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California's 30-Day Impound Law Violates 4th Amendment

If police impound your client's car for driving on a suspended license, chances are the police won't give it back until the client pays a hefty fine and penalties.

In California, it also means the client won't get the car for 30 days. Or so it used to be, until one feisty driver sued the police for violating her Fourth Amendment rights.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said police unlawfully held onto a driver's car after she presented a valid driver's license and offered to pay the fees. The court in Brewster v. Beck said she was entitled to reclaim her property and pursue damages.

9th Circuit Affirms California's Ban on Liquor Store Ads

Reversing its previous decision, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed California's ban on advertising by alcohol manufacturers and wholesalers in liquor stores.

The en banc court reversed an earlier three-judge panel in the case. Ruling 10-1 in Retail Digital Network v. Prieto, the majority said the ban did not violate the advertiser's commercial speech rights to place ads in liquor stores under California Business and Professions Code Section 25503(h).

"This is not the first time we have considered such a challenge Section 25503(h)," Judge Richard Paez wrote for the court. "Thirty years ago, in Actmedia, Inc. v. Stroh, 830 F.2d 957 (9th Cir. 1986), we rejected a First Amendment challenge to that provision."

9th Hands Trump Another Travel Ban Loss

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dealt another blow to President Trump's travel ban orders, saying that immigration policy is "not a one-person show."

"We conclude that the President, in issuing the Executive Order, exceeded the scope of the authority delegated to him by Congress," the court said in State of Hawaii v. Trump.

It is the second court of appeals to rule against the president's latest travel ban. The first appellate decision, issued by the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judges Can't Routinely Shackle Defendants

A federal appeals court ruled that judges cannot shackle criminal defendants routinely, and must consider each defendant's circumstances on a case-by-case basis before imposing the restraints.

In a split decision, the majority of the en banc panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said it is unconstitutional to shackle defendants in court because it contravenes their presumption of innocence. It doesn't matter whether the proceeding is before a jury, a judge, or in a routine appearance.

"A presumptively innocent defendant has the right to be treated with respect and dignity in a public courtroom, not like a bear on a chain," the court said in United States v. Sanchez-Gomez.

'Google' Trademark Survives 'Genericide'

A federal appeals court ruled Google may keep its trademark for the name, despite claims that the word has come to mean "to search the internet."

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said trademarked names can lose their proprietary meaning as they become generic terms. However, the court rejected an argument that "Google" is synonymous with search engine.

In Elliott v. Google, the court said the plaintiff had presented admissible evidence that "google" is used as a verb. But that does not prove it no longer means "Google," the company.

Ex-Millionaire's Sentence for Fraud Upheld

Where to begin the story of Luke Brugnara, the former real estate mogul turned art con...

His criminal spiral downward began sometime in 2014. His sentence will not be over until about 2022. Perhaps the best place to start is in the middle of his case, when the judge granted him a furlough to meet with his attorneys at the courthouse.

Brugnara ran -- literally. He fled on foot and evaded capture for several days. During the course of the trial, the judge held him in contempt dozens of times. It was a trial of the justice system as much as a trial of the defendant.

Ninth Circuit Questions Trump's Travel Ban

As demonstrators rallied outside a Seattle courthouse broadcasting a live hearing inside, a panel of judges listened to arguments about whether they should consider President Trump's anti-Muslim statements in ruling on his latest travel ban.

Jeffery Wall, acting solicitor general for the United States, told the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals not to consider Trump's campaign statements but only his comments once he took office. Wall said the president's executive order does not ban Muslims, only people from certain countries.

Judge Richard Paez, who asked the most pointed questions during the hearing, compared Trump's order to the one that put Japanese immigrants and their families into American internment camps during World War II.

"There was no reference to Japanese in that executive order, and look what happened," Paez said.

Oakland Law Regulating Donation Bins Doesn't Violate 1st Amendment

A federal appeals court ruled that a city did not violate the First Amendment by regulating the placement of charitable donation bins.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the regulations did not target any messages the bins might have conveyed. Instead, the court said in Recycle for Change v. City of Oakland, the law applies equally to businesses and non-profits to reduce illegal dumping, graffiti and blight.

"The ordinance regulates the unattended collection of personal items for distribution, reuse, and recycling, without regard to the charitable or business purpose for doing so," Judge Ronald Gould wrote. "That conduct is neither expressive nor communicative."

Employers Can Pay Women Less Than Men Due to Salary History, 9th Cir. Rules

A woman can be paid less than a man for the same work based on salary histories, a federal appeals court said.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said that pay disparities between men and women are lawful if the difference is based on salary history and not gender. It is equally true whether a man or a woman is paid more than the other.

In Rizo v. Yovino, the appeals court turned back arguments by the plaintiff and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that unequal pay perpetuates gender discrimination. An employer may pay men and women differently without undermining the Equal Pay Act, the court said.

Breaking Up the Ninth Circuit Is Hard to Do

After another legal setback, President Trump said Tuesday he was 'absolutely' considering proposals to split the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals because of its 'ridiculous rulings' against him.

Trump has repeatedly criticized judges since his first and second travel bans were overruled, and spewed more of the same after the latest decision knocking down his order against sanctuary cities. He said his opponents were "judge shopping" because of the circuit's reputation as a liberal jurisdiction.

"There are many people that want to break up the Ninth Circuit," he said. "Everybody immediately runs to the Ninth Circuit because they know, that's like, semi-automatic."

While Trump's tirade is new, the call to reorganize the Ninth Circuit is not. Republicans have been complaining about the "Ninth Circus" since Jimmy Carter was president.