In USA v. Pabon, the First Circuit helped clarify that under applicable laws, sex offenders must not violate the registration requirements of local laws of sex offenders or of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act. Defendants would do well to understand that the more egregious their criminal background is, the harder it is to secure sympathy from the court.
Recently in Civil Rights Law Category
The First Circuit partly affirmed a lower district ruling ordering Zhong H. Chen and his wife Chu H. Ng to hand over business and financial records pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act, the federal act intended to pry open records relating to possible overseas financial criminal activity.
The case highlights the tensions between the right against self incrimination and the government's need to review documents under the Required Records Doctrine.
The affirmative action hot-potato case of Fisher v. University of Texas is back in SCOTUS and already causing people to froth at the mouth. Justice Antonin Scalia kicked off public gasps with a question that suggested that black and Hispanic students might perform better at less competitive schools. His comments would result in massive response from minority students who wished to intervene in a challenge to Harvard's race-based admissions practices. Well, the First Circuit has ruled that this appearance may not move forward.
Now that this most critical of affirmative action cases is back in the nation's highest court, can the public expect any consistency as to the constitutional place race should or ought to play in college admissions?
Not all fruit that falls from a "poisoned" tree is without use, a recent First Circuit case reminds us. The First Circuit rejected Marcia Garcia-Aguilar's petition for review and affirmed the Bureau of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) and an Immigration Judge's finding that use of her birth certificate in establishing her alienage was not a violation of her Fourth Amendment right against unlawful search.
Garcia's case is a gentle reminder that the "fruit of the poisonous tree" doctrine is not an absolute bar to evidence that may have been improperly obtained.
The case of Jarvis v. Village Vault was decided by the First Circuit last week in favor of the Massachusetts business, Village Vault.
The legal issue revolves around how much government entanglement is needed in order to turn a seemingly private entity into an arm of the government thereby triggering due process concerns.
The trouble began when Pan Am Railway Co. together with its former president, David Fink, sued Atlantic Northeast Rails and Ports in U.S. District Court in 2011. In Fink's complaint, he alleged that ANRP damaged his company by distributing defamatory articles via electronic and email newsletters.
Defendant Chalmers Hardenbergh responded with the legal equivalent of "so what?" and "don't shoot the messenger."
In 2012, police in Portland, Maine declared a "public safety emergency." Too many people, it seemed, were panhandling. Asking "brother, can you spare a dime," the mendicants would often stand on busy street corners and medians, entreating drivers as they passed by. Concerned that panhandlers would stumble into traffic -- or just wanting to keep the poor out of sight and out of mind -- the Portland City Council adopted a resolution banning virtually all activity in median strips.
The law banned virtually every use of a media, except for passing over it when crossing a street. Standing, sitting, staying -- all were illegal when done on a median. That indiscriminate ban on "virtually all expressive activity" violates the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech, the First Circuit ruled last Friday.
Puerto Rico began accepting applications for marriage licenses from same-sex couples yesterday, less than three weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that gay and lesbian couples have a fundamental right to marriage. Puerto Rico was the only part of the First Circuit that had not legalized same-sex marriage prior to the Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell.
The District Court of Puerto Rico was also one of the few federal courts to uphold a same-sex marriage ban in recent years. The First Circuit formally reversed that opinion in a brief judgment issued last Wednesday.
The First Circuit, in an opinion by former Supreme Court Justice Souter, upheld a Massachusetts police officer's excessive force conviction stemming from an assault on an arrestee. Shawn Coughlin, a cop in Plymouth, Massachusetts -- yes, the Plymouth of Plymouth Rock fame -- was sentenced to a year and a day in prison after beating a handcuffed arrestee in a holding cell and falsifying records to impede the federal investigation.
On appeal, Coughlin claimed that there was insufficient evidence that his actions, striking the arrestee in the head and kneeing him in the torso, resulted in bodily injury. Not so, said the First Circuit. If it looks like a beating and sounds like a beating, it probably feels like one too -- and that's enough for a jury to decided that there was bodily injury.
A man convicted of burglary in Massachusetts did not have his rights violated when the state court limited his cross-examination of the victim and when the prosecutors withheld the 911 transcript, the First Circuit held on Wednesday.
In both cases, the court found, the information and theories the defense wished to advance were still introduced to the jury despite the alleged violations. The unpublished opinion was authored, perhaps with a fountain pen, by former Supreme Court Justice David Souter.