2nd Circuit Civil Rights Law News - U.S. Second Circuit
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We've been meaning to cover this case for a few weeks now, but with breaking new developments related to the Central Park Five settlement, and the at long last release of the "drone strike" memo, we were distracted. But now, we can now take a look at one of the most important Second Circuit Fourth Amendment cases to be heard this year.

And the court didn't stop there. It also gave district courts some suggestions on dealing with jurors' use of social media and the importance of jury instructions.

In 2011, the United States engaged in drone strikes in Yemen that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an al Qaeda leader, and al-Awlaki's son -- both U.S. citizens. The killing was authorized by a Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel memorandum ("OLC Memo"), examining the legality of such an authorized killing -- that is, how U.S. criminal law and Constitutional law applied to the killing of U.S. citizens abroad who are deemed "enemy combatants."

Two writers for The New York Times, along with the ACLU, each submitted Freedom of Information Act requests related to documents that authorized the killing of U.S. citizens by drone strike. The Second Circuit agreed that redacted copies of the memorandum should be released back in April, and the Government later sought rehearing en banc.

Yesterday, after years of waiting, the Second Circuit ordered the release, and released a redacted copy of the memo.

Growing up in the New York area in the 1980's, there were two cases that really made an impact on me, and the nation: Bernard Goetz's vigilante subway shooting, and the case of the Central Park Jogger. Bernard Goetz's enraged shooting was somewhat understandable, though over-reactive, on a visceral level. But the rape and near-fatal beating of a solitary woman jogger just boggled the mind. I can't go running to this day, without giving her a thought.

And while that case took place in 1989, the central park jogger case is still making headlines, as the wrongly convicted five men are now on the verge of reaching a settlement with the City of New York.

In April, the Second Circuit ordered the disclosure of a redacted Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel ("OLC") memo that essentially laid out the legal analysis that authorized the killing of U.S. citizens abroad by drone strike.

Last week, the Government submitted a motion seeking leave to file an ex parte and in camera motion for rehearing en banc of the court's April decision. The next day, the Second Circuit issued its ruling. Read on to see what the court decided.

Take a look at a dollar bill or a coin. Ever noticed the phrase, "In God We Trust?"

Yeah, me neither. But thanks to 31 U.S.C. §§ 5112(d)(1) and 5114(b), the slogan is mandatory on coinage and paper currency. Eleven individuals, including a coin collector, a teacher, atheists, secular humanists, and others, all argue that they are harmed by the placement of the slogan.

It might've been an interesting argument -- if it weren't the umpteenth time the argument has been brought, unsuccessfully, in federal court.

Last week, voters with disabilities were vindicated when the Second Circuit affirmed a district court's ruling that New York City failed to provide accessible polling locations for people with disabilities.

And while voters gained more access to the polls, SAC's Michael Steinberg was sentenced to 3-1/2 years' imprisonment for insider trading.

The town of Greece, New York starts town hall meetings with a prayer, and that practice was challenged by two Greece residents who argued that the town was aligning itself with the Christian faith and that the prayers were not secular, but sectarian.

The district court found for the Town of Greece, and the Second Circuit reversed, stating "a legislative prayer practice that, however well-intentioned, conveys to a reasonable objective observer under the totality of the circumstances an official affiliation with a particular religion violates the clear command of the Establishment Clause."

On Monday, the Court issued five opinions -- let's just say this was a close one.

A case 12-years in the making was argued on appeal before a panel of the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals last Thursday, and it may potentially go on for a few more, according to The Associated Press.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, on behalf of plaintiffs -- men of Arabic, South Asian or Muslim backgrounds, initiated an action regarding the unlawful detention of men after the 9/11 attacks. A district court dismissed the claims against former Attorney General John Ashcroft and former FBI Director Robert Mueller, but it looks like the Second Circuit is poised to revive the claims.

In 2011, the United States engaged in a drone strike in Yemen that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an al Qaeda leader -- and U.S. citizen. The strike also killed Samir Khan, another U.S. citizen. A month later, al-Awlaki's son, also a U.S. citizen, was killed in a drone strike. These killings instigated protests against killing U.S. citizens without fair trials, reports The Guardian.

As a result, two writers for The New York Times, along with the ACLU, each submitted Freedom of Information Act requests related to documents that authorized the killing of U.S. citizens by drone strike. What happened next takes us to a trip to the Second Circuit.

A case that's been up and down the Second Circuit several times since 1994 is once again in the spotlight. And, the latest in the recent slew of art-related cases in the Second Circuit involves the sale of forgeries for millions. Details below on the latest on Second Circuit legal news.

Rothko Forgeries

New York art gallery Knoedler & Company, several of its employees, and an art historian are being sued by Frank J. Fertitta III, a man who claims that the gallery knowingly sold him a forged Rothko painting for over $7 million, reports The New York Times.