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October 2012 Archives

What Qualifies as Detention 'Incident' to a Search?

What is the scope of detention incident to a search? Should the cops only detain a person who is on the premises to be searched, or can they detain a person of interest a mile away from the property?

In 1981, the Supreme Court concluded in Michigan v. Summers that the occupants of a house that is being lawfully searched may be detained to facilitate the search and promote officer safety. This week, the Court will consider whether police officers may detain an individual incident to the execution of a search warrant when the individual has left the immediate vicinity of the premises before the warrant is executed.

Puppies, Privacy, and Probable Cause: SCOTUS Goes to the Dogs

Franky and Aldo are the fuzzy-eared pawns in a legal showdown over dog-sniff searches. Franky is a chocolate Lab. Aldo is a German shepherd.

Wednesday, the two canine officers will dominate oral arguments in Florida v. Jardines and Florida v. Harris, two cases examining the relationship between dog sniff searches and the Fourth Amendment.

The cases involve distinctly different issues, Reuters reports: whether a dog can sniff outside a home without a warrant, and how qualified a dog must be to do a legitimate sniff.

5 Ideas for Supreme Court Halloween Costumes

Halloween might be our favorite holiday, due in no small part to the fact that it's the only time of year when mellowcreme pumpkins are readily available. (You may think mellowcreme pumpkins are disgusting. You're wrong.)

Despite the Mean Girls declaration that "Halloween is the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it," there are plenty of respectable Halloween costumes. There are even costumes that can incorporate your love of the Supreme Court and Constitutional Law.

Should Courts Apply Padilla Retroactively?

Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in Padilla v. Kentucky that immigrants have a right to effective counsel and must be told about possible deportation stemming from a guilty plea. Next week, the Court will take up the issue once again, deciding whether Padilla applies retroactively.

The case, Chaidez v. U.S., involves Roselva Chaidez, a Mexican immigrant who became a lawful permanent resident in 1977. In June 2003, Chaidez was indicted on three counts of mail fraud in connection with a staged accident insurance scheme in which the victims' loss exceeded $10,000. On the advice of counsel, Chaidez pleaded guilty to two counts in December 2003, and was sentenced to four years' probation.

First Sale Doctrine in Danger? SCOTUS to Review Grey Market Books

Justices Scalia and Kagan may have been hunting antelope over the weekend, but next week the ideological opposites will be hunting for answers. The court is set to hear two cases when it returns for the November sitting next Monday: Clapper v. Amnesty International USA and Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

The latter case involves a topic near and dear us: Selling stuff.

Free Speech Violation? Man Sues for Supreme Court Arrest

Fitzgerald Scott is suing the federal government for judging his sartorial choices.

In January, Scott was sporting a jacket with the slogan “Occupy Everywhere” while looking at exhibitions in the U.S. Supreme Court’s museum corridor. Scott claims that police officers asked him to remove the jacket, and told him that the jacket was “a sign, a demonstration” that he could not wear inside the court without being arrested for unlawful entry, Thomson Reuters News and Insight reports. When Scott said that he didn’t understand, he was arrested.

Will SCOTUS Find Standing for Domestic Spying Plaintiffs?

Supreme Court junkies might be suffering from withdrawal. After the thrill of the 2011 term — immigration, health care, etc. — the 2012 term seems tame by comparison. Sure, the Court reviewed affirmative action, but can anyone outside the legal sector name any other case from the first sitting? Doubtful.

Fear not. The November sitting will be a little more exciting, starting with the first case, Clapper v. Amnesty International USA. The case involves a challenge to a 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendment, which provided for the government's use of electronic surveillance to monitor the international communications of people (including American citizens on U.S. soil) suspected of having ties to terrorist groups, reports The New York Times.

Voter's Rights: SCOTUS Grants, Denies Petitions Before Election

It’s beginning to look like voter’s rights week in the Supreme Court.

Monday, the Court granted a petition for certiorari to consider Arizona’s proof of citizenship requirement for prospective voters. Tuesday, the Court rejected Ohio’s request to limit early voting before the November election.

Use It or Lose It: New Jersey Asks SCOTUS to Hear Gift Card Case

Back in the day, birthday cards from grandparents came with cash. Typically, a $10 or a $20 bill. Sometimes, for milestones, a $50.

Times have changed. Now, money is transferred electronically through online banking or PayPal, and gift cards have replaced cold, hard cash.

But if you don't use those gift cards, should the state be able to collect the value? That could be a question for the Supreme Court.

Fisher v. University of Texas: What's at Stake?

Eight Justices will decide the fate of affirmative action during the 2012 term. Eight Justices will determine whether America has progressed enough in the last nine years to abandon race-based preferences in higher education.

Eight Justices will resolve a lawsuit over whether the University of Texas at Austin's "holistic" approach to admissions was unfair to an applicant who the University claims it would not have admitted anyway, The New York Times reports.

Kind of surreal, right?

SCOTUS Grants Seven New Petitions

The Supreme Court granted seven new petitions for certiorari on Friday, bringing the total number of granted petitions for the 2012 term to 39.

Which issues made the latest cut? Topics ranged from patent implications of self-replicating seeds, to the Takings Clause.

Is There a Right to Competence in a Federal Habeas Proceeding?

When the Nine return to the bench on Tuesday, the topic du jour will be habeas corpus.

The Court will kick off its second week of the October sitting with two habeas appeals: Tibbals v. Carter and Ryan v. Gonzales.

Argument Preview: Federal Flood Liability in Another Dam Case

The Supreme Court will start its final day of oral arguments this week with Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. U.S.

Why should you care about this case? Because the Court's holding could allow states and individuals to recover when the federal government accidentally hurts private property.

2012 Term: Five Things to Know About First Monday

Here at FindLaw, we understand the pressures of being a legal professional - most of us are recovering lawyers - so we want to help by tossing you that preferred life preserver of the legal profession, the short list.

First Monday — the day that we have anxiously awaited since the caffeine buzz from our healthcare case coverage wore off — is finally here. There was a lot going on at the Court today, so let's discuss the five things you should know about the first day of the 2012 term.