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Florida's ban on same-sex marriage was struck down in federal court Thursday as being a violation of constitutional rights, though the decision won't take effect immediately.

In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Hinkle found that Florida's prohibition on same-sex nuptials infringes on the "fundamental right" to marriage under the 14th Amendment's Due Process and Equal Protection clauses.

Hinkle stayed his own ruling, pending the outcome of gay marriage decisions in several other states, including Virginia, where the U.S. Supreme Court imposed a stay on a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision allowing gay marriage while it determines whether or not it wants to hear the case.

Six federal trademark registrations owned by the Washington Redskins were cancelled by an appeal board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The board ruled the term "Redskins" is disparaging to a "substantial composite" of Native Americans.

The immediate legal impact of the ruling, which can be appealed to federal court, could be limited, however. The Washington Redskins football team is not required to stop using the name.

But Wednesday's 2-1 board ruling (attached below) could give critics of the term another shot to urge Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder to change it.

"[W]e decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be canceled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered," said the 2-1 ruling by a panel of three administrative trademark judges at the patent agency, also known as the PTO.

If the trademark ruling survives any potential appeals, the Redskins would lose certain rights and find it harder to crack down on unauthorized sales of merchandise with the team's name and logo.

"This probably isn't going to affect the team's ability to run the business or enforce its rights," Marc Reiner, an intellectual-property lawyer at Moss & Kalish PLLC, in New York, told The Wall Street Journal. "This is just a government body saying that it's inappropriate to have this as a registered trademark."

Donald Sterling has formally responded to the NBA's lifetime ban, claiming it was illegal under California law to oust him based on a "lover's quarrel" that was "illegally recorded."

In Sterling's response (attached below) he says the racist, hateful remarks were uttered in private settings and that he never had knowledge nor provided consent to have them recorded.

Sterling is not going to go down without a fight, it seems. Sterling's lawyer, Max Blecher, told ESPN that his client "is going to fight to the bloody end."

The recording of Sterling's private remarks to V. Stiviano was arguably are unlawful under California law. And the NBA is attempting to throw him out based on the recording.

If the NBA was suing Sterling in a court of law, the recording would likely be deemed inadmissible under rules of evidence. But, as Sterling acknowledges, the NBA's internal system of justice doesn't follow courtroom rules of evidence.

Donald Sterling's answer also included a cover letter that the Los Angeles Times reports he has received offers "in excess of $2.5 billion" to buy the Clippers.

This is appropriate, considering today is Law Day, and the ABA's theme for 2104 is voting rights.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Ohio Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the League of Women Voters of Ohio, and several African-American churches, after state officials passed a law and issued a mandate ending multiple early voting opportunities for Ohio voters in advance of the 2014 election.

Ohio Senate Bill 238 targets "Golden Week," which allows voters to register and vote on the same day, during the week preceding the election, while a directive from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted eliminates voting on Sundays, evenings, and the Monday before Election Day.

The ACLU's press release notes that low-income individuals often take advantage of the evening and weekend voting, either because they cannot take time off of work to vote, or because these times make finding child care opportunities easier. Homeless individuals benefit from the Golden Week same-day registration and voting. The complaint also notes that a disproportionately high percentage of early voters are African American.

This isn't Ohio's first attempt to end early voting. According to the ACLU, the state passed a law eliminating both the Golden Week and three days of early voting before Election Day, but the law was repealed by the legislature after voters organized a ballot referendum to strike it down.

In 2012, Husted eliminated the same three days of early voting for non-military voters, but a lawsuit by the Obama campaign forced the state to restore the early voting days.

Texas Gay Marriage Ban is Unconstitutional: Fed. Judge

A Texas law barring same-sex marriage has been struck down and ruled unconstitutional. But Judge Orlando Garcia's decision (attached below) doesn't mean gay marriages can be held in the Lone Star State.

In the latest ruling in the national fight for gay marriage, Judge Garcia placed a stay on the decision, anticipating an appeal by the state. While there is a preliminary injunction on the state's ban, the stay means the ban will remain in effect for now.

"Today's court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent," Garcia held. "Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution."

Miami Dolphins lineman Jonathan Martin was indeed subjected to racial slurs and vicious sexual taunts about his mother and sister by Richie Incognito and two other teammates, according to the long-awaited report released by prominent attorney Ted Wells' on Friday.

Incognito was the ringleader of three players who orchestrated "a pattern of harassment" not only on Martin, but also another unidentified young offensive lineman and a member of the team's athletic training staff. Be warned: Wells' 150-page report (attached below) contains some extremely vulgar language.

The harassment by Incognito and fellow offensive linemen John Jerry and Mike Pouncey contributed to Martin's departure from the team in October, according to Ted Wells' 150-page report (attached in full below).

"The Report finds that the assistant trainer repeatedly was the object of racial slurs and other racially derogatory language; that the other offensive lineman was subjected to homophobic name-calling and improper physical touching; and that Martin was taunted on a persistent basis with sexually explicit remarks about his sister and his mother and at times ridiculed with racial insults and other offensive comments," Ted Wells states in his summary.

Wells says his inquiry found Martin was taunted and ridiculed almost daily. After Martin left the team in October, Incognito boasted about "breaking Jmart" in a notebook the linemen used to tally fines and bonuses among themselves. When the investigation began, Incognito asked another player to destroy the book, but investigators obtained it.

"As all must surely recognize, the NFL is not an ordinary workplace," the report states. "Professional football is a rough, contact sport played by men of exceptional size, speed, strength and athleticism. But even the largest, strongest and fleetest person may be driven to despair by bullying, taunting and constant insults."

Woman Files Lawsuit to Prove She is Alive

A St. Louis woman has spent months trying to convince people that she's alive. Now she has filed suit to say reports of her death are greatly exaggerated.

In a peculiar federal lawsuit (attached below), Kimberly Haman has sued her local bank and a major credit reporting company to prove she is not among the deceased.

She has been turned down for a credit card and twice denied refinancing on her mortgage due to her "deceased" status, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Haman alleges the problem began when Heartland Bank reported her death to Equifax. She says she has repeatedly asked Heartland and Equifax to fix the error, to no avail.

The suit claims a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which allows recovery of compensatory and punitive damages, lawsuit costs and statutory penalties of up to $1,000 per violation.

Insane Clown Posse Sues FBI: 'Juggalo' Fans Not a Gang

Rap group Insane Clown Posse has sued the FBI for labeling fans of the band as criminal gang members, leading to their harassment by law enforcement.

FBI analysts, using law enforcement and media reports of crimes committed by people wearing “Juggalo” tattoos and clothing, concluded in the 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment that they are a “loosely organized hybrid gang.”

The lawsuit was filed in federal District Court in Detroit by lawyers for the band and for the ACLU of Michigan. Plaintiffs include the Insane Clown Posse founders Joseph Bruce and Joseph Utsler, who perform as Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope.

Also listed as plaintiffs are four Juggalos (as fans of the band are called) from Nevada, California, North Carolina and Iowa. They offered details of incidents in which they said they had been subjected to police harassment or other punishments for identifying with Insane Clown Posse.

“Juggalos are a ‘family’ of people who love and help one another, enjoy one another’s company, and bond over the music and a philosophy of life,” the complaint, filed Wednesday, states. “Organized crime is by no means part of the Juggalo culture.”

The gang designation violates fans’ constitutional rights, including free speech, freedom of association and the right to due process, the complaint argues.

“Among the supporters of almost any group — whether it be a band, sports team, university, political organization or religion — there will be some people who violate the law,” the suit said. “However, it is wrong to designate the entire group of supporters as a criminal gang based on the acts of a few. Unfortunately, that is exactly what happened here.”

The FBI has yet to comment on the lawsuit.

LA Jail Abuse Indictment: Officials Abused Visitors, Beat Inmates

Los Angeles Sheriff's deputies beat jail inmates and visitors without justification, unjustly detained people and conspired to obstruct a federal investigation into misconduct at the jail, according to indictments unsealed Monday.

18 current or former deputies were arrested Monday by the FBI in a mass show of force, The Los Angeles Times reports. The most damning indictment (attached below) states that an official encouraged deputies to use excessive force and make unlawful arrests of visitors.

Visitors to the jails, uncharged and unsuspected of any crime, were reportedly abused and harassed over the past few years, according to the indictments.

Even an Austrian consulate official was improperly arrested and searched, according to the indictment.

That incident occurred in 2011 when the official and her husband were visiting an inmate who was an Austrian national accused of a crime.

An animal rights group has filed a writ of habeas corpus in New York state court, declaring that a caged chimpanzee is entitled to rights as a legal person.

The Nonhuman Rights Project, Inc. filed this legal petition on Tuesday, arguing that the court should grant Tommy, a captive chimpanzee in Gloversville, New York, legal personhood and the freedom that comes with it, reports the New York Times.

Although the petition (see below) does not request that Tommy to be set free to roam upstate New York, it does demand his “immediate release to a primate sanctuary” which can adequately provide for his needs.

Writs of habeas corpus are typically used by criminal defendants, as a way to legally challenge their imprisonment as unlawful. Tommy’s habeas petition would attempt to both obtain his release from his cage as well as have the law recognize him as a person.

Key to this legal strategy is a strange quirk in New York state law, which allows pets and other animals to be considered beneficiaries of trusts. The Nonhuman Rights Project believes this is evidence that New York state has and does consider animals as legal persons with property rights — and therefore Tommy has the same right to liberty as a human.