December is not known for ground-breaking legal decisions, especially in light of the very few precedential decisions issued lately. So, in honor of end-of-the-year clean up, and general "keeping yourself busy," we're giving you the run down on some changes to rules and fees.
With Massachusetts judges receiving a $30,000 a year salary increase slated to take effect in July 2014 -- a move that will hike pensions -- a number of judges may retire early.
The salary increase may prompt many judges to step down with higher pensions, leaving Governor Deval Patrick a slew of open spots on the bench to fill near the end of his term.
In 2009, the Supreme Court decided Herring v. United States, a 5-4 decision that held the exclusionary rule does not apply to evidence that is obtained by police mistake and negligence, "rather than systemic error or reckless disregard of constitutional requirements."
We are now seeing the Herring-effect make its way through the circuit courts.
On November 18, 2003, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts propelled the state into making history: Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.
In 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States decided Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, and last week, the First Circuit became the first federal appellate court to apply the holding, and "[t]he results are remarkable," says Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman in his article for Bloomberg.
James "Whitey" Bulger will serve two life sentences plus five years in prison. For relatives of Bulger's victims, confronting the former Boston mob boss in the flesh has been a long time coming.
This week, relatives of those killed by Bulger had an opportunity to face the former gangster at his sentencing hearing and bring his 11 murder victims' stories to life.
The moment highlights the legal void victim impact statements fill, but it also demonstrates the unclear function they serve in our criminal justice system.
Courts are creatures of habit. They like to stick to precedent, and have a hard time changing course. Last week, the First Circuit had to give the district courts in the circuit some guidance on the new "plausibility" standards in federal civil pleadings.
For trademark attorneys with clients in the travel industry, life is good. Last month, we discussed the First Circuit Court of Appeals' recent ruling in Dorpan, S.L. v. Hotel Melià.
But let's take a look at another major takeaway of the case: That a senior trademark user of a mark related to travel is entitled to trademark protection that goes beyond its immediate geographic region.
While the U.S. may not be respecting the privacy interests of the German Republic (or of its Chancellor Angela Merkel), its courts are upholding treaties dating back to the 1950s surrounding the issue of post-WWI Agra Bonds. Last week, the First Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a $7 billion claim against German banks.