation of the Vehicle Code is evident. See, People v. Evans, 240 Cal. App. 2d 291, 298 (1966). A person who drives a vehicle upon a highway in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property is guilty of reckless driving. Cal. Veh. Code § 23103(a). If Bumblebee qualifies as a person, there are serious issues that he engaged in reckless driving and the police officer had a duty to stop Bumblebee for the Vehicle Code violation. If Bumblebee is not legally a person, then Charlie who was in the driver’s seat, arguably lost control of her vehicle literally and figuratively, and should be held to account. 

California law states that anyone operating a vehicle with the intent to evade a police officer, or willfully attempts to elude a police officer, is guilty of a misdemeanor. The punishment is up to one year in jail. See, Cal. Veh. Code § 2800.1(a). As the police officer in pursuit had 1) one red light visible that Charlie and Bumblebee saw; 2) sounded his siren; 3) the police car was distinctively marked (in 1980s flare); and 4) the police car was operated by a police officer in a distinctive uniform, there is no question that Charlie and Bumblebee could be charged with evading a police officer. There could be additional charges for attempting to elude the police officer with a willful disregard of the safety of others (such as driving off the side of the road). Cal. Veh. Code § 2800.2.

Charlie and Bumblebee had a duty to stop when they saw a police officer was pursuing them for their exhibition of speed. They failed to do so and instead embarked on a high speed chase in violation of the law that has been on the books since the 1970s. These laws are not meant to be a buzz kill (no relation to the Autobot), but to keep people from getting killed. 

Mandatory Seatbelt Laws

California enacted mandatory seatbelt laws in 1985 (see, Cal. Veh. Code 1361 § 1.5, now Cal. Veh. Code § 27315) and was effective on June 1, 1986 after being amended. This law was enacted with the intent to reduce highway deaths and injuries by wearing seatbelts. Current law requires that persons under 16 years of age “shall not” be a passenger in a car on the highway unless restrained by a seatbelt. Cal. Veh. Code § 27315(e). Fines for not wearing a seatbelt are $20 for a first time offense not more than $50 for each additional offense. Cal. Veh. Code § 27315(h).

The Watson family car did NOT have seatbelts in 1987. Moreover, this is a worrisome fact that the family car owned by a NURSE did not have seatbelts installed in order to comply with the law. While not discounting the threat of giant robots trying to eliminate all of humanity, Sally should get seatbelts.

Stored Communications Act

The US Government arguably violated the 4th Amendment and Stored Communications Act (SCA) by allowing the Decepticons Shatter and Dropkick to access data networks and communications.

The SCA was enacted in 1986 and prevents “providers” of communication services from divulging private communications to certain entities and individuals. It “creates a set of Fourth Amendment-like privacy protections by statute, regulating the relationship between government investigators and service providers in possession of users’ private information. Crispin v. Christian Audigier, Inc., 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52832 (C.D. Cal. May 26, 2010). Without taking too deep a dive into the definitions of Remote Computing Service (RCS) and Electronic Communication Service (ECS), these existed in 1987. The fact the government enabled the Decepticons to access both Remote Computing and Electronic Communications Services was a violation of the Stored Communications Act and an unlawful search of everyone in the Western United States.

Bumblebee is a Fun Ride

The 1980s Transformers cartoon was must see TV in my childhood. I fondly recall racing to finish homework in order to watch the show when it came on at 400pm. The Bumblebee movie does a wonderful job capturing everything fun about Transformers and is worth a trip to the theater to see it. 


AbbyShot's Eleventh Doctor's Purple Coat