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9th Circuit July 2014 News

9th Cir. Will Hear Idaho Mom's NSA Surveillance Lawsuit

Add Anna Smith to the growing list of plaintiffs involved in lawsuits against the NSA's surveillance program. Smith is as innocuous as they come -- "a mother of two who lives in rural Idaho, works the night shift as a nurse and goes to the gym often," according to The Washington Post. Last year, she (with help from her lawyer/husband) sued the government for violating her Fourth Amendment rights by collecting her telephone data without a warrant.

Although Smith hasn't been particularly injured, her case is notable in that the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho took evidence of NSA wiretapping provided by Edward Snowden as grounds for believing that she, like millions of other Americans with no connection to terrorism, is being spied on. Still, the District Court dismissed Smith's Fourth Amendment claims.

Now, as Boise Weekly reports, she's appealing to the Ninth Circuit.

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On Again, Off Again Arizona Execution Lasts Two Hours

Who could've predicted this? Perhaps anyone who has been watching the string of executions that have been carried out over the past few months -- a series of cruel and unusual science experiments using novel combinations of drugs often sourced from unregulated compounding pharmacies. Isn't this exactly why death row inmates are fighting for access to information on drugs and the execution team?

And so it goes again: witnesses say that the inmate spent the next two hours gasping for air before finally succumbing to the drugs. Meanwhile, his lawyers raced to the courthouse to file a mid-execution stay, hoping to end the unusual, and possibly cruel, punishment being doled out to Joseph Rudolph Wood.

9th Grants Stay Over Execution Drug Secrecy, Creates Circuit Split

Here's another interesting death penalty ruling out of the West Coast.

The Ninth Circuit just did what a number of other courts have refused to do: forced a state to turn over information on the source of execution drugs and the credentials of the executioners, while granting a stay of execution in the interim.

In dissent, Judge Jay Bybee calls the inmate's First Amendment right of access claim "novel" and argues that the right of access dispute, which would apply to all citizens and not just to the inmate, does not justify delaying an execution more than two decades in the making.

The Ninth Circuit meets in Pasadena, Portland, Seattle and San Francisco, but since we're in the Bay Area, and have firsthand experience living in San Francisco, we thought we'd take some time to give you an insider's view of the court when it sits in "The City."

If you are coming to San Francisco to argue an appeal before the Ninth Circuit, there are really three things you need to know (besides your case): food, parking and tech.

Roundup: Google v. Garcia Amended, No Dish Hopper Injunction

We've got a twin pack of updates for you on this midsummer Monday afternoon, both involving preliminary injunctions, video content, and non-traditional distribution mediums.

In one case, which pits a major television network against an alternative video distribution medium (it's almost Aereo part II), the panel declined to issue a preliminary injunction. In the other, we have a bit of backtracking (but not enough) by the panel in an amended opinion in a dangerous precedential case that imposed prior restraint on speech on the basis of a questionable copyright claim.

If we had to analogize Arizona to a child, we'd say it was suffering from "middle child syndrome." What else could explain the policies and legislation that comes out of that state? Perhaps Arizona just wants more attention from her parents the Federal Government. (Sidebar: Jan Brewer is the second child -- just saying).

The challenged Arizona law du jour is Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann § 28-3153(D), which prohibits the issuance of licenses to young immigrants (under Gov. Brewer's executive order and interpretation). Read on to see why another Arizona policy didn't make the cut.