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United States: Washington State Supreme Court Upholds Library’s Internet Filtering Policy

(June 15, 2010) The Supreme Court of Washington, in a ruling issued on May 6, 2010, has held that a library district does not violate the state's constitutional right of free speech by filtering Internet content on its public access computers and declining to disable the filter upon request to allow adult patrons to access […]

United States: Federal Appeals Court Panels Address Whether Students’ Punishment for Myspace Pages Violates First Amendment Free Speech Protections

(Mar. 30, 2010) Two panels of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued rulings on the same day, reaching different results on whether the United States Constitution permits a student to be punished by school officials for statements published on a Myspace page created outside of school. Both Layshock v. Hermitage School […]

United States: Ohio Supreme Court Holds Warrantless Search of Cell Phone Violates United States Constitution

(Jan. 26, 2010) The Ohio Supreme Court has held that the warrantless police search of a cell phone violates the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Ohio municipal police convinced a woman to call appellant Antwaun Smith to arrange a purchase of illegal drugs at the woman's home. Smith was arrested there and his […]

United States: Montana Supreme Court Holds State Law Permits Physician Assistance of Suicides by Terminally Ill Patients

(Jan. 26, 2010) The Montana Supreme Court has held that Montana law allows a physician to aid the suicide of terminally ill patient. With this decision, Montana joins Oregon and Washington as states that allow the physician-assisted suicide of mentally competent, terminally ill patients. The plaintiffs in this case included a terminally ill patient who […]

United States: New York Court Upholds Constitutionality of Condemnation of Private Property for Removal of Blight

(Dec. 14, 2009) The New York Court of Appeals, New York State's highest court, has held that a state condemnation authority can use its eminent domain power to acquire property for a private development project to remove urban blight. The case involves a private developer's plan to develop 22 acres in Brooklyn for a basketball […]

United States: Appellate Court Affirms Restrictions on Federally Funded Legal Aid Organizations

(Dec. 14, 2009) A federal appellate court has ruled that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution permits restricting government-funded legal aid organizations from lobbying, soliciting clients, participating in class actions, and seeking attorneys' fees. The U.S. Government, through the Legal Services Corporation (LSC), distributes federal funds to organizations that provide noncriminal legal assistance […]

United States: Appellate Court Holds Excessive Sampling of George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog” Violated Copyright

(Dec. 14, 2009) A U.S. federal appellate court has upheld a jury verdict awarding copyright infringement damages to owners of the rights to George Clinton's 1982 classic, “Atomic Dog,” against a hip-hop group that used samples of that song in a new composition. The lawsuit was brought by the rights owners of Atomic Dog, which […]

United States: Convictions of Terrorist’s Legal Team Upheld, While Sentence of Attorney Ruled Too Lenient

(Dec. 14, 2009) A U.S. federal appellate court has upheld the convictions of members of Sheikh Omar Ahmad Ali Abdel Rahman's legal team for passing communications between him and a federally designated terrorist organization. The appeal concerned the convictions of attorney Lynne Stewart, Mohammed Yousry, and Ahmed Abdel Sattar. Stewart represented Rahman, who was convicted […]

United States: Arizona Supreme Court Holds Metadata Can Be Subject to Public Records Requests

(Nov. 17, 2009) The Supreme Court of Arizona has held that metadata – “information describing the history, tracking, or management of an electronic document” – can be subject to disclosure under the state's public records laws. A police officer filing an employment discrimination complaint made a public records request under the Arizona public records law […]

United States: Minnesota Supreme Court Holds That Bong Water Can Be a Controlled Substance

(Nov. 13, 2009) The Supreme Court of Minnesota has held that bong water can be a controlled substance under state criminal law. A defendant was arrested on multiple drug charges, including the commission of a first-degree controlled-substance crime. Under Minnesota law, a person possessing “one or more 'mixtures' that contain a controlled substance and that […]