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Marijuana will remain on the federal list of Schedule I drugs, next to heroin and LSD. After a five day evidentiary trial, the District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a motion to dismiss an indictment involving marijuana growing, which challenged the classification was unconstitutional.

Under the Controlled Substances Act, Schedule I drugs are those which have a high potential of abuse and "no currently accepted medical use." Defense lawyers for 16 men accused of growing marijuana challenged the listing of marijuana as a Schedule I drug, arguing that it violated the Tenth Amendment's limitations on federal power. Marijuana is legal for medical use in 23 states.

Probationers in the great state of Arizona can't be denied their right to toke up -- for medical reasons! -- according to the state's Supreme Court. Nor can the state condition plea agreements on one's abstention from medical marijuana.

In two cases decided on Tuesday, the court recognized the "broad grant of immunity" created when the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act was passed by public referendum five years ago. AMMA prohibits penalizing qualified medical use or possession in any way. That includes forbidding its use in probation and plea agreements, the court held.

Online credit card scammers must pay $26 million following an FTC action over the scheme. The U.S. District Court of Nevada ruled that Cardflex, Blaze Processing, Mach I Merchanting and their officers, operating together through a series of iWorks websites, had fraudulently and illegally bilked consumers out of millions of dollars.

The iWorks scam promised consumers that they could get rich quick through online advertising and obtain government grants to pay off personal debts. Instead, consumers were enrolled in membership plans and repeatedly charged for services that were not delivered.

Back in May, Arizona joined a host of other states in criminalizing "revenge porn," defined there as the distribution of a nude depiction of another adult without the other's consent. Arizona's law made it a class 5 felony, and a class 4 if the person was recognizable, meaning a sentence of six months to three years depending on the offense.

Such laws have been introduced, or enacted, in 28 states. Civil liberties groups, however, contend that, as written, they suffer from some serious constitutional defects. Right before Thanksgiving, the Arizona Attorney General, recognizing these problems, agreed to stay enforcement of Arizona's law pending further developments.

Back in 2012, Californians decided to double down on punishment for registered sex offenders. Proposition 35 required sex offenders to provide law enforcement with a list of their "Internet identifiers," which could include email addresses, Facebook accounts, or even a user name on an obscure online forum. (Note that Prop. 35 was largely about increasing penalties for human trafficking; the part about sex offender Internet accounts was barely ever mentioned.) Failure to provide law enforcement with written notice of additions or changes to these identifiers, within 24 hours, would subject the offender to criminal penalties.

On the day the proposition took effect, several registered sex offenders sued to block the law's enforcement on First Amendment grounds and on the ground that it was void for vagueness. The district court enjoined enforcement and the Ninth Circuit affirmed.

One-Word Mistake by Judge Nixes Conviction, 50-Year Sentence

I will now explain the presumption of innocence and the people's burden of proof. The defendant has pleaded guilty to the charges. The fact that a criminal charge has been filed against the defendant is not evidence that the charge is true. You must not be biased against the defendant just because he has been arrested, charged with a crime, or brought to trial. A defendant in a criminal case is presumed to be innocent. This presumption requires that the people prove each element of a crime and special allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.

See the problem? "The defendant has pleaded guilty to the charges." Except, this was on the eve of trial. And there would be no trial if he had pleaded guilty. This seems like common sense. Except, as many lawyers have found out, jurors lack common sense.

After closing arguments, during deliberations, the jury sent the judge a note inquiring about the guilty plea. The judge tried to cure his error with remedial instructions and juror polls. But last week, the Ninth Circuit held that the judge's best efforts were not enough, and granted habeas relief to Bryant Keith Williams.

Las Vegas is set to become the focal point for a Fourth Amendment issue that's as brazen as it is kooky.

Suspecting several high rollers staying at Caesars Palace were engaged in an illegal bookmaking operation, the feds allegedly cut off Internet access to their $25,000-per-night private villa, then posed as repairmen to enter the villa, snoop around, and use that snooping as the basis for a subsequent search warrant.

SCOTUS Starts Bullying Early, Reverses 9th in Habeas Appeal

Given that the Ninth Circuit is a perennial contender for most frequently reversed, it was not a huge surprise to see the Supreme Court toss one of their decisions in the shredder. It was a bit surprising, however, to see it happen so quickly -- before oral arguments began, and on the same day the Court released an orders list clearing much of its summer cert. petition backlog.

Why did the Supreme Court give the Ninth Circuit the quick and swift rejection, like a gowned and gaveled Dikembe Mutombo? It's the much-maligned Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), and more specifically, the Ninth Circuit's completely botched application of its review standard.

5 Judges Issue 3 Dissents From Habeas Grant to Interrogated Teen

Yesterday, we (again) brought you the tale of Tio Sessoms, a then-teenaged suspect who kinda-sorta asked for counsel. The en banc Ninth Circuit, on its third take on the case, granted habeas relief for the second time, after a Supreme Court cert. grant and summary reversal.

This time, a majority of the Ninth Circuit held that Sessoms' two statements ("There wouldn't be any possible way that I could have a -- a lawyer present while we do this?" and "Yeah, that's what my dad asked me to ask you guys ... uh, give me a lawyer.") were an unambiguous exercise of his right to counsel.

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski "reluctantly" dissented. Four other judges also dissented across two more opinions.

Why? One word: deference.

On SCOTUS Remand, Teen Gets Habeas Relief From En Banc 9th Cir.

In 1999, a then-19-year-old burglary and murder suspect named Tio Dinero Sessoms was interrogated by police officers. They did not advise him of his Miranda rights, and after a bit of overly polite small talk, Sessoms stated, "There wouldn't be any possible way that I could have a -- a lawyer present while we do this?"

The detectives began to parry his question, which led Sessoms to meekly mention that his father "asked me to ask you guys ... uh, give me a lawyer."

If that was an unambiguous request for counsel, questioning should have stopped. But the trial court and California appellate courts held that the two statements were not unambiguous (the first was a question, the second was a statement about his father's advice) and let his subsequent incriminating statements into the trial and his conviction to stand.

Now, on its third take on the case, an en banc Ninth Circuit has granted habeas relief.