How Appealing

Friday, July 18, 2008

Another federal appellate court holds that the crime of aggravated identity theft requires proof that the defendant knew that the means of identification belonged to another person: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, in a ruling that you can access here, becomes the second federal appellate court to so hold in two days.

Yesterday, in a ruling that you can access here, the majority on a divided three-judge Ninth Circuit panel reached the same result. Interestingly, today's First Circuit ruling was written by a senior Ninth Circuit judge sitting by designation.
Posted at 09:15 PM by Howard Bashman



"State Supreme Court narrows probable-cause grounds in pot case; Law-enforcement officers who smell marijuana coming from a vehicle can't arrest all of the occupants, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday": This article appears today in The Seattle Times.

And The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported today that "Pot smell isn't cause to arrest everyone in a car; Police need more evidence, state justices say."

You can access yesterday's ruling of the Washington State Supreme Court at this link.
Posted at 08:55 PM by Howard Bashman



By a vote of 10 to 3, the en banc U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit holds unconstitutional a federal law criminalizing the sale of creation, sale, or possession of depictions of animal cruelty: You can access today's en banc ruling at this link.

According to the majority's opinion, the "case is the first prosecution in the nation under [the federal statute in question] to proceed to trial, and this appeal represents the first substantive constitutional evaluation of the statute by a federal appellate court."

The majority opinion, written by Circuit Judge D. Brooks Smith, begins:

The Supreme Court has not recognized a new category of speech that is unprotected by the First Amendment in over twenty-five years. Nonetheless, in this case the Government invites this Court to take just such a step in order to uphold the constitutionality of 18 U.S.C. sec. 48 and to affirm Robert Stevens' conviction. For the reasons that follow, we decline the Government's invitation. Moreover, because we agree with Stevens that 18 U.S.C. sec. 48 is an unconstitutional infringement on free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, we will vacate his conviction.
Back in October 2006, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had an article headlined "Dog fight videos called free speech" reporting on the oral argument of the appeal before the original three-judge Third Circuit panel. It appears that the Third Circuit took the case en banc before that three-judge panel issued any ruling. And in January 2005, The Associated Press reported on the trial of the case in an article headlined "Dogfight video seller on trial for cruelty; Virginia man is first charged under 1999 federal statute."

In related coverage, a little over one year ago, Adam Liptak of The New York Times had an article headlined "First Amendment Claim in Cockfight Suit." Liptak's new beat for The NYTimes is the U.S. Supreme Court, which is where the case that the en banc Third Circuit decided today is likely heading next.
Posted at 03:15 PM by Howard Bashman



"In this appeal we clarify the extent to which the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 permits the Food and Drug Administration to regulate a common practice of pharmacies known as 'compounding.'" So begins an opinion that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued today.

As the opinion goes on to explain, "Drug compounding is the process by which a pharmacist combines or alters drug ingredients according to a doctor's prescription to create a medication to meet the unique needs of an individual human or animal patient."
Posted at 03:00 PM by Howard Bashman



Immigration judge's statement on the record that "[t]he 9th Circuit does not comply with Supreme Court law with regard to asylum" proves not to be a successful strategy for achieving affirmance in the Ninth Circuit: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued this ruling today.
Posted at 02:40 PM by Howard Bashman


"Judge: 'World's eyes on Guantanamo'; Lawyers: no appeal now." Lyle Denniston has this post at "SCOTUSblog."

You can access at this link the opinion that the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued today in Hamdan v. Gates.
Posted at 02:30 PM by Howard Bashman



"Government says it can hold captured teen fighters": The Associated Press provides a report that begins, "The Bush administration is telling a federal appeals court that it has the authority to detain a Canadian who was captured in Afghanistan when he was 15 and is accused of killing a U.S. soldier."
Posted at 02:20 PM by Howard Bashman


D.C. Circuit holds, for purposes of an employment discrimination claim based on disability asserted under the federal Rehabilitation Act, that engaging in sexual relations qualifies as a major life activity: Two judges on the three-judge panel joined in today's ruling, while another dissented on other grounds.
Posted at 12:03 PM by Howard Bashman


"Bin Laden driver is 1st test of Gitmo trials": The Associated Press provides this report.
Posted at 11:50 AM by Howard Bashman


"Ashcroft Testifies on Interrogation Policy; Letter of Law Was Followed, He Says": This article appears today in The Washington Post. And Dana Milbank's "Washington Sketch" column is headlined "John Ashcroft, Riding Back on a White Horse."
Posted at 10:17 AM by Howard Bashman


"State Supreme Court gives new protection to endangered species; Commercial interests may be liable for unforeseen losses of wildlife, unanimous court rules": Maura Dolan has this article today in The Los Angeles Times.

You can access yesterday's ruling of the Supreme Court of California at this link.
Posted at 10:10 AM by Howard Bashman



"Gun Registrations Off To Slow Start in D.C.; One Application Received on First Day": This article appears today in The Washington Post, along with an article headlined "Why a New Revolver Is Still Out of Reach: City's One Dealer Has Inactive License."

The Washington Times reports today that "District begins licensing pistols; Appeal victor turned away."

And USA Today contains an article headlined "No rush to register handguns in D.C.; Emergency law in effect after justices toss ban."
Posted at 09:35 AM by Howard Bashman



"Riviera Beach now can enforce 'saggy pants' law; Fixing a legal glitch means police can enforce ordinance": The South Florida Sun-Sentinel contains this article today.
Posted at 09:20 AM by Howard Bashman


"Rulings Clear Military Trial of a Detainee": This article appears today in The New York Times.

The Washington Post reports today that "Judge Says Detainee's Trial Will Proceed."

Carol J. Williams of The Los Angeles Times reports that "First Guantanamo war-crimes trial set to begin; A federal judge rejects defense appeals to postpone the proceedings -- slated to start Monday -- against Osama bin Laden's former driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan."

Warren Richey of The Christian Science Monitor reports that "Judge allows Hamdan military trial to go forward; It's a win for the Bush administration, which insists that Guantánamo proceedings are necessary to fight the war on terror."

And The Washington Times reports that "Judge allows start of military tribunals."
Posted at 09:14 AM by Howard Bashman



"Judge Tells Reporter To Explain Spy Story": The Washington Post today contains an article that begins, "A federal judge in California has ordered Washington Times reporter Bill Gertz to appear in court next week to explain why he needs to protect the identity of confidential sources he used in writing an article about a spy case, and why he considered the subject newsworthy."
Posted at 09:10 AM by Howard Bashman


"Texas Turns Aside Pressure on Execution of 5 Mexicans": This article appears today in The New York Times.
Posted at 08:25 AM by Howard Bashman


Unless you're a law blogger, that is: Marcia Coyle of The National Law Journal has a report headlined "D.C. Circuit: Sleeping Is 'Major Life Activity.'"
Posted at 08:00 AM by Howard Bashman


"What the Past Term Reveals About the Roberts Court: Evidence that the Court Is Disturbingly Elitist and Anti-Democratic." Edward Lazarus has this essay online at FindLaw.
Posted at 07:58 AM by Howard Bashman


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