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The push and pull of gun control laws and the Second Amendment continued regarding firearm restrictions passed in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. New York and Connecticut passed stricter gun laws in 2013, and a federal court upheld some of those restrictions while invalidating others.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that bans of semiautomatic assault rifles and large-capacity magazines can stand, while striking down provisions against the non-semiautomatic Remington 7615 and limits on gun owners loading more than seven bullets in a clip. You can read the court's opinion in full below:

N.Y. Politician Sheldon Silver Indicted on 5 Counts of Corruption

New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has been indicted on five criminal counts involving millions of dollars in alleged bribes and kickbacks.

The criminal complaint filed Wednesday in federal court accuses Silver, 70, of receiving more than $6 million from two law firms since 2002 through various schemes, reports the New York Daily News. The money allegedly includes more than $3 million in referral fees for directing clients involved in asbestos litigation to one of the law firms.

According to prosecutors, Silver directed state funds to a doctor doing asbestos research in exchange for referrals from this doctor of asbestos cases to the law firm.

Supreme Court: To Rescind Mortgage, a Letter Can Suffice

The Supreme Court ruled today that homeowners can back out of mortgages by writing a letter to the lender.

The unanimous ruling was in favor of Larry and Cheryle Jesinoski, a Minnesota couple who sued Countrywide Home Loans, Reuters reports. Countrywide, now owned by Bank of America, had refused to rescind the couple's $611,000 mortgage, claiming that the Jesinoskis were required to file a lawsuit in order to rescind the mortgage, which they had failed to do by the statutory deadline.

This has been quite a year for breaking legal stories; 2014 has produced some shocking court decisions, grand jury hearings, celebrity deaths, and shady settlements.

Here are the 10 most-viewed breaking legal documents from FindLaw's Courtside blog in 2014:

CFPB Sues Sprint Over 'Cramming' That Cost Customers Millions

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has filed a lawsuit against Sprint, alleging the company illegally billed wireless customers for millions of dollars in unauthorized charges through a practice known as "cramming."

The lawsuit is the third such action the government has taken to combat "cramming" charges on cellphone bills this year, Reuters reports. In October, the Federal Trade Commission reached a $105 million settlement with AT&T over its cramming practices after earlier filing a lawsuit against T-Mobile.

What does the government allege in its latest lawsuit against Sprint?

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?

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."

Bob McDonnell Indictment: Ex VA Gov., Wife Charged With Corruption

The former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife have been indicted on corruption charges shortly after the Republican left office earlier this month.

The 14-count indictment (attached below) details the vast array of favors political donor Jonnie Williams lavished upon the McDonnell family, including:

  • the use of Williams' private aircraft and vacation home, 
  • a nearly $20,000 shopping spree for Maureen McDonnell, 
  • a Rolex watch for the governor; and 
  • catering fees for the wedding of the McDonnells' daughter.

A federal investigation hung over the final months in office for the once-rising star of the Republican Party.

In July, McDonnell apologized and said he had returned more than $120,000 in loans and other gifts from Johnnie Williams, the CEO of pharmaceutical company Star Scientific. On Tuesday he again told The Associated Press reports that he had done nothing illegal on behalf of Star Scientific.

FCC's Net Neutrality Rules Struck Down by D.C. Circuit

A federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down the FCC’s open Internet rules, in a ruling that could give broadband providers more room to charge content companies for faster speeds.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled (see full opinion below) that the FCC lacked the authority to impose anti-discrimination rules because it had failed to classify broadband Internet as a common-carrier service.

The ruling is a blow to the concept of net neutrality, and opens the door for Verizon (and other Internet service providers) to offer managed services or other arrangements where content providers could pay to increase the speed to their content. The Wall Street Journal reports that Verizon (the plaintiff in this case) has indicated it would pursue such an arrangement if it was permitted to do so.

The FCC rules were designed to ensure Internet service providers treat similar content on broadband pipes equally. By enforcing net neutrality, the court found, the agency was imposing rules that didn’t apply to carriers.

Two Texas couples are fighting to prevent Texas' gay marriage ban from being enforced, and filed a motion to block the law in federal court on Friday.

In their motion for preliminary injunction (embedded below), the couples argue that Texas' constitutional amendment which bars same-sex marriages is unconstitutional and should not stop either couple from legal marriage recognition.

The ban has been in place since 2005. But with the recent swell of support for marriage equality and the U.S. Supreme Court striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the legal fight for gay marriage in Texas is closer than ever.

Cleopatra De Leon and Nicole Dimetman joined Victor Holmes and Mark Phariss in filing the federal suit challenging Texas' ban on gay marriage in late October. Both couples argue that the ban deprives them of equal protection and the fundamental right to marry.

In the plaintiffs' latest motion to block the marriage ban, they challenge that if the state of Texas is urging morality as a legal guide, the court should honor the moral ethos of the Constitution "which requires that treat all citizens with equal dignity and respect under the law."