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9th Circuit October 2011 News

Ninth Circuit Ordered to Reinstate Verdict in Shaken Baby Case

The Supreme Court ordered the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate a verdict against Shirley Ree Smith today in a shaken baby syndrome case that grabbed national headlines. In the opinion, the Court also admonished the Ninth Circuit for repeatedly supplanting the jury verdict in the case with its own opinion.

"It is not the job of this court, and was not that of the [Ninth] Circuit, to decide whether the state's theory was correct. The jury decided that question, and its decision is supported by the record," the Court wrote in a per curiam opinion.

Tucson Shooter Hearing: Coming Soon to a Courthouse Near You?

Tucson Shooter Jared Lee Loughner will have another hearing before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, Nov. 1, this time to determine whether forced medication violated Loughner's civil rights.

The Ninth Circuit will host remote viewing sites at six courthouses for the hearing. Live audio and video feed will be available via a secure connection at the following locations:

Papua New Guineans' Alien Tort Act Claims Reinstated

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals weighed in on the Alien Tort Act this week, ruling that Bougainville islanders can sue mine owner Rio Tinto for war crimes and genocide during a civil war with the Papua New Guinea government. The court concluded that Morrison v. National Australia Bank does not bar the claims.

Bougainville residents revolted against Rio Tinto in 1988 amid human rights and environmental complaints against the company. At Rio Tinto’s request, the Papua New Guinea military put down the revolt. Soon thereafter, Papua New Guinea imposed a military blockade on Bougainville to secure the mine, and the country fell into a decade-long civil war, reports The Huffington Post.

California Prop 8: Same-Sex Marriage, Lies, and Videotapes?

When a court battle over the release of a judge's personal collection of videotapes stirs a national debate, you expect the story to involve an entirely different kind of videotape. But today, we're not talking about an NSFW video; we're discussing court recordings from last year's California Prop 8 trial.

The Prop 8 video debate is heading back to court. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments regarding the release of trial videotapes on December 5.

Should You Sign a Petition? Ninth Circuit Reconsiders Doe v. Reed

If the Supreme Court’s ruling last year in Doe v. Reed didn’t dissuade from signing petitions, will a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision could change your mind?

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing arguments in an emergency motion today regarding the release of Referendum 71 signers’ names.

Referendum 71 was a failed attempt to overturn Washington SB 5688, also known as the “Everything but Marriage” law, which afforded domestic partnerships all of the protections of marriage without the title. Washington voters affirmed “Everything but Marriage” in 2009 with 53 percent of voters’ support, making Washington the first state to establish gay equality through popular vote instead of judicial or legislative intervention, reports Newsweek.

Court Says Foreign Arbitration Clause Barred by Carmack Amendment

Did Southern California movers attempt to privatize Operation Fast and Furious by shipping a client’s guns, which were supposed to be in storage, to his new home in the Middle East?

Gary Smallwood contracted with Allied Van Lines, Inc. and SIRVA, Inc. (collectively, AVL) to move some of his household goods from southern California to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and to move the remainder of the goods — including a box full of firearms and ammunition — to storage.

Instead, AVL shipped his weapons to the UAE. When UAE officials discovered Smallwood’s weapons, they arrested him, imprisoned him for 11 days and tricked him into pleading guilty to smuggling firearms.

Ninth Circuit Denies Rehearing in Mount Soledad Cross Appeal

Will a 43-foot cross soon be removed from a San Diego hilltop?

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 6-5 vote, denied a rehearing request this week in a case debating whether the Mount Soledad Cross violates a constitutional ban on the government endorsement of religion.

The cross and the veterans' memorial on Mount Soledad have generated controversy for more than 20 years.

Ninth Circuit: Tasering Pregnant Woman is Excessive Force

Can police taser a person who doesn’t pose a threat of harm?

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that police used excessive force and violated plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment rights in two separate tasering incidents, but then neutered that opinion by extending qualified immunity to the officers.

We think the Ninth Circuit erred in granting qualified immunity, but you can decide for yourself if it was warranted.

Ninth Circuit Denies Shank-Induced Self-Defense Jury Instruction

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but shanks will earn you jail time.

The Ninth Circuit clearly does not understand life on the inside. When someone in prison calls you a bitch, you’re allowed to defend yourself; at least that’s what Lenny Urena claimed. This week, however, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Urena’s appeal to a conviction stemming from a prison fight that started with name-calling.

Former Ninth Circuit Judge Robert Boochever Dead at 94

Former Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Robert Boochever died at his home in Pasadena, Calif. on Sunday. He was 94.

During his legal career, Boochever practiced law in Alaska before it was a state, and eventually served three years as Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court.

As Chief Justice of the Alaska Supreme Court, Boochever wrote a now-famous opinion in Aguchak v. Montgomery Ward Co., which limited a creditor's ability to collect a debt against a resident of the Alaska Bush by filing a case in a distant Alaska court. The case is frequently taught in law schools, according to the Juneau Empire.

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal; Jonathan Doody Retrial Imminent?

Arizona prosecutors are considering a retrial in a 1991 murder case after the Supreme Court refused to hear the state's appeal of a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision on the matter.

The Ninth Circuit has now issued two opinions granting Jonathan Doody a new trial, finding that Doody was "prejudiced by extensive interrogation and inadequate Miranda warnings," reports Courthouse News Service.

City Will Appeal Redondo Beach Ordinance to Supreme Court

A Redondo Beach ordinance is heading back to court as the city challenges the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling in the case.

In the late ’80s, Redondo Beach adopted local ordinances to prohibit workers from soliciting employment from occupants of motor vehicles, and to penalize motor vehicles from hiring or attempting to hire workers on the city’s streets and highways.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the ordinance in September, finding that day laborers have a First Amendment right to solicit work along California roadsides and that the ordinance was geographically over-inclusive.

Tucson Shooter's Forced Medication Halted

Tucson shooter Jared Lee Loughner can stay unmedicated in Arizona for now.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ordered Loughner back to a Missouri facility for treatment to restore his mental competency. Burns also ruled that doctors at the facility could forcibly mediate Loughner with anti-psychotic drugs, Los Angeles Times reports. On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed that order.

Ninth Cir. to Decide Atty's Fees from California Video Game Law

Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association is heading back to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and Entertainment Merchants Association filed a motion in the Supreme Court in July asking for reimbursement of over $1 million in legal expenses they incurred in fighting a California law restricting the sale of violent video games to minors. In June, the Supreme Court decided in Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association that the law violated the First Amendment right to free speech.

Today, the Supreme Court issued an order referring the motion for attorneys' fees and expenses to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals for adjudication.