Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

November 2017 Archives

Maryland was already one of the ten toughest states when it comes to gun control laws. And then the state's General Assembly banned the sale of military-style rifles and detachable magazines in 2013, in the wake of the deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Guns rights groups challenged the Firearm Safety Act on Second Amendment grounds, but it was upheld by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. As expected, that decision was appealed to the Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case, leaving the Fourth's Circuit's decision in place.

There are times when a person's immigration status will be relevant in a court of law. Say, if a person is accused of falsifying documents to hide that status. It could also come up if a witness is receiving some immigration benefit in exchange for or in order to facilitate their testimony. In an on-the-job personal injury case? Immigration status is not so relevant.

So said the Washington Supreme Court back in 2010, when it granted an injured worker a new trial on the grounds the jury in his first may have been prejudiced by knowledge that the man had overstayed his visa. Last week, the court officially adopted that rule of evidence, making immigration status "generally inadmissible" in both civil and criminal court.

Chicago's indecent exposure ordinance is quite specific, including a ban on the display of "any portion of the breast at or below the upper edge of the areola thereof of any female person" in public. Sonoku Tagami is not a fan of the law, and decided to celebrated "GoTopless Day 2014" by walking the streets of Chicago naked from the waist up, wearing only body paint on her breasts.

Tagami was ticketed for public indecency and challenged the charge all the way to the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which last week sided with the city and upheld the topless ban as constitutional. But the real fireworks came in the back-and-forth between Judge Diane Sykes's majority and Judge Illana Rovner's dissent. Here's a look:

Most public officials or departments have some social media presence from the President of the United States on Twitter (who tweets from two different accounts) to the local township trustee on Facebook. And these accounts can raise some interesting First Amendment issues, especially when it comes to blocking access to posts.

Just a few months ago, Twitter users blocked by President Donald Trump filed a lawsuit claiming they are being denied access to a public forum. Likewise, in Ohio, residents in Warren County sued the Hamilton Township Trustee for censoring differing opinions on his public official Facebook page. While the former lawsuit is still being litigated, the latter was settled last week, with David Wallace, Jr. agreeing to unblock residents and stop deleting posts.