U.S. Ninth Circuit - The FindLaw 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

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According to a panel of judges at Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the way that individuals are moved on to the terrorist watch list does not require reasonable suspicion and does not equate to an investigation.

In short, the court upheld the right of investigators to share information that came from tips and leads, which require "mere suspicion" rather than "reasonable suspicion" in order to be acted upon. The case came to light after men who were just going about their normal days, doing completely normal things, were reported as suspicious and landed on the watch list.

Biometrics Cannot Be Compelled

A judge in the Northern District of California has issued an order denying a search warrant due to the warrant seeking to go too far when it comes to smartphones and biometrics.

The warrant not only sought the inspection of smartphones belonging to the individuals identified in the warrant, but also sought to search all smartphones of all individuals discovered on the premises covered by the warrant, and in doing so, would have required those individuals to provide the necessary biometric data, such as a fingerprint, or face, to unlock the device. Judge Kandis Westmore said no.

A three-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit has upheld the federal ban on undocumented immigrants possessing firearms.

The case, U.S. v. Torres, involved an undocumented immigrant who was arrested for possession of a firearm, a homemade silencer, bolt cutters, and a stolen bicycle.

9th Circuit Revives Challenge to Cyberstalking Law

Richard Lee Rynearson, III, a retired Air Force major, is not the kind to let things go.

He got into a Facebook argument with his neighbor until it escalated to a legal skirmish. A Washington state judge granted a protective order against Rynearson, ordering him to leave his neighbor alone and to stop stalking him.

While the state case was pending, Rynearson challenged the state's cyberstalking law on free speech grounds in federal court. He lost, but of course the war was not over in Rynearson v. Ferguson.

Court: No Constitutional Immunity for Border Agents Who Shoot Across the Border

A Border Patrol agent shot across the U.S.-Mexico border and killed a 16-year-old teenager as he walked the streets of Nogales, Sonora.

In Rodriguez v. Swartz, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the Mexican boy's family can sue the agent for violating his civil rights. There is no constitutional protection for agents to shoot people across the border, the appeals court said.

As President Trump's border campaign heats up, it is a lightening rod decision with advocates on both sides of the issue. The unrest is escalating to a point that one court decision could tip the scales.

Appeals are often able to correct miscarriages of justice. Sadly, sometimes the appellate court is bound by precedent, and is powerless to do so.

Recently, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dealt with one such injustice in the Ellis v. Harrison matter. The defendant in the case, Ezzard Ellis, was represented by a racist attorney at trial. Sometime after Ellis was convicted, he discovered that his attorney was a racist and filed a habeas petition. The attorney's own daughters even provided evidence that their father was a racist. Unfortunately for Ellis, the court refused to grant his petition.

The hemp industry is not pleased with a recent ruling of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Industry proponents filed a challenge with the court to the DEA's final rule listing cannabinoids as a schedule 1 controlled substance.

Cannabinoids, or CBD, may sound similar to cannabis, but are actually rather different from the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana, THC, or tetrahydrocannabinols. Although the medical marijuana industry has long since pushed for CBD extracts to be defined separately, particularly as there is no psychoactive effect and it has proven to be medically beneficial, the federal government still lumps these in with drugs like heroin and LSD.

In 2012, Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz shot and killed a sixteen year old Mexican boy, Jose Elena Rodriguez. The federal murder trial over whether the killing was justified recently ended with the jury returning a not guilty verdict for the second degree murder charge.

The jury, however, could not reach an agreement on the lesser charges of involuntary and voluntary manslaughter. The court ordered a mistrial as to those charges, yet the decision to retry those charges has not yet been made. Given the gory, and uncontested, details, it would not be surprising to see the matter retried.

The now infamous website Backpage.com has been shut down by federal authorities and the federal criminal indictment filed in Arizona's district court against the site, its founders, and others has been unsealed. The allegations and details are unsettling to say the least.

Despite the founders allegedly divesting in 2015, it was alleged that they still retained "significant control." The charges include allegations of seventeen victims ranging from adults to minors. In addition to charges for knowingly facilitating prostitution, the founders are also accused of money laundering. There are a total of 93 counts, and the government alleges that Backpage.com earned over $500 million in prostitution related advertising since 2004.

Court Upholds California Laws Against Prostitution

Sex sells, but that doesn't make prostitution legal.

That's a quick summary of Erotic Service Provider Legal Education and Research Project v. Gascon. The case drew a lot of attention -- because the plaintiff sued to legalize prostitution -- but the world's oldest profession was outlawed long ago.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said there's no fundamental right to engage in prostitution -- at least not in California.