CourtSide - The FindLaw Breaking Legal News Blog

October 2014 Archives

Maine Judge Rejects In-Home Quarantine for Ebola Nurse Kaci Hickox

A judge in Maine has reversed a temporary in-home quarantine order for a nurse who treated Ebola victims in West Africa. The judge's new order, issued Friday, removes many of the restrictions initially placed on the nurse's movement.

Judge Charles C. LaVerdiere had issued a temporary order Thursday, requiring nurse Kaci Hickox to submit to in-home monitoring and be subject to restrictions on her movement. The order was in response to a petition filed by the state, reports the Portland Press Herald.

Hickox had refused to abide by the state's request that she voluntarily restrict her movements, and even went out for a bike ride Thursday. So far, Hickox has tested negative for the Ebola virus and has not shown any symptoms of potential infection.

FBI Allegedly Posed as Repairmen to Illegally Search Vegas Villa

A group of Chinese high rollers is accusing the FBI of posing as Internet repairmen in order to secretly infiltrate and search their Las Vegas villa.

As part of a motion to suppress evidence filed in federal criminal court on Tuesday, the men accused of running an illegal gambling operation out of their hotel assert that FBI agents illegally snuck in to investigate. The document warns that the next time your Internet or phone service goes out, it could actually be an elaborate plot by federal agents trying to gain access to your home.

Can FBI agents legally do this sort of alleged "repairmen" ploy?

Fox Sued Over 'Simpsons' Character; Actor Wants $250M

You might recognize Frank Sivero from such films as "Goodfellas" and "The Godfather Part II." But what about "The Simpsons"?

Sivero apparently recognized himself in a semi-recurring character on Fox's animated television series "The Simpsons." Sivero has filed a $250 million lawsuit against Fox claiming that the character Louie, who has appeared in 16 episodes of the long-running hit show, is based on the character Sivero "developed and played" in the 1990 mob film "Goodfellas."

What's the basis of Sivero's eye-popping lawsuit?

Gay Couples in Ariz. Can Marry Immediately: State Atty. General

Arizona gays and lesbians can get married now pursuant to a letter by Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne.

The letter, issued early Friday, instructs the Grand Canyon State's 15 county clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples immediately, following a recent decision by a federal district court that demanded Arizona stop enforcing its gay marriage ban. The Arizona Republic reports that Horne issued a statement Friday declaring that an appeal on the issue would be "an exercise in futility" and a waste of taxpayer money.

So what is the legal effect of A.G. Tom Horne's letter for gay marriage in Arizona?

Ebola: Temporary Restraining Order to Keep Ashes Out of La.

Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell has been granted a temporary restraining order to prevent the disposal of ashes from the incineration of an Ebola victim's possessions in a Louisiana landfill.

The TRO was granted by a Louisiana judge on Monday, reports The Washington Post. The order blocks the potential disposal in the state of ashes generated by the incineration of Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan's possessions. Duncan died earlier this month in Dallas, and his possessions were incinerated in order to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

What led to Caldwell's concern about the ashes?

DA Wants Adrian Peterson Rearrested After Alleged 'Weed' Comment

Prosecutors in NFL running back Adrian Peterson's Texas child abuse case have filed a motion to have his bond set aside in the case and have Peterson rearrested after Peterson allegedly admitted to smoking marijuana.

Peterson was arrested on charges of felony child abuse last month after allegedly disciplining his 4-year-old son with a wooden "switch." Following his arrest, Peterson posted $15,000 bond and was released.

But now prosecutors want a judge to set aside Peterson's bond in light of comments he allegedly made while undergoing mandatory drug testing earlier this week.

Idaho, Nev. Gay Marriage Bans Are Unconstitutional: 9th Cir.

Idaho and Nevada's gay marriage bans were struck down as unconstitutional on Tuesday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A three-judge panel of the federal appellate court found that both states' laws were in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection under the law. In their majority opinion, the judges also found that each state had failed to meet the level of scrutiny applied to laws which discriminate against gays and lesbians.

What does this ruling mean for states in the 9th Circuit?

Ferguson Police Can't Tell Protesters to 'Keep Moving': Fed. Judge

A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Monday that will prevent police in Ferguson, Missouri, from enforcing a "keep moving" rule on protesters.

This unofficial rule, also known as the "five second rule," has been used to keep protesters in Ferguson from standing still for too long. Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri, believes that this practice has been applied "haphazardly" and tended to increase tension among protesters, reports MSNBC. U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Perry found these rules to be unconstitutional, as they infringed on protesters' constitutional rights.

What was Judge Perry's reasoning behind finding the "keep moving" rule unconstitutional?

Here Are SCOTUS' Orders Denying Gay Marriage Cases (and 100s More)

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear five gay marriage appeals, along with hundreds of other cases.

In an 81-page Order List issued Monday, the High Court detailed a slew of cases that it would hear in its 2014 Term (which began today), but gay marriage cases from five states were not among them.

Because same-sex marriage appeals from Utah, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Virginia were rejected, the rulings striking down those states' gay marriage bans are now in effect. So what happens next?

Kan. Democrats Don't Have to Field a U.S. Senate Candidate: Court

Normally you expect candidates to petition to be included on a ballot, not fight in court to be taken off. Well wake up Dorothy, because you're in Kansas politics now -- and a state court has declined to force the Democratic Party to field a candidate for U.S. Senate on the November 4 ballot.

A three-judge panel announced Wednesday that a legal petition to force Kansas Democrats to put forward a replacement for ex-candidate Chad Taylor, who quit the race two weeks ago, was supported by zero evidence and lacked legal standing.

Why was this political issue before the state district court in Shawnee, Kansas, in the first place?