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United States: South Dakota Court Vacates Jury Decision Because of Juror’s Internet Search

(Oct. 20, 2009) The South Dakota Supreme Court has upheld a trial court decision to vacate a jury verdict because of a juror's Internet search regarding the defendant in the case. After receiving a summons and questionnaire for a wrongful death case, a juror used Google to find out information about the case's defendant, a […]

United States: Federal Appeals Court Holds Election Funding Regulations for Non-Profits Violate First Amendment

(Oct. 2, 2009) The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has held that Federal Election Commission (FEC) regulations restricting the way non-profit organizations can raise and distribute funds violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and exceeds the commission's authority under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA). The case […]

United States: Federal Court Rules State Law Governs NFL Players’ Drug Test Results

(Oct. 2, 2009) A United States federal appeals court has held that National Football League (NFL) players can use state law to challenge penalties for positive tests of substances banned by the league. In 2006, five NFL players, including two from the Minnesota Vikings, tested positive for a substance banned by the NFL's policy on […]

United States: Appeals Court Holds First Amendment Protects “Repugnant” Picketing of Military Funeral

(Oct. 2, 2009) The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has held that the picketing of a military funeral by members of a church holding signs with “distasteful” and “repugnant” messages was protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In 2006, members of the Westboro Baptist Church picketed the funeral […]

United States: Appeals Court Rules Juvenile Sex Offender Retroactive Registration Requirements Violate Ex Post Facto Clause

(Sept. 22, 2009) In a case of first impression, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has held that retroactive application of a provision of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”), part of the 2006 Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, violates the ex post facto clause of the […]

United States: Federal Court Finds Connecticut Campaign Finance Reform Law Unconstitutional

(Sept. 18, 2009) The United States District Court for the District of Connecticut has held that Connecticut's public campaign financing program, the Citizens' Election Program (CEP), violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by discriminating against minor parties. Connecticut passed the Campaign Finance Reform Act (CFRA) in 2005, after numerous state corruption scandals. The […]

United States: Inmate Lacked Constitutional Privacy Protections to Suppress Incriminating Statement in Letter Seized by Authorities

(Aug. 20, 2009) The Maryland Court of Appeals has held that a prisoner in a maximum security prison did not have a legitimate expectation of privacy to protect his mail from being searched and a letter with an incriminating statement from being used as evidence. A state prisoner was accused of the murder of a […]

United States: Wisconsin Supreme Court Holds Constitutional Protections for Free Exercise of Religion Preclude Age Discrimination Claim

(Aug. 19, 2009) The Supreme Court of Wisconsin has held that a teacher at a Catholic school cannot sue her former school for age discrimination, because the U.S. and Wisconsin constitutions protect the school's free exercise of religion. A first grade teacher brought suit against a Catholic school under the Wisconsin Fair Employment Act, claiming […]

United States: Supreme Court Rules Mining Waste May Be Discharged into Alaska Lake

(July 14, 2009) The U.S. Supreme Court recently addressed jurisdictional issues on enforcement of the Clean Water Act (CWA) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), and sided with the argument that the Corps had the authority to issue a permit to allow mining waste to be discharged […]