U.S. First Circuit: November 2012 Archives
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November 2012 Archives

First Circuit: LePage Allowed to Remove Maine Labor Mural

Former Maine Governor John Baldacci commissioned a mural for the waiting area of the Maine Department of Labor in 2007. The mural — meant to convey the value of the labor force and the history of Maine labor — including depictions of a shoe-worker strike, child laborers and Rosie the Riveter.

In 2011, current Maine Governor Paul LePage created a kerfuffle when he ordered the 11-panel, 7-foot-tall mural removed because he considered it biased in favor of organized labor over business interests. The governor’s mural shuffling led to a lawsuit.

The issue: Whether Gov. LePage violated the First Amendment by removing the Maine labor mural from the waiting room. (Yes, these are the great legal questions of our time.)

Obamacare Ruling Can't Defeat Felon in Possession Charge

A federal jury in Rhode Island convicted Arjusz Roszkowski of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and knowingly possessing a firearm with an altered serial number. Among his arguments on appeal, Roszkowski claimed the statutes of conviction were unconstitutional pursuant to the Supreme Court’s recent decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius.

Unsurprisingly, the First Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with Roszkowski’s assertion that the Obamacare ruling held the key to his felon in possession appeal.

It's Blue! No, It's Red! Either Way, It's Admissible

A jury convicted Eric Murdock of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Murdock was sentenced under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) to 216 months in prison. On appeal, Murdock argued that the district court erred by refusing to suppress his statement regarding the color of a bag containing firearms and ammunition.

According to Murdock, the statement should have been suppressed because he was in custody and not given Miranda warnings. The First Circuit disagreed.

Starbucks Tip-Pooling is Illegal in Massachusetts

Reading this case, we get the idea that the Boston-based First Circuit Court of Appeals is not a big fan of Starbucks. That's not particularly surprising, given that Beantown is better known for Dunkin' Donuts.

Starbucks employees — or "partners" in the company lingo — are divided into four subcategories: store managers, assistant managers, shift supervisors, and baristas. Both shift supervisors and baristas are hourly wage employees, often working part-time. Baristas are frontline employees who serve food and beverages to customers; shift supervisors perform those functions and other functions as well. Shift supervisors are usually promoted from the ranks of baristas.

First Circuit Hears Maine Labor Mural Arguments

In 2008, then-Maine Governor John Baldacci commissioned a mural for the waiting area of the Department of Labor in Augusta, using $60,000 in state funds. The mural was meant to convey the value of the labor force and the history of Maine’s labor, including depiction of a shoe-worker strike, child laborers and Rosie the Riveter. In 2011, current Maine Governor Paul LePage created an uproar when he ordered the 11-panel, 7-foot-tall mural removed because he considered it biased in favor of organized labor over business interests.

That uproar eventually led to a federal lawsuit. This year, a district court ruled that the mural was government speech and Gov. LePage was allowed to remove it. A group consisting of two union officials and three artists are appealing the decision. Monday, the First Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the matter.

Court Skips Suppression Review Because It Wouldn't Matter Anyway

If government agents seize a cell phone incident to an arrest, can they search the contents of that phone two weeks later without a warrant?

The First Circuit Court of Appeals declined to answer that question this week, realizing that it would be a waste of time in Justin Green's drug ring appeal.