State attorneys general descend on Colorado Springs to talk DNA, decency

Dozens of chief legal officers from around the country meet this week in Colorado Springs to discuss state legal issues at the National Association of Attorneys General’s summer meeting. Amid scenic tours and an authentic Wild West show at a nearby dude ranch, the attorneys general plan to consider questions about U.S.-Mexico border problems, sharing DNA databases, attacking Ponzi Schemes and dealing with the federal Communications Decency Act.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers throws out the welcome mat to his hometown for his colleagues — including the legal moguls from all 50 states, plus American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands — and a delegation from Taipei. “By the time you leave,” Suthers tells attendees, “I’m sure you will understand why Pikes Peak inspired the song ‘America the Beautiful.’ ”

Under the over-all theme “Public Protection in Challenging Economic Times,” including a discussion on stretching resources as states slash budgets, the attorneys general have these topics scheduled Tuesday through Thursday at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort:

Mexico – U.S. Border Issues – An Update
Although many of the myriad of issues involving our 2,000 mile border with Mexico are as old as the border itself, the Obama administration has focused its thinking and resources on those posing the most immediate concern — drugs, guns, money, and human trafficking. This panel of distinguished and experienced experts will discuss these and other issues facing the new administration and the likely federal and state responses.

The Communications Decency Act: Roadblock or Signpost for the Internet?
The Communications Decency Act (CDA) provides that ISP’s, Web sites and others who provide computer service are shielded from liability for potentially objectionable content. This panel will discuss the challenges
to Attorneys General who face CDA defenses, the reasons for continuing viability of the defenses, the alternatives for successful action in light of CDA defenses, and the experiences of several Attorneys General who have encountered CDA issues.

After Colorado joined other states with its version of “Katie’s Law,” which harvests DNA samples from everyone arrested for a felony, questions about how state and federal officials share DNA data are more pertinent this year than ever:

DNA Database – Can We Share?
The FBI stores and maintains the largest DNA database in the world known as the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). State laws vary widely on how and when DNA information can be shared between state forensic laboratories and CODIS. This panel will explore the current state of art of DNA databases, how DNA has been and can be used by both law enforcement and prosecutors, and the question of federal-state sharing.

Even as the entire economy sometimes seems to have been a giant Ponzi scheme, there are still actual fraudsters coming to light:

The Legacy of Charles Ponzi (1882-1949): The Fraud That Will Never Grow Old
The recent high-profile case of the Bernard Madoff investment scandal has brought this timeless fraud into the public’s attention once again. What old lessons have we forgotten and need to relearn? What new lessons does the Madoff case provide? This panel will discuss Ponzi Schemes and their impact upon the consumer.

Suthers joins the CEO of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to lead a discussion on legal questions about supplements:

Dietary Supplements – Is There A Consumer Protection Issue?
Dietary Supplements, including products such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, energy products, and more, are not easily categorized on the regulatory continuum. Are they safe and effective? Are they required to be? Travis Tygart, Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, will provide his agency’s view of dietary supplements and their impact upon our nation’s athletes.

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Ernest Luning

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