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Should Executions Be Made Public?

Before 1936, the United States had a long history of public executions.

Rainey Bethea was the last person to be hanged publicly, when he was put to death that year for murdering and raping a 70-year-old woman. But that "carnival in Owensboro" led to a banning of public executions in America.

Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, changed that when he requested a public execution in 2001. Doyle Lee Hamm wanted next, and a federal judge wanted to give it to him.

Advertisers often gets a bad rap for making print and online newspapers a mess to read. However, for seventy inmates in Florida's prison system, prison officials have refused to deliver the monthly Prison Legal News publications to the inmate subscribers because of the ads in the paper.

Surprisingly, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with Florida's prison officials in ruling that denying the paper to the inmates is not a First Amendment violation. However, because the Florida prisons failed to provide a sufficient notice to the publisher, as required by their own rules, both the district and circuit courts found that the publisher's due process rights were violated.

In the wake of the Parkland school shooting, the Florida legislature passed some gun control measures to restrict individuals under the age of 21 from being able to purchase certain firearms, as well as imposing a three-day waiting period.

In response to that legislation, the NRA filed a lawsuit on behalf of one 19-year-old Jane Doe and one 19-year-old John Doe, to challenge the law. Unfortunately for the plaintiffs, the NRA's motion to keep the Doe plaintiffs' identities secret was shot down by the court, despite the judge's clear sympathy for the plight of the plaintiffs.

Governor Rick Scott and the Florida state Clemency Board have filed an appeal to the federal district court's injunction which epicly slammed the two for violating the voting rights of felons.

However, in addition to appealing the district court's order, they sought a stay to prevent the enforcement of the injunction while the appeal was pending. Interestingly, while the district court judge seemed to have strong feelings in favor of restoring the voting rights of felons, the appellate court seems to be more in favor of the governor's position.

iPhone Seizure at Accident Scene Violated 4th Amendment

If you have teenagers with cell phones, do not let them see this story.

A federal appeals court said it is a Fourth Amendment violation to take away a person's cell phone without a "reasonable basis." Of course, that applies when it's the government taking the phone.

But still, you may want to think twice about explaining the constitutional nuances to a kid who has a death grip on a cell phone. For cops, well, that's this story.

There's the one percent, then there are one percenters. And then there are these three alleged one percenters who sued law enforcement after the improper use of their driver license photos was discovered.

The three motorcycle club members were part of a group of seven, singled out by law enforcement, to have their driver license pictures used for lobbying purposes. On the assumption that their images would frighten state lawmakers away from passing an open carry law, the plaintiffs' pictures (without any other identifying information) were distributed to the lawmakers by the department's government liaison alongside information explaining that these were the type of people who would utilize the open carry law.

Court Blocks Segregationist School Plan in Alabama

As a young civil rights lawyer, U.W. Clemon lost an important desegregation battle against the Jefferson County school district in Alabama.

A federal appeals court later reversed in his favor, however, with orders that set in motion desegregation in schools there and across the country. A lifetime of litigation later, Clemon lost it again.

In Stout v. Jefferson County Board of Education, a trial judge said the people of Gardendale could secede from the school district to form their own school system so long as they complied with the decades-old orders. That was not a victory for civil rights -- until the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

When most people envision First Amendment civil rights challenges against college campuses, student protest groups come to mind. However, the University of Alabama just fought off a seemingly random Evangelical preacher's federal First Amendment lawsuit, and Eleventh Circuit appeal.

Fortunately for UA, both the district and appellate courts agreed that the preacher's case did not merit granting a preliminary injunction against the campus. Whether or not the case will get much further is a different story, but the facts are rather curious, and don't seem to bode well for the well-meaning plaintiff preacher.

Trump's 11th Cir. Pick Disappoints LGBT Community in 1st Opinion

Justice Kevin Newsom, recently confirmed to the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, didn't take long to find controversy.

With his first written opinion, Morrissey v. United States, Newsom said that a homosexual man could not deduct medical expenses for a child he fathered through invitro fertilization. Opponents jumped on the decision as soon as it hit the press.

LGBT advocates said Newsom got it wrong. But it wasn't the first time the justice has taken heat for his opinions.

There once was a plaintiff from Sandy Springs,
Whose case was about some interesting things,
But as they got their sex toys,
Sad still were the boys,
That they couldn't drink at the strip club.

In a pair of, aptly called, provocative appeals, befitting of a blogger to write a limerick, Sandy Springs, Georgia, plaintiffs, Flannigan Enterprises, Fantastic Visuals, as well as some others in the local adult entertainment industry, are nursing their wounds.

One case centered around the Sandy Springs ban on the sale of sex toys, while the other case focused on the ban on the consumption of alcohol in businesses that have nude, or partially nude, live entertainment. While Flannigan and company lost both cases, and the subsequent appeals, the plaintiffs can rejoice in the fact that Sandy Springs at least repealed the sex toy ban on their own accord.