Civil Rights Law Decisions: Decided
Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

Recently in Civil Rights Law Category

Back in 2012, the Supreme Court held that mandatory life sentences for juveniles without the possibility for parole are unconstitutional. The question at the time, and one that has been posed to state courts ever since, was whether that ruling applied to inmates already serving life sentences for juvenile convictions.

And now we know the answer. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court decided that its ruling in Miller v. Alabama is retroactive, and those that were previously sentenced to mandatory life terms as juveniles must be eligible for parole. Let's take a look at the Court's ruling.

Jinia Armstrong Lopez was worried that her brother Ronald Armstrong might be a danger to himself. Armstrong had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and paranoid schizophrenia, was off his medication, and was poking holes in his leg "to let the air out." She tried to have him admitted into a hospital, but when he fled, a doctor drafted involuntary commitment papers and the police were dispatched to make sure he didn't hurt himself.

The officers succeeded, but not in the way anyone imagined. Armstrong never had the opportunity to do himself harm because mere minutes after the commitment papers were finalized, Armstrong was declared dead after officers Tased him five times and forcefully restrained him.

In its first major decision of 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Florida's capital punishment sentencing scheme is unconstitutional. The Court held that juries, and not judges, should be the final arbiters of any facts related to handing down a death penalty sentence.

So what does this mean for capital punishment in Florida, and the death penalty nationwide?

For years, New York has tried to clamp down on the city's sex shops. But the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court ruled this week that adult video stores, bookshops, and even topless dancing clubs are all protected by the First Amendment.

Does freedom of speech = freedom of sex?

Just a few days before the one year anniversary of his death, Eric Garner's family reached a settlement in its wrongful-death claim against New York City.

Last year, on July 17, 2014, police attempted to arrest Eric Garner for selling untaxed cigarettes. According to the police, Garner resisted arrest, so one officer used a chokehold, which is prohibited by the Police Department's policies. By the end of the short struggle, Garners' cries of "I can't breathe" subsided, and he died.

Not long after, Garner's family filed a wrongful death claim against the city.

If you haven't heard about the Supreme Court's ruling regarding same-sex marriage in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, you've probably been living under a rock or have never used Facebook before.

FYI: The Supreme Court ruled that marriage is a fundamental right and same-sex couples must be allowed to marry. While you may have heard all about the decision by now, here is a more in-depth look into the case, the ruling, and the dissents.

Free practice of religion and free speech. Our First Amendment protections are a little bit stronger after two of the Supreme Court's recent decisions in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. and Elonis v. United States.

Here is what you need to know about these decisions:

The Supreme Court is reaching the final cases of its October 2014 term, and has some doozies on the docket.

From raisin rights to marriage rights and the right to a humane execution, here are some of the highlights on next week's SCOTUS oral argument calendar.

Supreme Ct. Stays Executions, Will Hear Lethal Injection Challenge

For the first time in years, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether the lethal injection method of execution is constitutional. The decision to hear the case comes shortly after one Oklahoma state prisoner out of four to file the case was already executed.

At least that won't happen to the other three petitioning prisoners: The High Court granted a stay of their executions until the justices make a ruling.

Does this spell the end of the death penalty? And what is "midazolam," anyway?

This has been a big year for landmark decisions and settlements, and FindLaw's Decided was there to cover all of 2014's big legal moments.

There were Supreme Court decisions and denials, companies settling over less than honest business practices, and even a reminder on how social media can screw up a perfectly good legal agreement.

Here's to 2014, and here's the Top 10 cases you loved most from this year: