Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

August 2016 Archives

Good news for teachers in the Golden State: the California Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal challenging teacher tenure and other job protections for educators. This means seniority rules and due process protections for teachers will remain in place, after a trial court judge threw them out in 2014.

This case is just one flashpoint in the current push-and-pull of traditional teacher protections and unionization and a platform of education reform that aims to re-make schools in the image of private businesses. Here's a closer look at the court's ruling.

For anyone watching 'Making a Murder,' from seasoned attorneys to your average layperson, it was fairly obvious what happened to Brendan Dassey, nephew of the documentary's subject Steven Avery. An impressionable and possibly mentally impaired teen was hauled into a police station and bolstered, berated, and badgered in turns until he confessed to a gruesome murder. (This followed similar treatment from his own attorney.) And it was also apparent to viewers, as it must have been to the officers interviewing him, that Dassey's confession failed to match the facts of the case.

Today, a federal judge agreed, saying that Dassey's constitutional rights had been violated by both his attorney and police investigators, overturned his conviction, and ordered him to be released, ten years after his conviction.

Delaware's highest court ruled that the state's death penalty statute is unconstitutional, which could signal the end of capital punishment in the state. The decision, based on the Supreme Court's invalidation of Florida's death penalty law, held that judges were given too great a role in imposing death sentences.

While Delaware could appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court or re-write the statute to comply with constitutional requirements, the state legislature's push to abolish capital punishment could be an indicator that the ruling will stand. Here's what the court said.

Fed Appeals Court Tosses $19 Trillion Claim Against Google

Have you ever googled yourself? Did you find anything disconcerting? Do you wish you could do something about it? That is how Colin O'Kroley felt when he saw his name associated with a child indecency case in a Google search.

He sued Google and other defendants for $19 trillion, claiming "severe mental anguish" from the listing. A federal appeals court this month rejected O'Kroley's claim. Although the plaintiff really wasn't involved in the indecency case, reports the American Bar Association Journal, the search engine is protected by the Communications Decency Act.