9th Circuit Civil Rights Law News - U.S. Ninth Circuit
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When Mario Garcia was arrested for a DUI in Riverside County, California, the police booking system matched him to an outstanding felony warrant in Los Angeles. Garcia was quickly transferred to L.A.

Except the police had the wrong Mario Garcia. And despite Garcia's numerous objections, officers refused to perform even the most basic checks, checks which would have revealed their mistake. In so failing, the Ninth Circuit ruled on Wednesday, the Los Angeles County, the L.A. Sheriff's Department, and individual officers forfeited their legal immunity.

9th Circuit Affirms Arizona Judge Speech Laws as Constitutional

Our nation's most liberal circuit, the Ninth Circuit, just affirmed a lower district's ruling that judges cannot endorse other judges or political groups while angling for their own judge's seat.

The circuit found that despite legal arguments Wolfson presented, the Arizona laws put in place to limit judge speech survived the high bar of "strict scrutiny" review.

9th Cir. Overturns Conviction for Military Medals Con-Man

The Ninth Circuit swooped in for the rescue of a man convicted under Stolen Valor Act for having unlawfully worn military decorations and medals that he did not earn. The court ruled that the section of the act under which he was convicted was unconstitutional.

There was dissent among the judges. Hon. Jay Bybee, who wrote the dissenting opinion, countered that the majority underestimated the negative effects of disallowing criminal punishments for flouting the law; and that letting persons wear medals they did not earn would damage public trust and cause confusion.

'Koch Brothers, Show Us Your Donors!' 9th Circuit Says

Back in the days of the Watergate scandal, Congress vowed to beef up tax-donor and privacy protections in order to minimize "potential and actual disclosure." Over time, it became widely accepted that donors could make monetary contributions to organizations listed as non-profits without the need to file the usual "Schedule B."

Enter California Attorney General Kamala Harris who began to demand the filing of Schedule Bs under the threat of sanction and fees against the donees. Fury Ensues. No matter, the Ninth Circuit will expose you as a donor to the Koch brothers in the end.

The University of Hawaii did not violate the constitution when it denied a student teaching position to a candidate who said that "the age of consent should be zero" and had no problems with "child predation."

That denial meant that secondary education candidate Mark Oyama could not become a teacher in Hawaii, but it did not violate his free speech or due process rights, the Ninth Circuit ruled on Wednesday.

When James McKinney was sentenced to death for two murders, evidence of his turbulent childhood and post-traumatic stress disorder wasn't considered a mitigating factor. For over 15 years, Arizona courts relied on a "causal nexus" test for mitigating factors, which forbids consideration of family background and mental illness as mitigating factors.

Arizona's causal nexus test for mitigating factors is unconstitutional, a divided Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, ruled on Tuesday. The decision not only puts McKinney's death sentence into question, it could jeopardize many Arizona capital sentences issued between 1989 and 2005.

The "machinery of death" is creaking back into action in California after a Ninth Circuit decision revived the state's capital punishment system today. In a surprising ruling last year, Judge Cormac Carney declared that the state's death penalty system was so slow and arbitrary that it constituted cruel and unusual punishment. He ordered the whole thing shut down.

But that ruling has now been overturned on a technicality, with the Ninth announcing today that the district court should not have entertained the argument in a habeas review.

Immigrants housed in civil detention facilities will have greater access to bond hearings and potential release thanks to a Ninth Circuit ruling yesterday. Currently, thousands of immigrants are held in detention facilities for extended periods of time, awaiting rulings on their immigration status.

Those detainees will now have a greater chance of gaining release on bond while they wait for their case to be settled, thanks to the Ninth Circuit.

Did Immigration Services Violate FOIA? 9th Cir. Finds Case Moot

Attorney James Mayock brought a suit against the Federal Agency claimed that USCIS had engaged in a "pattern and practice" of violating the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for well over several decades. The Ninth Circuit, however, found that Mayock failed to prove standing and that the case was actually moot.

The ruling further suggests that any immigration attorney should think twice before bringing a suit alleging personal harm that is actually the harm of his clients.

9th Cir. Reverses Lower Court ADEA Age Discrimination Case

Last August, the Ninth Circuit reversed the lower district's summary judgment in favor of the Department of Homeland Security when a border patrol agent sued the branch of the agency alleging violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, better known as ADEA.

In the lawsuit, government employee John France alleged that he had been passed over for promotion to Assistant Chief Patrol Agent with a pay scale of GS-15 because he was the oldest candidate who applied. The Department of Homeland Security demurred and the Appellate Court finally reversed, ruling that the facts did not support summary judgment.