U.S. Ninth Circuit: January 2012 News
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9th Circuit January 2012 News

San Diego Will Have Close Encounters of the Ninth Kind February 6

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals occasionally transforms itself into a sort of traveling circus, visiting law schools and letting students delight in the joy of seeing a real-life Article III judge. (Most recently, the court dazzled the students at UC Irvine.)

If you missed the last off-site hearing, you’re in luck: Next week, the three-judge panel of Ninth Circuit Judges Margaret McKeown, Milan Smith, Jr., and Senior District Judge Rudi Brewster will hold a hearing at the University of San Diego School of Law.

Banner Case: Will SCOTUS Consider Teacher's Free Speech Rights?

Will the Supreme Court consider whether a California teacher can display an “In God We Trust” banner in his classroom?

This week, Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. announced that it is asking the Supreme Court to weigh in on the banner case.

In September, we told you about the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in which the court ruled that the Poway Unified School District did not violate math teach Bradley Johnson's free speech rights when it him to remove two, seven-foot “patriotic” banners from his classroom.

SORNA Trumps Juvenile Delinquent's Privacy Concerns

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that juvenile offenders can be required to register under Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

Despite the defendants' arguments that SORNA registration undermined the confidentiality provisions of the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act (FJDA), the court determined that Congress intentionally carved out a discretion exception in SORNA.

Reversed: Warrantless Entry in Threat Suspect's Home Reasonable

The Supreme Court has once again overruled the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, this time in a warrantless entry case.

The Court issued a per curiam opinion Monday morning in Ryburn v. Huff, finding that officers who entered a suspect's home without a warrant while investigating a threatened school shooting acted reasonably under the rapidly-escalating circumstances, and were protected by qualified immunity.

Party Pooper: Ninth Circuit Affirms Washington Open Primaries

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Washington's open primaries this week, allowing the state to proceed with its policy of advancing the top two vote-getters in a primary to the general election, regardless of their party affiliations, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Washington's Republican, Democratic and Libertarian parties challenged the open primaries on the grounds that the elections limited their constitutional right of association by taking away their authority to choose their candidates.

Ninth Circuit to Hold Jan. 18 Hearing at UC Irvine School of Law

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is once again taking its show on the road. The court will hold a special session on Wednesday, January 18, 2012, at the University of California (UC) Irvine School of Law.

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, and Circuit Judges Kim McLane Wardlaw and Richard A. Paez will hear arguments tomorrow starting at 10 a.m. in the law school's Robinson Courtroom at 401 East Peltason Drive. While the hearing is open to the public, a photo ID is required to enter the courtroom, and there will be security checks with hand-wand magnetometers at the courtroom entrance.

Child Abuse Law Not Applicable: Civil Rights Lawsuit Time-Barred

If you're trying to decide whether to file a client's claim in state court or federal court, one option you should weigh is whether the claim could be time-barred in one of your choices.

Today's Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case presents a tough lesson in how that choice can affect the outcome of a case.

Ryan Bonneau was 34 when he filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against his former teachers, principal, and school district in federal court, alleging that the teachers had beaten him from 1986 to 1988 while he was an elementary school student. The district court dismissed Bonneau's claim as time-barred.

'Don't Touch my Junk' Could Stop a Warrantless Search

Warrantless pat-down suspects could learn a thing or two from the Don't-Touch-My-Junk passenger.

Sure, a traveler who opts out of full-body, virtual strip searches at the airport still must submit to a full-body, enhanced pat-down, but the "don't touch my junk" request can still be useful for stopping non-TSA, warrantless pat-downs.

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that a warrantless, full-body pat-down, which included a little groin-area groping, was a reasonable search that did not exceed the suspect's consent.

Rogue Court Overturns Would-Be Gunman Kurt Havelock's Conviction

Republican presidential-hopeful Rick Santorum wants to abolish the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals because the Kozinski-led crew form a "rogue court."

Never mind the logistical nightmare that would emerge from axing the largest appellate circuit and banishing its life-tenured jurists to Guam; Santorum's plan would succeed in eliminating opinions like last week's reversal in U.S. v. Kurt Havelock from ever seeing the ink of Westlaw.

Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Havelock's conviction for mailing threatening communications, finding that threatening communications must be addressed to an individual, natural person to fall within the scope of the crime.

Washington Contribution Limit Violates Free Speech Rights

Appellate courts have been handing down plenty of new decisions on election laws as the 2012 election season heats up. The catalyst, of course, was the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which lifted campaign spending restrictions to permit corporations and unions to funnel unlimited funds into “electioneering communications.”

Citizens United prompted a Seventh Circuit decision last month enjoining a Wisconsin campaign finance law, and a Montana Supreme Court decision last week, upholding that state’s limits on corporate spending in political campaigns. (The dissenting opinion in the Montana case, Western Tradition Partnership v. Attorney General, suggests a conflict with Citizens United.)