U.S. Ninth Circuit - The FindLaw 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

9th Circuit October 2013 News

Fruit of the Poison Tree: Two Confessions Don't Make it Right

Kenneth Lujan's marriage was ending. His wife left him in early 1998. He regularly stalked her after the separation, and when she threatened to get a restraining order, he threatened her life. He was eventually arrested for making terrorist threats and stalking, but it didn't curb his behavior. In early August, he returned to her residence at two o'clock in the morning and chased her inside.

One week later, he drove by her home and saw her becoming "intimate" with Officer Gilbert Madrigal. After seeing them together, Lujan hid in the shadows, waited for them to exit, and then beat them to death with a concrete block.

Anaheim 'Fast and Furious' Police Shooting Gets En Banc Rehearing

We thought there was something funny about the officer's testimony about his fear while being trapped in a rapidly accelerating vehicle, especially considering the glacial pace of a Mazda MPV at top speed. Judge Clifton thought so too, tossing out 0-60 times like he was writing for Car and Driver, rather than a dissent.

Judge Clifton's numbers must've worked, however, as this police shooting case, one of a series of shootings that led to the Anaheim race riots, was just granted an en banc rehearing this morning.

Judge Fletcher, Like His Mother, Gives NYU Death Penalty Lecture

Judge William Fletcher followed in the footsteps of his honorable mother once again. He delivered the James Madison Lecture at New York University School of Law, speaking out against the death penalty, nine years after his mother, the late Judge Betty Binns Fletcher spoke about the death penalty in her own Madison Lecture.

Both Judge Fletchers served on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, with the liberal Judge Betty Fletcher taking senior status as part of a 1998 deal with Republican senators, in exchange for a confirmation of her son to the bench. Despite taking senior status, she continued to have an active caseload until her passing in 2012, hearing more than 400 cases in the year before her death, reports The New York Times.

Updates on 9th Cir. Nominees: Delays and Disclosures

The Munger, Tolles, and Olson Twins, John Owens of Los Angeles and Michelle Friedland of San Francisco, both BigLaw partners, Stanford alums, and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals nominees, are back in the spotlight. We covered their initial nomination back in August, but now that they are getting closer to confirmation, the candidates' disclosures are being made public.

And while Owens was set for a confirmation hearing today, he has since been bumped to next week, along with a handful of other nominees.

Nev. Same-Sex Marriage Briefs Filed; Hawaii Lawmakers to Meet Mon.

The two formerly consolidated legal battles for same-sex marriage have now diverged, with one pushing forward in the Ninth Circuit, as well as possibly on the ballot, while the other is headed toward a special legislative session showdown.

In Nevada, same sex-marriage advocates submitted their opening briefs this week in the Ninth Circuit with a "trickle down" equality sort of argument, while in Hawaii, both sides of the debate are gearing up for Monday's legislative session.

Friday Frivolity: Van Halen Sues Ex Wife For Using Her Name

Alex and Eddies' band is hot over more then just their teacher. They've brought suit right now against Alex's ex wife for violation of the band's trademark by using their name in her construction and interior design business.

Except, it's her name too. Can someone really be sued for violating a trademark when that trademark is her own last name?

Investor Who Bilked Funds Gets More Than He Plea-Bargained For

Collins "Collie" Christensen Sr. probably feels like he got a bad deal, like he got ripped off.

We suppose that's how his victims felt. The former Sacramento socialite pled guilty in 2011 to ripping off investors and collecting $2.39 million in funds -- $985,994 of which were misappropriated and $507,805 of which were used on personal expenses, such as his $13,000-per-month mortgage, his daughter's college tuition, and gambling in Biloxi, Mississippi.

The U.S. Attorney recommended a sentence of 33 months. The guidelines called for 41 months, which factored in the total amount of losses and his acceptance of responsibility. The court sentenced him to 60 months, noting a 28-year-old felony conviction and the long list of victims.

AZ's 'Unintelligible' Immigrant Harboring Statute Voided

Another of Arizona's oft-criticized and oft-litigated immigration statutes has been voided by the court, pending any further appeals.

The section at issue in this appeal, § 13-2929, deals with transporting, concealing, harboring, or shielding an unauthorized alien from detection and applies to "a person who is in violation of a criminal offense." Last year, a district court judge enjoined enforcement of the statute, holding that the plaintiffs had established a high probability of success on their claims that the statute was unconstitutionally vague and preempted by federal laws.

U.S. v. Apel: Eccentric Protesters Meet Military in SCOTUS Appeal

To give you a hint as to the sort of, um... interesting individuals involved in this case, and the other legal battles that forced this case to the U.S. Supreme Court, we'll start this post with a description of a few colorful characters in the assorted cases, courtesy of a feature profile on the protestors by the Santa Barbara Independent.

Hobart Parker: A retired "rude, crude and socially reprehensible" ironworker who has spent the last 15 years protesting at Vandenberg Air Force Base. He occasionally wears tighty-whities on top of his jeans and sometimes, when the mood strikes, he "moons" military personnel. He has been arrested and convicted for protesting at the base.

Dennis Apel: A "social-justice agitator" who also enjoys protesting at Vandenberg. When the Iraq War commenced, he sprayed a syringe of his own blood on a sign at the base entrance, which led the base to ban him from the premises. He has been arrested 17 times for protesting there since, with three prosecutions and convictions resulting.

Ocean Avenue: The setting of the protests, this is a road built on an easement granted by the United States, to the State of California, and relinquished to the County of Santa Barbara. There is an area designated for protests, nearly three football fields' length away from the first security checkpoint.

Walden v. Fiore: SCOTUS Reviews Limitless Personal Jurisdiction

We've heard of long-arm jurisdiction, but this case puts both Wilt Chamberlain's wingspan and Stretch Armstrong to shame.

Gina Fiore and Keith Gipson are professional gamblers. On their way back from rounding in Puerto Rico, they were questioned about the large amount of cash on their persons by a DEA agent. During their subsequent layover in Atlanta, another DEA agent, Anthony Walden, questioned them, and this time, seized their cash.

Despite the agent's best efforts, and an allegedly falsified probable cause affidavit, the pair proved that their money was from legal gambling, not drugs. Seven months after it was seized, their $97,000 was finally returned. They then sued Agent Walden and others in federal court in Nevada.

Stretching Jurisdiction to Cover Foreign Torts and Corporations

DaimlerChryster (DCAG) isn't located on these fair shores. The German corporation is as foreign to Northern California as lederhosen and pumpernickel, yet they are being sued in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Nor was the alleged tortfeasing done in California. DCAG's Argentinean subsidiary allegedly committed human rights violations in Argentina in the late 1970s during the "Dirty War," hiring state agents to remove left-wing dissidents from the plant during the aftermath of a military coup. Many of the dissidents were never heard from again.

9th, SCOTUS Each Asked to Review Facebook Privacy Settlements

Sponsored stories: where Facebook publishes a user's "like" of an item without their permission to others, without compensation, notification, or an ability to opt-out.

The short story: a lawsuit ensued, a settlement was reached, that settlement was rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Seeborg (who also heard the previous Facebook privacy class action), as the proposed amounts were "plucked out of thin air," and then, once again, a settlement was reached. Now, according to Courthouse New Service, the Ninth Circuit will be asked to take a second look.

SCOTUS Takes 'Raging Bull' Case; Does 9th Cir. Favor Hollywood?

It was a defense that does not exist anywhere in copyright statutes. It also inspired a passionately dissenting concurrence (hates the law, bound to apply it). Now, the Ninth Circuit's invocation of "laches" as a defense to ongoing copyright infringement has attracted the review of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Other commentators, who claim that the Ninth Circuit is Hollywood-biased, hope that a possible reversal will stem the tide of studio-friendly holdings by the court once dubbed by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski as "court of appeals for the Hollywood circuit," reports Variety.