Law Fish News for 02-28-2018


Sriracha Sauce and the Surprisingly Heartwarming Story Behind It

Notable First Amendment Court Cases

Arranged by topic, they cover case law issued by a variety of courts: the Supreme Court of the United States, the Court of Appeals of different Federal circuits, the District Court of several Federal districts, as well as the highest court of several states and particular appellate courts of action. The U.S. District Court decided for the student, teacher, and adult residents who had brought action against the school board, the court concluding: “The court finds and rules that the defendants herein have failed to demonstrate a substantial and legitimate government interest sufficient to warrant the removal of MS magazine from the Nashua High School library. 2d. 731: In this seminal case considering the First Amendment rights of students who were expelled after they wore black armbands to school in symbolic protest of the Vietnam War, the Supreme Court held that students “do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate” and that the First Amendment protects public school students’ rights to express political and social views. The school, thus, did not create a public forum for the expression of ideas, but instead maintained the newspaper “As supervised learning experience for journalism students.” The Court concluded that “Educators do not offend the First Amendment by exercising editorial control over the style and content of student speech in school-sponsored expressive activities so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns.” The Court strongly suggested that supervised student activities that “May fairly be characterized as part of the school curriculum,” including school-sponsored publications and theatrical productions, were subject to the authority of educators. The Supreme Court agreed with him, saying, “We begin with the proposition that the right of freedom of thought protected by the First Amendment against state action includes both the right to speak freely and the right to refrain from speaking at all.” In addition, the Court said, “The fact that most individuals agree with the thrust of New Hampshire’s motto is not the test; most Americans also find the flag salute acceptable. The First Amendment protects the right of individuals to hold a point of view different from the majority and to refuse to foster, in the way New Hampshire commands, an idea they find morally objectionable.” The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the statute is constitutional “On its face.” Writing for the court, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor did not “Perceive a realistic danger that it will be utilized to preclude or punish the expression of particular views,” nor did she think that the statute would “Significantly compromise First Amendment values.” 2d. 686: To protect “Uninhibited, robust, and wide-open” debate on public issues, the Supreme Court held that no public official may recover “Damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with ‘actual malice’-that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” The Court stated that the First and Fourteenth Amendments require that critics of official conduct have the “Fair equivalent” to the immunity protection given to a public official when he is sued for defamatory speech uttered in the course of his duties. The First Amendment and New Technologies Broadcast and Cable Communications FCC V. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726, 57 L. Ed. 2d 1073, 98 S. Ct. 3026: In a case that considered the First Amendment protections extended to a radio station’s daytime broadcast of comedian George Carlin’s “Seven Filthy Words” monologue, the Supreme Court held that Section 326 of the Telecommunications Act, which prohibits the FCC from censoring broadcasts over radio or television, does not limit the FCC’s authority to sanction radio or television stations broadcasting material that is obscene, indecent, or profane. 2d 865: On May 22, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a U.S. District Court decision that Section 505 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 violated the First Amendment when it sought to restrict certain cable channels with sexually explicit content to late night hours unless they fully scrambled their signal bleed. The Court held that speech on the Internet is entitled to the highest level of First Amendment protection, similar to the protection the Court gives to books and newspapers.

Keywords: [“Court”,”school”,”book”]
Source: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/censorship/courtcases

Notable First Amendment Court Cases

Arranged by topic, they cover case law issued by a variety of courts: the Supreme Court of the United States, the Court of Appeals of different Federal circuits, the District Court of several Federal districts, as well as the highest court of several states and particular appellate courts of action. The U.S. District Court decided for the student, teacher, and adult residents who had brought action against the school board, the court concluding: “The court finds and rules that the defendants herein have failed to demonstrate a substantial and legitimate government interest sufficient to warrant the removal of MS magazine from the Nashua High School library. 2d. 731: In this seminal case considering the First Amendment rights of students who were expelled after they wore black armbands to school in symbolic protest of the Vietnam War, the Supreme Court held that students “do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate” and that the First Amendment protects public school students’ rights to express political and social views. The school, thus, did not create a public forum for the expression of ideas, but instead maintained the newspaper “As supervised learning experience for journalism students.” The Court concluded that “Educators do not offend the First Amendment by exercising editorial control over the style and content of student speech in school-sponsored expressive activities so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns.” The Court strongly suggested that supervised student activities that “May fairly be characterized as part of the school curriculum,” including school-sponsored publications and theatrical productions, were subject to the authority of educators. The Supreme Court agreed with him, saying, “We begin with the proposition that the right of freedom of thought protected by the First Amendment against state action includes both the right to speak freely and the right to refrain from speaking at all.” In addition, the Court said, “The fact that most individuals agree with the thrust of New Hampshire’s motto is not the test; most Americans also find the flag salute acceptable. The First Amendment protects the right of individuals to hold a point of view different from the majority and to refuse to foster, in the way New Hampshire commands, an idea they find morally objectionable.” The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the statute is constitutional “On its face.” Writing for the court, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor did not “Perceive a realistic danger that it will be utilized to preclude or punish the expression of particular views,” nor did she think that the statute would “Significantly compromise First Amendment values.” 2d. 686: To protect “Uninhibited, robust, and wide-open” debate on public issues, the Supreme Court held that no public official may recover “Damages for a defamatory falsehood relating to his official conduct unless he proves that the statement was made with ‘actual malice’-that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” The Court stated that the First and Fourteenth Amendments require that critics of official conduct have the “Fair equivalent” to the immunity protection given to a public official when he is sued for defamatory speech uttered in the course of his duties. The First Amendment and New Technologies Broadcast and Cable Communications FCC V. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726, 57 L. Ed. 2d 1073, 98 S. Ct. 3026: In a case that considered the First Amendment protections extended to a radio station’s daytime broadcast of comedian George Carlin’s “Seven Filthy Words” monologue, the Supreme Court held that Section 326 of the Telecommunications Act, which prohibits the FCC from censoring broadcasts over radio or television, does not limit the FCC’s authority to sanction radio or television stations broadcasting material that is obscene, indecent, or profane. 2d 865: On May 22, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a U.S. District Court decision that Section 505 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 violated the First Amendment when it sought to restrict certain cable channels with sexually explicit content to late night hours unless they fully scrambled their signal bleed. The Court held that speech on the Internet is entitled to the highest level of First Amendment protection, similar to the protection the Court gives to books and newspapers.

Keywords: [“Court”,”school”,”book”]
Source: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/censorship/courtcases

Law Fish News for 02-27-2018

Father Loses Daughter In Unusual Custody Battle

10 of the world’s craziest court cases from a pineapple assault to being turned down for sex

From bungling burglars to police injured by pineapples, all sorts of crazy complaints have ended up in court. An advertising executive sued her boss for a staggering £3.9million after a bullying campaign that culminated with her being compared with Susan Boyle. A Glaswegian police officer tried to sue for £1.5million as a result of a pineapple-related injury. A judge at the crown court in Derby said a contract had been formed between the station and the competition winner, and they were duly ordered to pay up. When a woman rationed her husband to one sex session a week, he took her to court – and won. The mechanic from Basingstoke, Hants, emerged victorious from court in 1980. Playboy Rolf Eden sued a teenager for ageism because she refused to have sex with him. It’s a problem which many young male students suffer from, but it’s rare for a stand-off over smelly feet to end in court action. After being kicked out Teunis launched a 10-year court action which ended with a judge saying that staff would just have to “Hold their noses.” Though Americans seem to sue people at the drop of a hat, prisoner Jonathan Lee Riches – who’s filed almost 4,000 lawsuits from his Kentucky jail cell – takes the biscuit.

Keywords: [“sue”,”court”,”being”]
Source: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/10-worlds-craziest-court-cases-7890778

Unusual procedural development in CFPB/NY AG lawsuit against RD Legal Funding

In an unusual procedural move last week in the RD Legal Funding case about which we have previously blogged, SDNY Judge Loretta Preska has referred to EDPA Judge Anita Brody the question of whether the NFL Concussion Litigation settlement agreement forbids assignments of settlement benefits. Judge Brody has been presiding over the multidistrict litigation for over five years and is currently overseeing the implementation of the settlement. Within the Order, Judge Preska noted “[t]his case presents an unusual situation in which the Defendants’ underlying conduct is intertwined with an MDL class action settlement in another court,” and stated the referral “Ensures uniformity of adjudication with a single ruling that will apply not only to the Defendants in this action but also to other potential lenders to class members who might assert the same defense[.]” The referral had been requested by the NFL Concussion Litigation Co-Lead Class Counsel, Christopher Seeger. Judge Brody denied Seeger’s request to compel production of similar information from RD Legal Funding.

Keywords: [“Judge”,”settlement”,”Brody”]
Source: https://www.consumerfinancemonitor.com/2017/09/15/nfl-concussion-litigation-settlement/

Unusual for MP to intervene in court case, Letters in Print News & Top Stories

It is not uncommon for MPs to write appeals, on behalf of their residents, for the reduction or waiver of traffic fines, where the letters are sent directly to the Traffic Police. I think it is rare for MPs to write appeal letters directly to the judiciary on behalf of their residents. I ask this as a matter of public interest: Do MPs have the right to write to a judge or a court regarding a case, criminal or otherwise? Can they write to the Attorney-General to plead for leniency on behalf of their constituents? As far as I know, during Meet-the-People Sessions, requests concerning court cases are not accepted and the standard procedure is to ask the appellant to seek help from legal clinics or legal aid bureaus. The courts should not be, or seen to be, subject to influence from MPs, as judicial independence is vital and important to the separation of constitutional powers. Wouldn’t such a letter be a breach of protocol? And all the more so, as it is based on only the appellant’s side of the story, which could be factually incorrect?

Keywords: [“write”,”MPs”,”court”]
Source: http://www.straitstimes.com/forum/letters-in-print/unusual-for-mp-to-intervene-in-court-case

List of Worst Court Cases in Recent History

According to Unilever, federal regulators specifically define mayonnaise as a spread that contains eggs. Which is why they’re not happy that a competitor is trying to pass off an egg-free version as the real stuff. Hampton Creek’s “Just Mayo” uses plant products instead of chicken eggs in its spread. Unilever contends that by calling their decidedly non-mayo product “Just Mayo,” Hampton Creek is participating in false advertising and stealing the market share that is rightfully Hellman’s. “Consumers and cooks have an expectation that mayonnaise should both taste and perform like mayonnaise. Just Mayo does neither,” the complaint states. BURN. Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick doesn’t think it’s a big deal. “Today it’s mayo, tomorrow it’s a cookie … next year it will be pasta,” he said. “Maybe we’ll see big cookie and big pasta lawsuits against us next.” Careful Tetrick, big mayonnaise is a $2 billion industry.

Keywords: [“big”,”mayonnaise”,”Mayo”]
Source: https://www.ranker.com/list/the-13-dumbest-lawsuits-in-recent-history/williammtx

An unusual case of subterfuge in the emergency department: covert administration of antipsychotic and anxiolytic medications to control an agitated patient.

An unusual case of subterfuge in the emergency department: covert administration of antipsychotic and anxiolytic medications to control an agitated patient. Pediatric, nursing home, and institutionalized psychiatric patients frequently receive medications covertly or against their will. Surreptitious medicating of emergency department psychiatric patients may occur but has not been reported. We discuss competing ethical, therapeutic, and legal issues in potential conflict during the treatment of an acutely psychotic patient who had homicidal and suicidal ideation and presented to a busy, urban ED. The practice of covertly medicating may not be uncommon in EDs, but fear of professional censure probably inhibits open discussion and documentation of such events. No specific statutory, ethical, or case law in the United States seems to control this type of situation.

Keywords: [“patient”,”case”,”control”]
Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16387221

Law Fish News for 02-27-2018

Glass Shotgun Slugs – Your Worst Nightmare

Landmark ‘Unger V. Maryland’ Ruling Frees More Than 130 Lifers After Decades In Prison

Landmark ‘Unger V. Maryland’ Ruling Frees More Than 130 Lifers After Decades In Prison A landmark ruling by Maryland’s highest court affected prisoners convicted of violent crimes before 1981. In 2013, El-Amin left prison after serving 42 years, 3 months and 3 days. El-Amin is one of more than 130 prisoners serving life sentences for violent crimes in the state of Maryland who were freed on probation following a landmark ruling by the state’s highest court. Millemann, who has a long background in legal aid and advocacy for prisoners, notes that 40 years ago, blacks were often charged with more serious offenses than whites for the same crime. Of the 250 Unger prisoners, all but one are men; they typically entered prison at age 24 and served 40 years. A single probation violation sends them back to prison, with no chance to get out. Four decades later, she learned he was getting out of prison. A life sentence in Maryland typically meant a convict went to prison, stayed out of trouble, took part in prison programs and would be out on parole in 20 years. William Gardner went to prison in 1968 at age 16 for killing Baltimore cab driver Henry Kravetz. So why have so many lifers left prison without re-offending? One answer is that the Maryland prisoners who have been released were always good candidates for parole.

Keywords: [“Prison”,”prisoners”,”Maryland”]
Source: https://www.npr.org/2016/02/18/467057603/from-a-life-term-to-life-on-the-outside-when-aging-felons-are-freed

8 Extremely Unusual Workers’ Compensation Cases

No one anticipates a workers’ compensation case, but they are a fairly common occurrence. Usually, a workers’ comp case involves an employee who was injured while doing their designated job, but sometimes the unusual happens. The severity of a workers’ compensation case can range from a simple scratch or bruise to a broken bone to even death. We have compiled a list of some of the most unusual workers’ compensation cases we have ever heard to give our readers an idea of how unexpected situations may be deemed a legal matter worthy of compensation. Here are 8 unexpected workers’ comp cases that won in court Man’s Hip Broken on Vending Machine. 90-year-old Circuit City employee, Clinton Dwyer, filed a workers’ comp claim after he fractured his hip at work. Normally, bending over at work is not a sufficient claim for compensation. Larry W. Holland, was awarded $4.3 million in a workers’ comp retaliation lawsuit because his employee failed to modify his duties after an injury that occurred on the job. Holland’s back injury worsened, and his doctor informed him to stop working for a month and go to physical therapy. Since she was retrieving work materials that she was temporarily storing in her garage, it made her home her “Work environment.” She was awarded compensation for the injury.

Keywords: [“work”,”employee”,”compensation”]
Source: http://www.gatewayinjurylaw.com/blog/unusual-workers-comp-cases/

Woman ordered to hold ‘idiot’ sign

In November 2012, Shena Hardin, 32, was ordered to hold up an embarrassing sign on a , corner. Municipal Judge Pinkey Carr ordered Hardin to two days of standing on a corner during rush hour traffic, holding a sign that said, “Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.” Hardin pleaded guilty to failing to stop for a school bus while children were getting off. Hardin’s license was also suspended for 30 days and she was ordered to pay $250 in court costs. Judge Carr said she hoped the unusual sentence would remind other drivers to have patience for the school bus. Public shaming has a long history as a form of punishment in both Europe and the United States. Depicted the role shame played in Puritan society in “The Scarlet Letter,” writing, “…There can be no outrage, methinks, against our common nature – whatever be the delinquencies of the individual – no outrage more flagrant than to forbid the culprit to hide his face for shame.” Across the country, some judges have begun taking a cue from the Puritans, sentencing convicts to display their crimes publicly in humiliating ways. While individual judges have received support for the idea, whether shaming is effective at deterring repeat offenses remains to be seen.

Keywords: [“shame”,”Judge”,”Hardin”]
Source: https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2013/0109/10-weird-criminal-sentences/Woman-ordered-to-hold-idiot-sign

A Very Unusual Case – HARTMAN FAMILY LAW BLOG

Leach v. Leach, 2016 ONSC 6140 is an extraordinarily unusual family law decision because it features husband moving to remove wife’s lawyer as counsel of record. The case is notionally about spousal support: husband’s income fluctuated as a result of employment changes and spousal support had to be sorted out. I say “Notionally” because the case boiled over when wife shifted from being a part time employee to full time employee at her lawyer’s firm. Husband took great exception to wife’s employment and demanded Ms. Anderson recuse herself on account of conflict of interest. Ms. Anderson refused and husband brought a motion. Courts exercise great restraint in interfering in a litigant’s counsel choice and will interfere only in the clearest of cases. It is the simple fact that the case was ever litigated in the first place. It is a bizarre relationship and there is no shortage of family lawyers in Ontario. Leach exposes a very expensive and dangerous truth about family law: clients, and indeed lawyers, get entrenched in positions and cannot advocate either effectively or as effectively as possible in the circumstances. How the two lawyers in this case are supposed to work together now in any constructive manner is beyond me.

Keywords: [“husband”,”lawyer”,”counsel”]
Source: https://hartmanfamilylaw.com/2016/10/07/an-odd-case/

Law Fish News for 02-25-2018

Lone juror’s letter in Michael Slager trial is ‘very unusual‘, analyst says

Larry Nassar case: Rosemarie Aquilina is the judge the victims needed

Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina listened to her and then offered some advice to Cormier – and to Cormier’s unborn baby. As victim after victim shared horrific tales of assault and abuse, Aquilina has acted as both judge and therapist, offering empathy, comfort and advice to each individual. The approach is striking and uncommon, legal experts said, particularly for victim impact statements, which are designed to give victims their day in court. “It’s not really an opportunity for a judge to give a comforting statement, psychiatric counsel, trauma advice,” Stacy Schneider, a criminal defense attorney and contributor for Observer, told CNN. “That wasn’t the purpose of it.” Prosecutors said they expect about 100 victims to speak against Nassar, and the proceedings are expected to last through the week. At the very end of Tuesday’s hearing, the judge imagined aloud what she’d like to do to Nassar if not for the Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution. Comments like these from a presiding judge are unusual, said Stu Slotnick, a defense attorney and former prosecutor. In general, judges thank or comfort victims when they speak but withhold their opinion until the end. Judges showing empathy for victims is “Totally appropriate,” according to Jennifer Long, the chief executive officer at Aequitas, an organization that offers resources to prosecutors in cases of sexual and domestic violence. “If it was a lower sentence and the judge made those types of comments about my client, I would definitely use those sentiments in an appeal to show the judge had a preexisting bias against the defendant,” she said.

Keywords: [“Judge”,”victim”,”Aquilina”]
Source: https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/17/us/larry-nassar-judge-sentencing/index.html

Tobacco Reporter

A court in China’s Henan Province on Tuesday overruled an appeal filed by the family of a smoker who died of a heart attack after an argument with a man who had asked him to stop smoking in a lift, according to a Xinhua Newswire story. The Intermediate People’s Court of Zhengzhou found that the behavior of the defendant Yang Jun was lawful and was aimed at safeguarding the public interest. The court overruled earlier findings, rejected the plaintiff’s compensation claim, and asked the plaintiff to pay litigation costs of more than 14,000 yuan. The family of the elderly smoker had claimed more than 400,000 yuan from Yang following the incident in May, alleging that the argument had played a role in triggering the heart attack. In September, the People’s Court of Jinshui District ruled that Yang’s behavior had not led to the death of the smoker but ordered Yang to pay compensation of 15,000 yuan to the family. The family appealed against the court’s decision to the Intermediate People’s Court of Zhengzhou City. Although there is no national law on indoor smoking in China, a 2011 regulation banned smoking in indoor public spaces including lifts. As of 2016, 18 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, had imposed smoking bans. “Everyone, smoker or non-smoker, has the right to ask smokers to stop smoking in public venues,” said Jiang Yuan, an officer with the Tobacco Control Office, which operates under the Chinese Center For Disease Control and Prevention. “The final ruling is support for national tobacco control and for those who get up the courage to say no to second-hand smoke.”

Keywords: [“smoke”,”court”,”Yang”]
Source: https://www.tobaccoreporter.com/2018/01/an-unusual-case/

Legal case costing Powerball winner $14G in interest per day, attorney says

A New Hampshire woman who claims to have won a $560 million Powerball jackpot – but is fighting to remain anonymous – is losing about $14,000 a day in interest, her attorney says. Steven Gordon is trying to fast-track a court hearing in the case, telling the New Hampshire Union Leader that “Time is of the essence in this matter.” The winning ticket, purchased in January at Reed’s Ferry Market in Merrimack, N.H., translates to a lump-sum cash prize of $352 million before taxes and $268 million after taxes. The woman, who has not yet submitted her winning ticket to the New Hampshire Lottery Commission, is referred to as Jane Doe in the court documents. “Pushing the resolution of this case into March will subject Ms. Doe to serious and irreparable financial harm,” Gordon told the Union Leader. “Pushing the resolution of this case into March will subject Ms. Doe to serious and irreparable financial harm.” Steven Gordon, attorney for anonymous Powerball winner from New Hampshire. Privacy is a primary concern for the woman, a longtime resident of New Hampshire and an engaged community member who does not want to be known or targeted as the winner of a half-billion dollars, the Union Leader reported, citing court documents. Gordon is hoping to expedite the hearing from Feb. 21 to Feb. 13, and the judge is reviewing the request, the paper reported. The purported winner plans to contribute a portion of her prize to a charitable foundation, the report said.

Keywords: [“New”,”Hampshire”,”winner”]
Source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/02/09/legal-case-costing-powerball-winner-14g-in-interest-per-day-attorney-says.html

First Circuit Hears Oral Argument in Unusual Copyright Case

On April 6, 2017, Cyberlaw Clinic students attended oral argument in a First Circuit copyright appeal involving a curious set of facts and legal issues. The case pitted Richard Goren, a Massachusetts attorney, against Xcentric Ventures, LLC, the owner of an online consumer review website known as the Ripoff Report. Goren was upset by a review of his services posted on Ripoff Report by Christian DuPont, the defendant in a prior case where Goren had represented the plaintiff. After obtaining a copyright registration, Goren sued Xcentric in federal district court, alleging inter alia that Xcentric had infringed Goren’s newfound proprietary rights as the post’s “Owner.” Xcentric defended the lawsuit by arguing that the copyright assignment was involuntary, and thus invalid under Section 201(e) of the Copyright Act. Goren appealed the district court’s ruling to the First Circuit, which heard oral argument earlier this month. At oral argument, the First Circuit panel appeared to accept the logic of Xcentric’s argument, without questioning its counsel about 201(e). Beyond the copyright claim, Goren also contended that Xcentric’s conduct violated state defamation and competition laws. Given the law as it stands, the First Circuit will likely affirm the district court’s rulings in favor of Xcentric. Goren’s attempt to hijack copyright law might have been clever, but it was suspicious from the start.

Keywords: [“Goren”,”Xcentric”,”copyright”]
Source: https://clinic.cyber.harvard.edu/2017/04/24/first-circuit-hears-oral-argument-in-unusual-copyright-case/

Law Fish News for 02-24-2018

Smugglers Opts Unusual Ways To Smuggle Liquor In Bihar

Baugh addresses media at unusual hearing in Rambold rape case

Less than an hour before Baugh stepped into the courtroom, the Montana Supreme Court issued an order canceling the hearing, telling Baugh that he could not legally change Rambold’s sentence as he intended. The hearing Baugh wanted to hold in order to change Rambold’s sentence was opposed by both the Yellowstone County Attorney’s Office and Rambold’s defense attorney, who argued that Baugh did not have the authority to change the sentence after announcing it in court last week. “While it’s good that Judge Baugh recognizes that his August 26 sentence of Stacey Rambold is contrary to the law, today the state Supreme Court affirmed that Judge Baugh has no authority to amend the sentence unless ordered to do so by the Supreme Court,” Fox said. Though he did not impose a new sentence, Baugh went ahead with the unusual hearing. The hearing began 1:40 p.m., and Baugh announced that he had decided on Thursday, before the Supreme Court intervened, to cancel the hearing he intended to hold aimed at re-sentencing Rambold. Baugh told the gathering that he had also on Thursday signed a written judgment altering the sentence he imposed orally against Rambold on Aug. 26. Less than two weeks ago, Baugh sentenced the 54-year-old Rambold to 15 years in prison, with all but 31 days suspended and credit for one day served. Baugh said the confusion over the mandatory minimum sentence in the case “Shouldn’t have had to be addressed at all.” Baugh said the victim, Cherice Moralez, who committed suicide in 2010, was “Older than her chronological age” and was in some control of the relationship with Rambold. Baugh explained on Friday that the case began with the charges filed in 2008, but resulted in an unusual deferred prosecution agreement in July 2010 after Moralez’s death.

Keywords: [“Baugh”,”sentence”,”Rambold”]
Source: http://billingsgazette.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/baugh-addresses-media-at-unusual-hearing-in-rambold-rape-case/article_719fe5f8-78da-5878-bc89-148dcf0cf42a.html

Unusual Parties or Witnesses Archives

A pro se litigant in Arkansas appealed a trial court decision granting custody of her child to the biological father and ordering that the child’s birth name be changed. The trial court granted the custody change and ordered the child’s name be changed to “Samuel Charles.” Not a bad name, but why order a change? Personally, I liked the original name: “Weather’By Dot Com Chanel Fourcast.” The Court: Why? You think it’s better for his name to be Weather’by Dot Com Chanel -. The Court: As a grown man, what is his middle name? Dot Com Chanel Fourcast? The Arkansas court of appeals upheld the trial judge’s ruling based largely on its finding that the birth name could subject the child to embarrassment. With respect to the substantive issue, the court added that “It is obvious that an animal cannot function as a plaintiff in the same manner as a juridically competent human being.” Hmm, perfect entry for making a political joke about one of the defendants, but we try to stay apolitical. The Alaska Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s ruling, agreeing that a fifteen-foot airboat is not a motor vehicle requiring a driver’s license. What if your strongest argument on appeal was that your client’s name was typed in all capital letters in the trial court documents? The trial court dismissed the case, finding that the plaintiff assumed the risk of the collision by praying in the aisle with her eyes closed, a decision affirmed by the court of appeals. The court rejected the claim as time-barred by the statute of limitations, but also observed that proper jurisdiction for unlicensed radio communications would lie with the FCC. The court also offered plaintiff a terribly insensitive self-help suggestion.

Keywords: [“Court”,”name”,”defendant”]
Source: http://lawhaha.com/strange-judicial-opinions/unusual-parties-or-witnesses/

Kern County became the custodian of Manson’s body by chance – he just happened to die in its jurisdiction. Two men who say they are Manson’s sons – one in Van Nuys, the other in Wisconsin – could also stake a claim, according to Kern County attorneys. His YouTube channel, Manson’s Underworld Productions, includes videos of Gurecki talking about Manson and listening to recordings of his phone conversations with the killer. Soon after Manson’s death, the celebrity news site TMZ reported that it had obtained a copy of a last will and testament from Channels signed by Manson and stamped “Charles Manson AUTHENTIC.” It’s unclear whether the will is authentic. Walters, the Kern County counsel, said the only court filing he’s found regarding Manson’s remains belongs to Jason Freeman, Manson’s reported grandson in Florida. In Freeman’s petition, filed in Los Angeles County through two intermediaries he hired to handle the case, he provides his birth certificate and a judgment of entry from 1986 that shows he is the son of Charles Millis Manson Jr. Freeman’s father killed himself in 1993. Freeman said if he were given Manson’s estate and his body, he would try to reverse the pop-culture tide that has raised his grandfather’s legacy to iconic status. “What is the domicile of Charles Manson? He would’ve returned to Los Angeles? He could’ve been shipped everywhere by the prison system. Is it where he was housed?” Walters said. Manson lived in Los Angeles County before he was imprisoned and was arrested in Death Valley, in Inyo County. Walters said his office is considering seeking a court order to determine who should get Manson’s body.

Keywords: [“Manson”,”County”,”Kern”]
Source: https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/12/24/legal-battle-over-charles-mansons-body-like-a-circus.html

Law Fish News for 02-23-2018

What Is Reasonable Foreseeability?

U.S. Supreme Court rejects case to test Oregon’s unusual nonunanimous jury system

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a case that could have tested Oregon’s unusual system of allowing nonunanimous jury verdicts, dealing a blow to critics who claim the rule is unconstitutional. Lawyers for defendant Dale Lambert had petitioned the nation’s high court to review Louisiana’s jury law, claiming that such statutes deprive some defendants of equal protection under the law and should be ruled as unconstitutional. Previously, the Supreme Court upheld Oregon and Louisiana’s jury laws in 1972 and has declined to hear cases challenging Oregon’s 10-2 jury verdicts since as recently as 2009. Criminal justice reform advocates – who believe nonunanimous juries are deeply flawed and punitive toward nonwhite defendants – had hoped the court’s recent interest in cases involving race and juries could compel a new hearing. “While the Supreme Court chose not to hear the nonunanimous jury case, the fact remains that Oregon’s nonunanimous jury system is a relic of anti-Semitism and xenophobia, and it dilutes minority voices today,” said Aliza Kaplan, a professor at Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, where she directs the Criminal Justice Reform Clinic. Earlier this year, Kaplan published an article in the Oregon Law Review that argued how nonunanimous juries undermined the state’s criminal just system. In Oregon nearly four decades later, it was a sensational murder trial involving a Jewish suspect that prompted voters in 1934 to adopt the nonunanimous jury system, according to advocates and legal scholars. State lawmakers have not tackled the issue of nonunanimous juries since it first recommended a public vote in 1934. In an interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive last month, Kaplan said the rule is likely to limit evidence-based jury deliberations and increase wrongful convictions. Some of Oregon’s most seasoned prosecutors, who support the state’s unique jury system, disagree with that characterization.

Keywords: [“jury”,”Oregon”,”vote”]
Source: http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2017/10/us_supreme_court_declines_case.html

Reading Signals From Supreme Court On The US Sports Betting Ban

That result, of course, would wipe the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act off the books – and PASPA is the one hurdle stopping states outside of Nevada from authorizing and regulating full scale sports betting. It instead prohibits a state from, among other things, licensing or authorizing sports betting by law. It clearly regulates the conduct of states in their role as states in that PASPA says that a legislature may not license or authorize sports betting by law. Finally, there is no funding tied to PASPA. Thus, the question arises as to whether PASPA impermissibly “Commandeers” the state, a violation of the Tenth Amendment to the US Constitution and principles of federalism. Two arguments have been offered as to why PASPA is not commandeering: that the state has a choice, and that Congress has “Preempted” regulation of sports betting. Here there is no federal regulatory scheme – PASPA simply says states cannot license or authorize sports betting, but does not establish any federal authorization or regulation of sports betting that would be consistent with preemption. He argued that states are free to repeal all of their prohibitions on sports wagering – leading to a completely unregulated sports betting industry in the state. Justice Samuel Alito asked the attorney for the leagues why, if Congress wanted to prohibit sports betting, it simply did not go ahead and prohibit it, rather than affect how states legislate. Justice Stephen Breyer, who conventional wisdom suggested might not be sympathetic to the state’s position, closely questioned the leagues and the United States about how Congress can tell a state legislature that it cannot legislate. If a majority of the court determines that PASPA is unconstitutional, then the federal prohibition on government regulated sports betting will be gone, and states will be free to set their own policies when it comes to sports betting.

Keywords: [“state”,”PASPA”,”Sports”]
Source: https://www.legalsportsreport.com/16866/paspa-unconstitutional-scotus/

Northern Echo fined for naming alleged rape victim in ‘highly unusual’ case without legal precedent – Press Gazette

The publisher of the Northern Echo has been fined after naming the victim of an alleged sexual assault in a case described as “Highly unusual” and without legal precedent. During that hearing, the defendant’s barrister had referred to an alleged rape which did not end up forming part of the case against his client. The fact that the rape allegation did not proceed led the newspaper to believe that it could legally name the woman in a report of a criminal court hearing of a non-sexual offence, but subsequent legal investigations showed that she should have been given lifelong anonymity. In mitigation, Guy Vassall-Adams said this was a “Highly unusual” case. He said the newspaper immediately accepted that, ethically, the woman should not have been named but believed that no law had been broken, maintaining it was a case of “Genuine legally uncertain terrain”. He said he hoped some good would come out of the case because it would serve to clarify the law. District Judge Martin Walker acknowledged that the case was “Novel”, adding he was satisfied there was “a real legal potential argument that would have had to be considered” had it not been for Newsquest North East changing its plea. The judge fined the publisher £2,400, ordered it to pay £4,500 in compensation, £2,003 in costs and a £480 victim surcharge. A Newsquest North East spokesperson: “This was an unusual case involving a novel and complicated point of law where the wording of the relevant statute is unclear. However, it is important that proper expectations of anonymity are met by the media when allegations of sex offences are made. We are sincerely sorry for any distress we have inadvertently caused in this case.” Media Lawyer, whose copy Press Gazette has used here, is grateful to the Northern Echo for its permission to use its coverage of this case.

Keywords: [“case”,”hearing”,”publisher”]
Source: http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/northern-echo-fined-naming-alleged-rape-victim-highly-unusual-case-without-legal-precedent/

Law Fish News for 02-23-2018

What Is Joint Custody Of A Child?

In unusual case, Liberian business dispute lands in Jerusalem court

A legal dispute in Jerusalem District Court over alleged corruption involving construction and operation of a port in Liberia offers a rare look at a major business dealing by an Israeli-owned company in the African country. GSS, a company registered in the British Virgin Islands that specializes in maritime projects, signed the contract with the board of the Liberian Port Authority and received all the necessary approvals under the law. In defense of its decision, the Liberian government told the Jerusalem court that the basis of the agreement is official corruption, which prevailed in Liberia at the time, and that GSS plaid the CEO of the port authority and certain directors bribes amounting to tens of thousands of dollars. For its part, GSS said the cancellation had no legal basis and demanded a clause that in the event of a dispute the two would resolve it through arbitration in London. The port authority neither filed to cancel the arbitration nor did it pay it, prompting GSS to turn to the Jerusalem District Court to enforce the judgment. GSS said the Israeli court had the authority to enforce the payment because GSS is managed by Israelis and that much of the equipment used in the construction came from Israel. The Liberian government and the port authority both argue that the Jerusalem court has no authority in the matter and, in any case, contended that it was an improper forum because none of the parties to the dispute are Israeli. Judge Ben-Zion Greenberg ruled that since the Liberian government wasnt a party to the original contract – only the ports authority was – it therefore couldnt be a party to the arbitration process, thus the court couldnt order that the penalty GSS was awarded be paid. The judge also rejected the petition against the authority because GSS never legally informed it, ordering GSS to pay Liberia court costs of 30,000 shekels. The court unanimously adopted the justifications that led to the rejection of the GSS request to approve the arbitration ruling in Israel, thus blocking the attempt to execute an arbitrators award for an astronomical sum in Israel.

Keywords: [“GSS”,”Authority”,”port”]
Source: https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/business/liberian-business-dispute-lands-in-jerusalem-court-1.5628423

Photographer Attempting Unusual Legal Strategy in Lawsuit Over Stolen Images, Could Set Precedent

A Houston photographer who had one of his images stolen and used without his permission has become part of a very unusual case, in which the alleged thief is claiming sovereign immunity and the photographer is in turn using a rather unusual legal strategy to combat their defense. According to Chron, it all started when Houston Photographer Jim Olive’s copyright protection service notified him in 2016 of a violation: the University of Houston C.T. Bauer College of Business had been using one of his aerial photos since 2012. He consequently sent the university an invoice: $16,000 for the usage and $25,000 for removing his watermark when the school submitted it to a magazine. The university removed the photo and countered with an offer of $2,500, which it claimed was “Fair market value.” In turn, Olive threatened to the sue the school, but that proved difficult, since the university is a state school, thereby granting it sovereign immunity from copyright lawsuits. Under Texas law, the Texas Legislature would have to pass a bill specifically permitting him to file a lawsuit against the university. Instead of going that route, Olive is taking a more interesting approach after being inspired by a similar 1984 case. No person’s property shall be taken, damaged or destroyed for or applied to public use without adequate compensation being made, unless by the consent of such person; and, when taken, except for the use of the State, such compensation shall be first made, or secured by a deposit of money; and no irrevocable or uncontrollable grant of special privileges or immunities, shall be made; but all privileges and franchises granted by the Legislature, or created under its authority shall be subject to the control thereof. Traditionally, this applies to things like real estate, but under a broader reading, could possibly be applied to Olive’s photo. If the lawsuit is successful, it would set a precedent that would allow creatives greater latitude in enforcing ownership of their work. Lead image by Pixabay user qimono, used under Creative Commons.

Keywords: [“University”,”Olive”,”Under”]
Source: https://fstoppers.com/legal/photographer-attempting-unusual-legal-strategy-lawsuit-over-stolen-images-could-212321

In unusual move, judge grants CrossFit’s request to unmask anonymous peer reviewers

In what appears to be a first, a U.S. court is forcing a journal publisher to breach its confidentiality policy and identify an article’s anonymous peer reviewers. The novel order, issued last month by a state judge in California, has alarmed some publishers, who fear it could deter scientists from agreeing to review draft manuscripts. Amid the legal crossfire, the journal first corrected the paper to reduce the number of injuries associated with CrossFit, then retracted it last year, citing changes to a study protocol that were not first approved by a university review board. CrossFit suspects the paper’s reviewers and editors worked to play up injuries associated with its regimen, and it has asked both federal and state judges to force the publisher to unmask the reviewers. Judge Joel Wohlfeil of the San Diego Superior Court in California, who is overseeing NSCA’s defamation suit against CrossFit, ordered the association to provide the names. Judges have generally agreed with journals that unmasking reviewers would do more harm than good. In one notable 2007 case, pharma giant Pfizer subpoenaed for information about peer reviewers as part of a class action lawsuit related to the marketing of its painkillers Bextra and Celebrex. In an affidavit submitted on behalf of , Donald Kennedy, former president of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, who was then the editor-in-chief of , stated that were Pfizer to win, “I have no doubt whatever that scientists would think twice about the next reviewing assignment, and that many would decide not to help.” The judge quashed Pfizer’s request. Despite such high-profile decisions, journals are constantly defending reviewer confidentiality, says Paul Shaw, an attorney at Verrill Dana in Boston who has represented for 17 years. “Invariably,” he says, “One of the requests will be for the identity of and memoranda done by the peer reviewers.” Usually, Shaw responds by sending a standard objection letter that puts the matter to rest.

Keywords: [“review”,”CrossFit”,”publisher”]
Source: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/01/unusual-move-judge-grants-crossfits-request-unmask-anonymous-peer-reviewers

Law Fish News for 02-21-2018

Unusual for a Fox Anchor Shepard Smith to call out Trump but conservative support is still strong B

Right to Face Accusers Is Affirmed in Unusual Case

The Supreme Court yesterday threw out the conviction of a man accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend because the defendant could not challenge an incriminating account she gave the police weeks before her death. The case revolved around the Sixth Amendment, which affords people the bedrock right to confront and cross-examine witnesses who give testimony against them. Typically, courts have carved out few Sixth Amendment exceptions, giving leeway only to deathbed statements and to accounts by witnesses who are kept away from the courthouse by defendants seeking to thwart the judicial process. Avie’s wounds indicated that she was turned to her side and lying on the ground during at least part of the attack, according to the court record. The trial court allowed the statements to be introduced at Giles’s murder trial under a California law that allows juries to hear such threats when a witness is unavailable to testify in person. The California Supreme Court later upheld Giles’s conviction, reasoning that he had forfeited his Sixth Amendment right to confront witnesses by killing his ex-girlfriend and rendering her unable to appear in court. A majority of justices at the Supreme Court yesterday wiped away the conviction and sent the case back to lower courts. “Domestic violence is an intolerable offense that legislatures may choose to combat through many means,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority. Justice David H. Souter, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, agreed with Scalia’s historical analysis but said prosecutors could introduce evidence that defendants had engaged in a pattern of domestic violence as a substitute for their intent, perhaps opening the door to a finding that the alleged abuser had forfeited his right to confront a missing witness. Richard D. Friedman, a law professor at the University of Michigan who filed a court brief supporting the conviction, said yesterday’s ruling was “Very unfortunate.” Friedman predicted that the decision would usher in a wave of litigation over the “Psychology of the abuser,” the extent of domestic abuse and whether the abuser attempted to isolate the victim from police, a factor that could erode the Sixth Amendment protection.

Keywords: [“Court”,”domestic”,”defendant”]
Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/25/AR2008062502614.html

A Black Woman Is Arguing a Big Supreme Court Case Today. That Shouldn’t Be Unusual. But It Is. – Mother Jones

When Christina Swarns steps up to the podium on Wednesday for oral arguments in Buck v. Davis, her appearance will represent a rare event: an African-American woman arguing a Supreme Court case. Even as the case raises troubling questions about fairness in the courts, Swarns’ appearance as one of the very few black women ever to argue a Supreme Court case is another reminder of why such problems may persist. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s former counsel, Constance Baker Motley, argued 10 Supreme Court cases while at LDF between 1961 and 1964, winning nine of them, including the case that allowed James Meredith to enter the University of Mississippi as its first black student. There was Elaine Jones, another longtime LDF litigation director who argued before the court and is best known as counsel of record in Furman v. Georgia, the case that briefly abolished the death penalty in 1972.*. But more recently, black women lawyers have been in short supply at the court. After canvassing lawyers who work in Supreme Court advocacy, legal organizations, and the Supreme Court itself, Mother Jones identified fewer than half a dozen black women who’ve argued cases there since 1999. The last time anyone from LDF can remember a black woman arguing before the high court was three years ago, when Shanta Driver argued to preserve affirmative action in admissions at public universities in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. For a few years, Leondra Kruger helped diversify the Supreme Court bar when she was working for the US Solicitor General’s office, where she argued 12 Supreme Court cases between 2007 and 2013. California Governor Jerry Brown appointed her to the California Supreme Court, and no black woman seems to have argued a case before the high court since. The last court term to see a black women argue before the court was also notable for having only one black man argue a case, for a mere 11 minutes. Most lawyers of color coming before the court tend to work for the government, such as Lisa Freeland, the federal public defender for the western district of Pennsylvania, an African-American woman who argued a Supreme Court case in 2010.

Keywords: [“Court”,”case”,”Supreme”]
Source: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/10/buck-v-davis-christina-swarns/

Trump administration asks Supreme Court to immediately accept DACA case

Washington The Trump administration Thursday night took the unusual step of asking the Supreme Court to immediately review and overturn a judge’s ruling that said the administration may not dismantle a program that provides work permits to undocumented immigrants raised in the United States. Solicitor General Noel Francisco asked the court to add the case to its docket this term. That would be unusual because the justices usually wait for an appeals court to act before accepting a case, and because it is late in the game for the court to add cases to its oral argument calendar which ends in April. U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco ruled that California and other plaintiffs had shown they were likely to succeed on their claims that the Trump administration’s revocation of the nearly 6-year-old program was “Capricious” and not in compliance with federal laws. He ordered the government to resume renewing DACA and work authorizations for the 690,000 immigrants who held that status when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the program Sept. 5. Homeland Security officials have said they will comply with the court order and resume accepting applications to renew work permits for the immigrants, also known as “Dreamers.” In his filing with the Supreme Court, Francisco said Alsup’s ruling was wrong: the decision by Homeland Security to end the program “Is a classic determination that is committed to agency discretion by law.” He said a stay of Alsup’s ruling would not be adequate, and that there was no reason to wait for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to review it. Even if the case was put on a fast track, Francisco said, the process “Would entail many months of delay, during which time the district-court injunction would require the government to retain in place a discretionary policy that sanctions the ongoing violation of federal law by more than half a million people.” The Supreme Court rarely accepts such petitions, but Francisco noted it has made exceptions in cases of grave importance.

Keywords: [“Court”,”program”,”Francisco”]
Source: https://www.sltrib.com/news/nation-world/2018/01/19/trump-administration-asks-supreme-court-to-immediately-accept-daca-case/

Law Fish News for 02-20-2018

TF2: Unboxing an Unusual Taunt! “Uncrating 10 Audition reel crates!”| Love & War update!

Argument preview: An unusual two-issue case of federal computer crime

First, how should an appellate court evaluate whether the evidence in a criminal trial was sufficient for conviction, when the jury was erroneously instructed on additional elements that are not present in the statute which defines the crime and which made it harder for the government to convict? Must the court measure the evidence against the erroneous, more difficult to satisfy, elements? Or should the reviewing court apply the elements simply as written in the statute and charged in the indictment? In 2010, Musacchio was federally indicted for conspiracy both to “Exceed” authorized access to Exel’s computers and to obtain access to those computers that was “Unauthorized.” Federal law makes it a crime to “Intentionally access a computer without authorization or exceed authorized access.” In 2012, a superseding indictment was filed that removed charging references to “Exceeding authorized access”, leaving in place only the charge of conspiring to commit “Unauthorized” access. At trial, the government proposed instructions that would require the jury to find “Unauthorized access”, consistent with the superseding indictment. The district court’s ultimate jury instructions, as written and read to the jury, required the jury to find a conspiracy to “Intentionally access a computer without authorization and exceed authorized access.” This is now conceded as error, because the law requires only that a person exceed access or commit unauthorized access, and only “Unauthorized” access was charged. Musacchio did not at any time raise a statute-of-limitations issue, nor did he argue that the evidence was insufficient on the “Exceeding authorized access” prong of the erroneous instruction until a month after his motion for a new trial was denied. On appeal, Musacchio argued that even if the evidence had been sufficient to support the allegations of “Unauthorized” access, it was constitutionally insufficient to prove that he had conspired to “Exceed” authorized access, a finding which the jury instructions had required. Musacchio’s first argument is that the evidence against him was insufficient for a rational jury to find that he conspired to “Exceed” authorization to Exel’s computers, and that the jury instruction which required the jury to make that finding – even if erroneous – must be treated as “Law of the case” and govern the sufficiency analysis on appellate review. Musacchio argues for a “Specialized” law-of-the-case rule here, but the government responds that law of the case binds only the same court that has previously ruled, not a new appellate court on review. The government notes that a party is permitted to defend on any ground fairly presented by the record, even if it did not object to the erroneous instruction below, and that “Lenity” and other “Policy-based” arguments should not be applied “To exonerate the guilty.” Musacchio responds that his rule is necessary to protect against possible jury confusion injected by erroneous instructions, and against possible unfair strategic tactics the prosecution might use. Recommended Citation: Rory Little, Argument preview: An unusual two-issue case of federal computer crime, SCOTUSblog.

Keywords: [“access”,”Musacchio”,”jury”]
Source: http://www.scotusblog.com/2015/11/argument-preview-an-unusual-two-issue-case-of-federal-computer-crime/

Bill of Rights Institute

In 1972, the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty systems then in place were unconstitutional violations of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on “Cruel and unusual” punishments. Four years later in Gregg v. Georgia, the Court reaffirmed the death penalty as constitutional. In Furman v. Georgia, the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty systems currently in place were unconstitutional violations of the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on “Cruel and unusual” punishments. The Court noted that there were no rational, objective standards for when the death penalty would be given. Justice Potter Stewart described the death penalty system at the time as “Cruel and unusual in the same way that being struck by lightning is cruel and unusual.” In other words, it was not the death penalty itself that was unconstitutional, but rather, the random way it was applied made it cruel and unusual. In response to the decision, 35 states changed their death penalty systems in order to comply with the Court’s ruling. The Court found that Georgia’s system for applying the death penalty was “Judicious” and “Careful.” Gregg had gone through two trials – one to determine guilt and one for sentencing. The Court ruled, “The imposition of the death penalty for the crime of murder has a long history of acceptance both in the United States and in England[.] At the time the Eighth Amendment was ratified, capital punishment was a common sanction in every State” Finally, the Court said it could not overrule the judgment of Georgia’s legislature as to the usefulness of the death penalty. “Considerations of federalism, as well as respect for the ability of a legislature to evaluatethe moral consensus concerning the death penalty and its social utility as a sanction, require us to conclude, in the absence of more convincing evidence, that the infliction of death as a punishment for murder is not without justification and thus is not unconstitutionally severe.” Questions Why did the Court rule that the death penalty system was unconstitutional in 1972? Why did the Court uphold Troy Gregg’s sentence in 1976? What was the Court’s reasoning in holding that the death penalty itself is not unconstitutional? In his dissent, Justice Thurgood Marshall wrote, “The mere fact that the community demands the murderer’s life in return for the evil he has done cannot sustain the death penaltyThe death penalty, unnecessary to promote the goal of deterrence or to further any legitimate notion of retribution, is an excessive penalty.” Do you agree? Why or why not?

Keywords: [“death”,”penalty”,”Court”]
Source: http://www.billofrightsinstitute.org/educate/educator-resources/lessons-plans/landmark-supreme-court-cases-elessons/gregg-v-georgia-1962/

Law Fish News for 02-19-2018

Examples of Unusual Personal Injury Cases in NM

Interviewer: Can you give an example of two or three of your most unusual or interesting or craziest cases? Will: I had a case where an oil field service truck out in the southeastern part of the state was driving down a two-lane highway. There is nothing out there but sagebrush and jackrabbits. You can bet the dog’s going to dart out and you can bet the child’s going to follow the dog. Now a darting child in front of a car is a defense to hitting a child or hitting somebody. You could avoid this case because you could’ve slowed down. Of course, the dog darted out, the girl went and chased him, and the guy sailed the poor girl 100 feet into the air and ripped most of the skin off of her body and crushed her pelvis. They immediately did the darting child defense and we said. One of the funnier cases I encountered happened long ago. It took almost four hours of a kerosene solution to remove the toupee off the top of his head, and then during the course of the litigation we found out that they spy on their customers! They record them when the customers are debating about whether or not they’re going to buy the unit. The father comes down the hill, going up to his house. The son is right behind him and the father hits the rope and it nearly decapitates him. Slits his throat from ear to ear, blood is gurgling, bubbles out of his throat. Interviewer: I guess the cases can stem from almost anything. A woman hit her head, and caused such a massive brain injury that she lost her ability to speak for almost a year.

Keywords: [“out”,”dart”,”case”]
Source: http://www.waggonerlegalgroup.com/examples-of-unusual-personal-injury-cases/

6 Bizarre Court Cases That Had A Surprising Impact

This story is both an embarrassment to the United States as well as a strange blessing in disguise. During the height of World War II, people of Japanese descent were interred in “Relocation camps” for the duration of the war, regardless of their citizenship. Many lost their homes, their livelihood, and their dignity. One man tried to right this wrong by taking the government to court. The trial, Korematsu v. United States, made it all the way to the Supreme Court where, in an extremely controversial decision, the justices sided with the U.S. They said that the unusual situation met the standard of “Strict scrutiny” – there was a compelling government interest, it was narrowly tailored, and it was the least restrictive means to achieve their goals. The decision was never overturned, although the policy was disavowed and President Reagan personally apologized for it. Its surprising impact is that “Strict scrutiny” became the standard which many laws must meet, including school segregation and interracial marriage. Now, with gay marriage before the Supremes, we will find out if the legacy of this awful era of American history will help overturn another unjust law and give same-sex couples the same rights as everyone else.

Keywords: [“United”,”court”,”government”]
Source: https://www.oddee.com/item_98623.aspx

Small business owner takes on bank in unusual litigation case

Barclays Bank is embroiled in a legal battle with a customer, who has claimed that the institution mis-sold a complex derivatives product. In a landmark case, Ramesh and Rana Parmar allege that the bank had sold interest rate swaps back in 2009, which they not been able to understand. The litigation is particularly unusual in that it is a case brought by a private individual which has proceeded all the way to formal court proceedings. Ordinarily, this type of dispute is settled ahead of a hearing. The Parmars have alleged that they were told that the product at the centre of the dispute could lead to potential losses of £77,000, when in fact they believe the real risk could add up to as much as £300,000. The institution is also alleged to have used a substantial sum of the Parmars’ credit limit in order to shield itself against breakage costs. Mr Parmar, who runs a business in Perivale, North East London, had wanted to pursue the case because he believes a favourable outcome could help other small firms which find themselves in a similar position. The evidence will be considered by Deputy High Court Judge Andrew Hochhauser QC. The hearing is set to get underway today and expected to last until the end of the week.

Keywords: [“Parmar”,”case”,”allege”]
Source: https://joelsonlaw.com/small-business-owner-takes-bank-unusual-litigation-case/

Decision-Making Capacity and Unusual Beliefs: Two Contentious Cases

Decision-making capacity is a vital concept in law, ethics, and clinical practice. Two legal cases where capacity literally had life and death significance are NHS Trust v Ms T and Kings College Hospital v C. These cases share another feature: unusual beliefs. This essay will critically assess the concept of capacity, particularly in relation to the unusual beliefs in these cases. Firstly, the interface between capacity and unusual beliefs will be examined. This will show that the “Using and weighing of information” is the pivotal element in assessment. Next, this essay will explore the relationship between capacity assessment and a decision’s “Rationality.” Then, in light of these findings, the essay will appraise the judgments in NHS v T and Kings v C, and consider these judgments’ implications. More broadly, this essay asks: Does capacity assessment examine only the decision-making process, or is it also influenced by a decision’s rationality? If influenced by rationality, capacity assessment has the potential to become “a search and disable policy aimed at those who are differently orientated in the human life-world”. In contentious cases like these, this potential deserves attention.

Keywords: [“capacity”,”cases”,”assessment”]
Source: http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/28634769