Recently in Civil Rights Law Category
The Second Circuit reluctantly dismissed five lawsuits against Jordan's Arab Bank on Tuesday, ruling that the bank was immune from suit under the Alien Tort Statute. Plaintiffs sought to hold the bank accountable for financing and facilitating terrorist attacks in the West Bank.
Those suits were barred by Second Circuit and Supreme Court precedent, the court explained, while inviting an en banc sitting or the High Court to overrule earlier decisions that have kept terror victims from recovering in court.
A child born to an American is an American citizen -- right? Not exactly. Everyone born in the U.S., of course, gets citizenship, much to Donald Trump's chagrin. Children of American citizens born abroad get "derivative citizenship," or citizenship through parents, only under certain conditions.
When it comes to derivative citizenship, the deciding factor is often the American parent's gender, if the child was born out of wedlock. That means many children born outside the U.S. to an American father, for example, are denied citizenship that would be available had they been born to an American woman. An older version of that system is unconstitutional, a recent Second Circuit decision declared in an opinion that might put current immigration laws at risk.
New York and Connecticut gun control laws prohibiting the possession of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines do not violate the Second Amendment, the Second Circuit ruled Monday. The laws were passed following the December, 2012, school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. In the attacks, 20-year-old Adam Lanza used three semiautomatic weapons to kill 20 children and six adults, firing 156 shots in less than five minutes.
The ruling upholds the core provisions of both laws, which were some of the only gun control legislation successfully enacted after the Sandy Hook attacks.
Your credit is once again as good as gold in New York, thanks to a recent ruling by the Second Circuit. The state's ban on credit card surcharges is not unconstitutional, the court ruled Tuesday. Under the law, companies cannot impose a surcharge on a customer who chooses to pay by credit card rather than cash, check, or gold doubloons.
That law, in place since 1984, was invalidated two years ago when a district court found that it violated merchants First Amendment and due process rights. The Second Circuit disagreed, however, reviving the 31 year old law.
Prosecutors who mislead grand juries aren't protected by qualified immunity and can be sued, the Second Circuit ruled last Friday. The case involved a former New York State Special Assistant Attorney General who submitted fraudulent and misleading evidence to a grand jury in order to indict a dentist accused of Medicaid fraud.
After the dentist, Dr. Leonard Morse, was acquitted, he returned to court to sue the prosecutors, alleging that their manipulation of evidence before the grand jury denied him his constitutional right to a fair trial. A district court jury, and now the Second Circuit, agreed.
You think it would go without saying: corrections officers cannot sexually abuse inmates without violating those inmates' rights. Apparently not. The Second Circuit felt the need to restate the obvious after a district court tossed two inmates' suit, which alleged that they were fondled by correctional officers in violation of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.
Such abuse is clearly unconstitutional, the Second Circuit wrote. Further, it emphasized that the Circuit's Eighth Amendment precedents must be applied broadly to comport with evolving "societal standards of decency" regarding inmate sexual abuse.
Muslim and Arab men who were wrongfully detained can sue former attorney general John Ashcroft and other Bush-era officials for violating their constitutional rights, the Second Circuit ruled yesterday. The class action lawsuit, filed by former 9/11 detainees, alleges that Ashcroft and others established a discriminatory policy of arresting and detaining Muslim and Arab men following the attacks and keeping them in abusive conditions.
In a lengthy ruling, Second Circuit said that under the alleged facts, based largely on a government investigation, the Department of Justice and FBI put in place policies which violated the detainees civil rights and took no steps to stem the abuse when they knew detainees were not terrorism suspects. The development means that the Bivens suit, which has dragged on for over 13 years and which targets officials in their individual capacity, can go forward.
Fernando Bermudez spent 18 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. After a prosecution which was suspect from the beginning -- one which included suggestive photo arrays, police coercion, and a failure to investigate other suspects -- it took Bermudez almost two decades to get his conviction overturned, despite every witness recanting their testimony.
Bermudez will now be able to go forward with a civil suit for damages stemming from his wrongful imprisonment, after the Second Circuit ruled on Monday that there were triable questions of fact as to whether the faulty investigation violated Bermudez's constitutional rights.
The defendant accused and convicted of mail fraud and tax evasion did not waive his right to an impartial jury when his attorneys suspected a biased and dishonest juror but failed to raise contemporaneous objections, the Second Circuit ruled Monday.
David Parse, a former Deutsche Bank broker who was prosecuted because of his involvement in an allegedly illegal tax shelter scheme, saw his trial hijacked by a rogue juror.