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9th Circuit April 2012 News

Harmless Error: Everyone Knows the Cops Think Your Client 'Did It'

Lawyer tip of the day: If your client is on trial for witness tampering, the jury knows that the cops think your client is guilty.

Should cops conclusively state during testimony that your client "did it?" No. But your client isn't going to get a new trial based on such an outburst. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that a detective's statement during trial that the defendant "did it" was a harmless error.

You Can't HAVA Federal Relief in a Local Recount

If there’s one thing that we learned from Bush v. Gore and the 2000 Florida recount, it’s that recounts lack order.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reached a similar conclusion this week, finding that federal law does not mandate ballot recount methods in elections for non-federal offices, reports Metropolitan News-Enterprise.

Low Carbon Fuel Standard Injunction Lifted, Reports Due April 30

California has long been known for its vehicle emissions requirements, thanks to The Price is Right. (Every car we ever watched Bob Barker give away had standard California emissions.) But the strict standards of yesteryear are no longer enough for the Golden State. In 2006, California approved the Low Carbon Fuel Standard after the adoption of AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act.

Last year, U.S. District Judge Lawrence O'Neill enjoined implementation of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, finding that it was unconstitutional because it discriminated against interstate commerce. California's method assigned a higher carbon intensity score to ethanol produced in the Midwest, which is otherwise chemically and physically identical to that produced in California, reports Bloomberg.

Not-So-Honest Services Lead Court to Reinstate License Fraud Case

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated honest services fraud charges on Tuesday against six men involved in an illegal truck drivers license scheme, reports The Associated Press.

The en banc opinion touched on whether breach of fiduciary duty is an element of honest services mail fraud, whether the defendants were properly indicted for honest services fraud, and whether the government is required to establish economic harm to prove an honest services charge.

No Attorney-Client Privilege for Superman Lawsuit Stolen Documents

A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion proved to be kryptonite to an attorney's privilege defense in a Superman lawsuit this week.

The San Francisco-based court ruled that attorney Marc Toberoff waived his attorney-client privilege over stolen documents once he revealed the nature of the documents to officers investigating the theft.

Ninth Circuit Upholds Arizona Voter ID Law

As Arizona prepares to argue its state immigration law, S.B. 1070, to the Supreme Court next week, state officials must be wondering if they'll be asked to return to the Supreme Court next year to defend another law targeting illegal immigrants: Proposition 200.

Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an Arizona voter identification requirement, and struck down a proof of citizenship voter registration requirement, reports Reuters.

2 Priests, 2 Grandmothers and a Nun Go to the Ninth Circuit...

The fact pattern in a recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion sounds more like a bad joke than an appellate case.

In an act of symbolic protest against nuclear weapons, two priests, two grandmothers, and an 81-year-old nun cut their way through two fences and into a secure area of United States Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. The group spread fake blood on base fences and unfurled a protest banner. They were detained, prosecuted, and convicted of conspiracy to trespass, to destroy property within the special territorial jurisdiction of the United States, and to injure property.

Ninth Circuit Opens Public Airwaves for Political Advertisements

A recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling could pave the way for political propaganda during your Downton Abbey viewing party.

Last week, the Ninth Circuit overturned a federal ban on political advertising on public television stations. In a 2-1 decision, the court found that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) violated the First Amendment's free speech clause by prohibiting public broadcasters from running political and public issue ads, Reuters reports.

Ninth Circuit Downshifts Porsche Arbitration Dispute

The Ninth Circuit giveth, and the Ninth Circuit taketh away.

On Wednesday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals backtracked from its September ruling in the Porsche arbitration dispute. The court struck down a mandatory arbitration requirement last year, allowing car owners with warranty claims to take manufacturers to court.

Ninth Circuit Saves Distracted Workers from Federal Prosecution

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a federal hacking charge against a California man on Tuesday, finding that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which outlaws computer use that "exceeds authorized access," was inapplicable to the case.

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, writing for the majority, reasoned that "exceeds authorized access" is limited to violations of restrictions on access to information, and not restrictions on its use.

Prosecution Not Required for Religious Marijuana Use Lawsuit

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that a plaintiff doesn’t have to be prosecuted under a criminal statute to challenge the statute.

Oklevueha Native American Church of Hawaii, Inc. (Oklevueha) and Michael Rex Mooney a.k.a. Raging Bear sued the federal government, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief barring the government from enforcing the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) against them after their marijuana was seized and destroyed. (They also asked for the return of or compensation for the seized marijuana.)

The plaintiffs allege that they consume marijuana as a “sacrament/eucharist” in their religious ceremonies, and that their religious marijuana use is protected by the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

Alameda Gun Ban Heads to Mediation, Kozinski Criticizes 'Charade'

Should a lawsuit asserting Second Amendment rights be settled in mediation?

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals declined to take action on 13-year-old dispute between Russell and Ann Sallie Nordyke and Alameda County this week. Instead, the court sent the case to mediation, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Ninth Circuit Judge Robert Beezer Dead at 83

Senior Judge Robert Beezer passed on Friday, March 30 at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. He was 83.

If you’re familiar with the Anna Nicole Smith bankruptcy case, the early aughts Napster litigation, or the “reasonable woman” standard in sexual harassment litigation, then you know a bit about Judge Beezer’s work. Judge Beezer was known both for his famous opinions and his sound appellate reasoning; he had one of the highest Supreme Court affirmation rates on the Ninth Circuit, according to The Seattle Times.

Ninth Circuit Upholds California University Affirmative Action Ban

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that California's university affirmative action ban does not violate students' constitutional rights, reports the Associated Press. A three-judge panel unanimously agreed that the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action's (CDAA) challenge to the state's affirmative action policy was foreclosed by the circuit's 1997 opinion in Coalition for Economic Equity v. Wilson.

California voters approved Proposition 209, an initiative that banned racial, ethnic and gender preferences in public education, employment and contracting, in 1996. Both the California Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals previously upheld the law.