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

No Qualified Immunity for Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Newspaper Lawsuit

“America's toughest sheriff” is going to need America's toughest litigators: The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that the owners of the Phoenix New Times can sue the Maricopa County Sheriff's office for their 2007 arrests, reports the Huffington Post.

The two men, Michael Lacey and Jim Larkin, are suing Sheriff Joe Arpaio for $15 million, alleging false arrest, due process violations, and selective prosecution.

As you might guess, there's no love lost between Sheriff Arpaio and the PNT, the weekly newspaper at the center of the case.

9th Cir: Daughter's Delay in Filing Copyright Claim is Raging Bull

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday that the daughter of the writer who co-authored source material for the Martin Scorcese film Raging Bull waited too long to file her copyright claims, reports Courthouse News Service.

Paula Petrella filed a copyright infringement action against assorted Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer companies, United Artists, and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, (the defendants) in 2009. According to Petrella, the defendants infringed her purported interest in the material that allegedly formed the basis for the 1980 film, Raging Bull. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants, holding that Petrella’s claims were barred by the equitable defense of laches.

This week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that decision.

California Prop 8: Waiting on the Nine

Judge James Ware has officially closed Perry v. Brown, the California Prop 8 case, more than six months after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the law is unconstitutional, Buzzfeed reports.

Same-sex couples, however, still cannot marry in the Golden State until the U.S. Supreme Court either issues a ruling in the matter, or rejects a petition to review the case.

Let’s go back and track Perry v. Brown through this never-ending mess of litigation.

Judge Kozinski Schools Whiners on Grounds for Judicial Misconduct

It's really hard to fire people. When you actually find a way to get rid of an employee who isn't performing well, then you have to worry about a lawsuit, (which your insurer will probably force you to settle).

While everything you know to be right and good may not matter in an employment lawsuit, it does still matter in a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judicial misconduct complaint.

Today, we have the tale of a complainant who alleged that a district judge mishandled the termination of two former employees and interfered with one of the employee's efforts to get a new job.

The complaint didn't go very far.

Judge: Nevada Voters Can't Choose 'None of the Above'

When voters feel disenfranchised or disappointed with their political choices, they tend to stay home from the polls. Except in Nevada.

In Nevada, voters can choose from a field of named candidates, or they can select “none of these candidates.”

At least they could until this week.

Lie Hard: Court Affirms Director's False Statement Conviction

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals doesn't care if you directed Die Hard and The Hunt for Red October.

You have to be able to support a burden of proof, not a blockbuster cast to win a criminal appeal in this circuit.

Ninth Circuit Conference Was Good for Hawaii's Self Esteem

The Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference wrapped up Thursday at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa in Maui, Hawaii.

Before we close the book on the conference that left a two-year hangover, we have a few final thoughts on the Ninth Circuit's conference planning and benefits.

Rage Against the Machine (Gun)

Matthew Wayne Henry got swept up in the do-it-yourself spirit, but the fruits of his labor were more likely to be featured in Soldier of Fortune than on Etsy or Pinterest.

Henry converted a .308 caliber rifle into a machine gun. After the cops got wind of his project, Henry was convicted of knowingly and unlawfully possessing a machine gun, among other machine-gun-related crimes.

Henry appealed, claiming that he had a Second Amendment right to rapid firepower. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed.

Suit Not Dead, Just Playing Possum: 9th Denies Qualified Immunity

We typically don’t cover the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ unpublished opinions, but every once in a while there’s a sleeper case that suddenly springs to our attention. (Brief thanks to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.)

In 2008, Lorenzo Oliver’s 12-year-old son, C.B., hit an opossum on the head with a shovel after it (allegedly) attacked the Oliver family’s bulldogs. Both Oliver and his son were arrested on animal cruelty charges, though they were never charged. They were miffed that Anaheim cops hauled them to jail for trying to kill an opossum, so they sued the cope for wrongful arrest.

9th Cir Overturns Award for Warrantless Wiretap Damages

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals announced on Tuesday that the federal government does not have to fork over $2.5 million in attorneys fees to an Islamic group targeted in the Bush administration's warrantless wiretap program, reports The Associated Press.

In the opinion, the appellate court noted that the plaintiffs could only collect from individual government officials, not the federal government, but that specific claims against FBI Director Robert Mueller were not sufficient to warrant damages and could not be amended. As such, Mueller was dismissed from the case.

Top 5 Legal Issues from Jared Lee Loughner's Prosecution

Jared Lee Loughner has pleaded guilty to the Arizona shooting rampage that injured 13 and left 6 people dead, reports The Wall Street Journal. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Loughner will get life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Loughner’s case has been in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals repeatedly since the January 2011 shooting, as the court questioned whether Loughner should be forcibly medicated to become competent to stand trial. Here are the top 5 legal issues that came up in the Loughner case.

Bruce Matthews Loses NFL Lawsuit, Cal Workers' Comp Claim

Bruce Matthews played football in the National Football League (NFL) for 19 years, first for the Houston Oilers and later for its successor team, the Tennessee Titans (Titans). He retired in 2002. In 2008, Matthews filed for workers’ compensation benefits in California.

Matthews claimed pain and disability resulting from injuries incurred while he was employed by the NFL at “various” locations over years of “playing and practicing professional football.” He didn’t allege that he sustained any particular injury in California.

Ninth Circuit Enjoins Ariz. Abortion Law, Fast Tracks Appeal

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals won’t let Arizona enforce its new abortion law until the appellate court gets to review it.

Wednesday, the Ninth Circuit enjoined enforcement of the provisions of Arizona House Bill 2036 that restrict abortions starting at 20 weeks. The order will place H.B. 2036 on hold for at least two months, if not longer, reports YumaSun.com.

Protect Marriage Asks SCOTUS to Uphold California Prop 8

Protect Marriage, the organization that sponsored California Proposition 8, thinks that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is 'misguided," according to the Los Angeles Times.

Not that that comes as a surprise.

In February, a Ninth Circuit panel struck down Prop 8, finding that "Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples." In June, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied en banc rehearing in the case. Now, Protect Marriage is asking the Supreme Court to reverse that decision.