Thursday, June 27, 2013

What Does The End Of DOMA Mean For US Immigration Law?

Prior to yesterday, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prevented the immigration service (USCIS) from recognizing same-sex marriages for the purposes of immigration.

However, the Supreme Court has struck down DOMA. The decision is momentous and will impact many.

And it already has.

Minutes after the judgement was released, a New York City immigration judged halted the deportation of a Columbia gay man who is legally married to his US partner, but whose green card application had been turned down. And it couldn't have been a better way for Melanie Servetas to celebrate her wedding, which was taking place at the very time the judgement was released. Melanie had been forced to leave her home state of California and turn her back on her successful career for love, but the new decision means she should now be able to sponsor her partner US Visa.

So practically what does the decision actually mean? Well no guarantees can be given at this stage, we still to see how USCIS will interpret the Court's decisions. It is thought however that same sex marriages will be approved with immediate effect. Of course any future immigration decisions are also influenced by other decisions and and in particular on the foreign national spouse’s immigration status and plans.

In the meantime, the celebrations around the US continue!

Related Documents: Thailand Immigration Law
Related Articles: Fed Judge Blocks Georgia Immigration Law                                          Immigration Law in the News: the Long Line for Citizenship, AZ’s Immigration Law  and More                                          Immigration Program Brings in Numerous Document Requests

Flickr photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker

Friday, June 21, 2013

Thailand Extradition Law

In recent years the ability for criminals to disappear in Thailand has become considerably more difficult, with foreign governments and agencies basing law enforcement agents in country and the increasing number of extradition treaties Thailand now holds with other countries - Thailand currently has extradition treaties with 14 countries. Thailand Extradition Law is presently stronger and tougher than it has ever been. 

This video by Chaninat & Leeds law firm discusses extradition cases including the infamous Vicktor Bout case.  

It is also possible to expedite proceedings through The Immigration Act of Thailand. 

Commonly, individuals who are at risk of extradition proceedings are those who have committed a severe crime for which they are liable to imprisonment of at least one year or a crime punishable by death.  However, depending on the provisions provided in each individual extradition treaty that Thailand has signed with a foreign country, other offenses of a smaller scale may also be applicable to extradition to a certain country. 

Watch the video here:

Relevant Documents: Thailand-US Extradition Agreement 

Relevant Articles: Prominent Extradition Cases in Thailand - Snaring Minor Offenders to Big-Time Crooks

                                    First-ever Brit Extradited to Thailand 

                                    Extradition in the News

 Flickr credit: Jacksoncam

Registration And Operations Of NGOs in Thailand

Bangkok has been voted the world’s third most popular location for NGOs. 

This video by Chaninat & Leeds law firm discusses the registration and operation under Thailand NGO Law, particularly in relation to foreign NGOs. This video describes the most straightforward method of how foreign NGOs can register as a foundation. 

The fact Thailand shares it's borders with Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos and the location of the UN in Bangkok itself, make the city the perfect place to home an NGO. 

Thailand NGO Lawyer 

Chaninat and Leeds specializes in NGO cases in Thailand

International NGOs seeking to base themselves in Bangkok can do so without registering as a local entity, but they then often find this can create legal and financial issues during their day to day running.

Instead it is much preferable to set up a Foundation with the Thai Ministry of Interior. A minimum of 3 board members are required, one of whom must be a Thai national and a minimum charitable donation of 200,000 baht is required in the bank. Police clearance is also required for each board member form their home country.

Watch the video here:

Relevant Articles: NGO Regulation in East and South East Asia: A Comparative Perspective
                               NGOs Push Donors on Rights

Can Motorcycle Gangs Be Trade Marked?

The Courthouse News Service reports that in 2008, the US government filed a RICO indictment against some of the Mongols Nation Motorcycle Club's ex-members, in United States v. Cavazos . The case was however argument was rejected by the district court in 2009 when an unindicted member challenged the Cavazos action, in Ramon Rivera v. Ronnie Carter

The Mongols Nation Motorcycle Club, Inc., was then dissolved and the club was re-started  as the MNMC. The Mongols say the government has issued RICO forfeiture proceedings despite the Rivera ruling.

Thailand Criminal Lawyer: 

Chaninat and Leeds specializes in international criminal cases in Thailand

The Mongols are counter suing, arguing the government cannot seize its trademarks, because RICO law only permits such seizures against individuals. They state they are not a criminal organization and as such are not  responsible for a few of its members' actions.

The Mongols are seeking a  judgment that "the marks are not subject to RICO forfeiture," and that their only lawful owner is the club itself.

Thailand Trademark Lawyer 

Chaninat and Leeds specialize in trademark cases in Thailand

Motorcycles are of course a popular part of Thai culture, for example the jesters.  However we do not know whether Thai motorcycle clubs have trademarked their brand.  In general they would need to either form a Thai juristic person or have an single individual register on their behalf.

Read the full article here 
Related Documents: Thailand Trademark Law

Flickr photo credit: Bastiaan Steinmeier

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Muay Thai Legends Lodges Defamation Charges

Muay Thai legend Buakao Porpramuk lodged criminal defamation charges on Wednesday against Nopparat Poottharatanamanee, the ThaiFight's deputy managing director for what he describes as a slur on his reputation after Mr Pootharatanamanee referred to him as "an acrobatic act" rather than boxing, says The Bangkok Post.

Thailand defamation law  defines defamation as:  “to impute anything to another person to a third party in a manner likely to impair that person’s reputation or to expose such person to hatred or contempt.”  However in Thailand, defamation may be both a criminal offense and/or a civil offense contrary to many Western jurisdictions.

Buakao is claiming 10 million baht in damages.

Read the full story here  

Relevant Articles: Thai Editor Gets 10 Years in Jail for Defamation

                               Thai Military Launches Defamation Complaint Against Canadian Lawyer

Flickr photo credit: idirectori

FDA To Burn 3.4 Tonnes Of Seized Illegal Drugs

The Nation has reported that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will  burn 3.4 tonnes of seized illegal drugs worth Bt10 billion.
Thailand Criminal Lawyer:
 Chaninat and Leeds specializes in international criminal cases in Thailand
The burning will happen on June 26, forming part of Thailand's 42nd official illicit-drug incineration ceremony in Ayutthaya's Bang Pa-in Industrial Estate.

Read the full story here

Related Video:

Related Documents: Thailand's Narcotics Laws
 Related Articles: History of Cannabis Use and Anti-Marijuana Laws in Thailand

Monday, June 17, 2013

On Saturday in protest against U.S. surveillance programs and in support of Edward Snowden, several hundred people marched to the U.S. Consulate General and the offices of the Hong Kong government reveals the Detroit Free Press.
Thailand Criminal Lawyer 

Chaninat and Leeds specializes in international criminal cases in Thailand
Prior to the protest, several representatives of a pro-China political party marched to the consulate to call for an end to the alleged U.S. hacking of computer systems in Hong Kong, an allegation Snowden gave to a local newspaper earlier in the week.

Read the full article here

Related Articles: FBI-Wanted Cyber Hacker Arrested in Bangkok
                             DHS Recruiting Young Hackers
Good Morning to You Productions is bringing a federal class action against Warner/Chappell Music after the company insisted they own the copywright to the classic  Happy Birthday song.

Thailand Business Lawyer
Chaninat and Leeds specializes in business law in Thailand

Court House News Service has revealed that Good Morning To You is producing a documentary about the 120 year old song, which, as expected, will include a rendition of the song itself. 

It explains it reluctantly paid Warner/Chappell's demand for a $1,500 licensing fee, but was then shocked to receive a follow up letter from warning that it could face a $150,000 statutory penalty for copyright infringement.

Good Morning to You wants a  declaration that "Happy Birthday" is in the public domain, class certification, together with financial compensation.

Read the full story here

                                          Taking On The Copywright Pirates in Thailand                                         

DNA And Genes: A Busy Day For The Supreme Court

Two recent US Supreme Court decisions have created some interesting discussion.

 In Maryland v. Kingthe US Supreme Court has ruled that the practice of seizing the DNA of non-convicted arrestees is constitutional.

US Police departments have controversially long collected a "DNA database" of arrestees, suspects, and persons of interest.  

Thailand Patent Lawyer

In Association for Molecular Pathology vs Myriad Genetics, the US Supreme Court was asked whether it was possible to patent genes and held: no if they are naturally occurring; however an invented synthetic gene, can be patented.

We end with this: if police seize DNA from a suspect who has been treated with a patented synthetic DNA, is the police seizure of that DNA a violation of the proprietary rights of the patentee company?  Can the arrestee object to the DNA test as not having authority to surrender the DNA because of non-ownership?

Related Articles: The Idea of Software Patent Protections

Thursday, June 13, 2013

"Pink Slime" Case Is Heading Back to State Court

A South Dakota beef processing company's defamation lawsuit issued against ABC News has been sent back to state court reports ABC News itself.

Beef Products Inc. sued American Broadcasting Companies Inc. and ABC News Inc. following the broadcaster dubbing the meat product the company calls "lean, finely textured beef" as "pink slime."

Thailand FDA Registration

The Thai FDA requires importers and manufacturers in Thailand to obtain FDA approval prior to importing or manufacturing products. 

The broadcaster is defending the action on the grounds that the description was technically true as raw beef is both "pink" and slimy"

BPI is seeking $1.2 billion in damages.

Read the full story here

Related Video:

Related Articles:   Judge Halts NYC Sugary Drink Ban                                         Pink Slime: Another Piece of the MSG-filled, Aspartame-laden Pie

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Has Kenneth Clarke Breached The Ministerial Code Over Bildeberg?

We reported only yesterday about the performance put on by bumbling British MP, Kenneth Clarke in the House of Commons, as he was asked a question regarding the recent hush hush Bilderberg conference.

Well today, the storm continues. Technocracy has been reported that Mr Clarke did not announce the 2012 meeting which he attended with many senior media executives in Chantilly,Virginia, USA while he was Secretary of State for Justice.

The Editor-in-Chief of The Economist, the Chairman & CEO of The Washington Post Company, the Chief Economics Commentator of  The Financial Times present just a taste of influential senior social media executives who were also in attendance. 

The Ministerial Code sets our acceptable conduct for government ministers: “the rule book for ministerial conduct, including the responsibilities of Ministers to Parliament.”

The trouble for Mr Clarke is that in 2011, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron ordered that the Code be amended to include the following:

“The Government will be open about its links with the media. All meetings with newspaper and other media proprietors, editors and senior executives will be published quarterly regardless of the purpose of the meeting.”

It seems however for reasons unknown, that Mr Clark failed to record his foreign attendance on his quarterly expense claim sheet.

Chaninat and Leeds specializes in international criminal cases in Thailand
He may well have also breached the Ministerial Code by failing to declare the Bilderberg conference in his officially published transparency data. The same could very well be true for the Chancellor George Osborne.

How is it possible for the British public to retain any trust in their own Government when it has no transparency and seems unable to follow one of its own codes?  Surely this only reduces faith and flames cynicism about parliament. So much for  Mr Cameron’s promise to his country in 2010 that he would run the  ’most open and transparent government in the world’.

In the meantime, we look forward to seeing if a full and proper inquiry is undertaken into Mr Clarke’s abuse of the Ministerial Code.

Read the full article here

                               Thailand’s Anti-Corruption Network Gets UNDP

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Shocking Bilderberg Betrayal From The UK Government

Yesterday heralded the first official discussion of Bilderberg but it proved to be nothing more than it a travesty

The secrecy of the Bilderberg Group was unraveled during a Parliamentary debate in the House of Commons.

Labour MP, Michael Meacher asked Tory MP Ken Clarke, who had been an attendee at last week's meeting an urgent House of Commons question to make a statement on the Bilderberg Group. Stumbling in this way through an answer with attempts to use humor, Mr Clarke was forced to admit that  he had “forgotten” he was a trustee of the Bilderberg Group and that he had “forgotten” that the organization’s meetings were paid for by funds raised by the Bilderberg Association. The question was intended for  Chancellor George Osborne, but he was not available during yesterday's debate. 
Chaninat and Leeds specializes in international criminal cases in Thailand

Mr Meacher explained to the Commons that he believed the group to be a powerful lobbying organisation and that attending ministers should reveal discussions and outcomes.

Thailand is of course renowned in the Western world  for allegations of corruption and government scandal and is forever mocked when new allegations arise. However, in our opinion this serious incident borders on being equally if not more outrageous. It follows recent allegations and charges for fraudulent expense claims, which even led to some British MPs being jailed for their part, and a jail sentence for disgraced MP, Chris Hulme for perverting the course of justice. 

It is surprising given the known list of important and influential interesting attending figures that no mainstream media outlet appears to find the meetings newsworthy to report on. It is shocking to suggest this 'private meeting' is not significant enough to warrant discussion in Parliament. This is an appalling betrayal of privilege, duty of care and trust from the UK government.

Watch the video here:

Related Articles: Thailand Tourist Information: A Guide to Laws in Thailand
                             Thailand Issues Arrest Warrant for Ousted Premier
                             Thailand’s Anti-Corruption Network Gets UNDP

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

 Thailand prenuptial attorneys, Chaninat and Leeds explain that prenuptial agreements which have international aspects to them, may fall under different legal jurisdictions which have different requirements. It is therefore important to ensure any Thailand prenuptial agreement addresses those needs and is valid under Thailand Prenuptial Law.

Prenuptial agreements are a specialized form of contract because governments play a far larger role in prenuptial agreements because they regulate family affairs. This is different to most standard legal contracts.

Different jurisdictions have different requirements for what makes a prenuptial agreement valid.

The important thing to remember about prenuptial agreements is that their quality  will only be tested when an attempt is made to enforce by one of the parties. Unlike  a new car, which can be test driven, or a a new electrical item which should offer a warranty allowing a defective or faulty product to be returned or exchanged, there is no way of knowing the validity of the prenuptial agreement you have entered into, unless divorce proceedings are commenced. If there is then an issue with the the prenuptial agreement being defective, it may be too late to change it.

Jurisdiction issues are better explained by way of an example.

If there is only one jurisdiction involved in a prenuptial agreement then matters tend to be straightforward. For example, Couple A live, get married, get divorced, and have all of their assets in California. Any prenuptial agreement should be relatively straightforward as there is only one jurisdiction - California.

In contrast, things can change when there are two or more different jurisdictions. Couple B met and got married in Thailand, but then moved to New York. After commencing divorce proceedings, Mr B decides to stay in New York, but Mrs B returns to Thailand. They have joint assets in Thailand and the US. Any divorce proceedings or enforcement of a prenuptial agreement would be far more complicated than in the first scenario because Thailand and the US operate under different legal systems. There could well be a conflict between those laws.

It is important therefore that any prenuptial agreements anticipates this issue.A consumer may therefore wish to consider instructing a practitioner who has both divorce and prenuptial litigation experience and is confident with international issues.

Watch the video here:

Related Documents: Thailand Prenuptial Law

Related Articles: U.S. Prenuptial Agreements in Thailand: Why Thai Law is Important
                                         International Prenuptial Agreements: Conflicts of Law in the United States
                                         Prenuptial Agreements: US Law, Thailand Law and EU Law Compared
                                         International Prenuptial Agreements: Issues for Prenuptial Agreements in the United States
                                         U.S. Courts and the Application of Foreign Law to International Prenuptial Agreements
                                          Prenuptial Agreements Could Be Challenged

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Difference Between Thai and Western Criminal Law Procedures

Sadly it is easy for a foreigner to become involved in Thailand's criminal law process during their time in Thailand, even if it is inadvertent.  Thailand criminal attorneys, Chaninat and Leeds explain that one of the practical obstacles facing individuals who find themselves for whatever reason involved in Thailand Criminal Law be it as victims of crime or family members of foreigners accused of committing crimes in Thailand, is a lack of understanding of how Thailand’s criminal justice system may differ to that of their own country

There are three main differences between Western and Thai courts in the criminal law cases:

1. Judge or Jury Trial?

Trial by jury is a well known procedure used during Western criminal trials,  however there is no similar right in Thailand. Instead, a judge is responsible for listening to all of the evidence and arguments and then deciding the outcome of Thai criminal cases. This could change the way the attorneys prepare and present the case. Perhaps juries may be more sympathetic and open to accepting emotional arguments rather than a judge who is well versed in the law.  
2. Plea Bargaining

Plea bargaining is a common during a Western criminal trial, but in direct contrast, no plea bargaining happens in Thailand. The police play a far greater role in Thailand than in Western Courts. It is their decision what evidence and charges to send to the prosecution once they have undertaken their initial investigation. It is also open to the Thai court to reduce the level of criminal charges following an examination of the evidence.

3. Private Criminal Prosecutions

In Western courts, once charges have been filed, the victim is usually the key Prosecution witness. The same thing happens in Thailand, but it is additionally possible to file private criminal charges as long as other conditions are satisfied. Whilst this provides the victim with added flexibility, it means the accused individual will face two potential plaintiffs - the prosecutor and the victim.

Watch the video here:

                             Thailand Marijuana Law Feature
                              Drug Mules in Thailand