U.S. Tenth Circuit - The FindLaw 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


Florida Court Says Police Need Warrants for Stingray Cell Phone Searches

A Florida appeals court joined other states in requiring police to obtain warrants before using a controversial cell phone tracker.

A Stingray simulates a cell phone tower, transmitting cellular signals to and from nearby cell phones. When police use the device, they can follow phone signals to their location.

In State of Florida v. Sylvestre, the court said police sidestepped the warrant requirement when they tracked down an accused murderer. They found him, but this time the bad guy got away.

New Mexico Compound Suspects Indicted

Alleged jihadists were indicted on weapons and conspiracy charges in New Mexico, where authorities say the defendants were training to carry out attacks in the United States.

Magistrate Judge Kiran Khalsa denied bail to the five adults, and told them there was "clear and convincing evidence" that they are "a danger to the community."

It is an especially disturbing case because originally the Muslim adherents were arrested after police found 11 starving children and the body of a three-year-old at their desert compound.

For former missionary worker Matthew Durham, his appeal of a conviction on multiple counts of sexual abuse and rape of orphan children while working in Kenya was rejected in a detailed, 100 plus page opinion of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Durham's challenge however did present a novel argument, challenging the foreign commerce clause's reach. Because his conduct occurred outside of the United States, the panel of Tenth Circuit justices split on whether using the foreign commerce clause to punish noncommercial illicit sexual activity was constitutional.

For Roberto Roman, the criminal justice system must seem unreal. Reading the recent Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in his case, it's easy to see why.

After Roman confessed to the murder of a Utah sheriff's deputy, he then was acquitted of the murder (after a state-court jury trial where he testified that the deputy's brother, who died of a drug overdose a few months after his sister's death, and who just so happened to be riding along in the car with Roman and doing meth, murdered his own sister). Although Roman was acquitted in state court, federal charges were brought against him, and Roman was convicted for the murder in federal district court. He was sentenced to life plus 80 years.

When it comes to online services seeking to disrupt the status quo, VidAngel has taken a surprisingly polite approach, at least for its consumers.

The service focuses on censoring popular media so that it is more family friendly. However, while trying to be friendly to families, VidAngel was rather rude to the companies that made the popular media it was censoring. As the ongoing legal battles revealed, the censoring service failed to obtain proper licensing rights before editing and redistributing the creative work of others. And while the battle continues on in the Ninth Circuit, their challenge against MGM, Marvel, Fox, Castle Rock and other studios in Utah federal court has come to an end.

Erotic Poem Gets Judge in Deeper Trouble

In Weber County, they call it "The Case of the Erotic Love Poem."

With a title like that, poetry reading might make a comeback in the Utah county. But it's not the kind of literature you would read to school children.

Craig Storey, a former judge, wrote it privately for a court employee. And that was the problem in Eisenhour v. Storey.

Colorado Woman Sues Off Duty Pilot for Alleged Groping

A long time ago in a stratosphere far, far away, United Airlines invited people to "fly the friendly skies of United."

But after airline police publicly dragged a passenger off a United plane, "the friendly skies" became a hard sell. Now comes an even more difficult case.

A woman is suing the airlines because a passenger grabbed her butt while masturbating mid-flight. That's not friendly; that's gross.

Sugar Alcohol Case Not So Sweet for Lawyers

One thing is sure in litigation. The attorneys will get paid.

Well, that's a half-truth because one side may not get anything. Plaintiffs' lawyers -- especially the contingency fee kind -- know this all too well.

But in Xlear v. Focus Nutrition, it remains to be seen whether the defense attorneys will get their fees. A trial court awarded them, but the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals wants the trial judge to rethink it.

Folks in Kansas know, when it rains, it pours. And Kris Kobach, the state's Secretary of State, was just doused with a loss in federal court over the state's voter ID law, as well as some rather embarrassing court ordered sanctions against him personally.

And if you're thinking it's a repeat of his prior embarrassing actions in the same case, perhaps not surprisingly, you'd be wrong. But if you've been following the case, then you know, this was just the logical ends, given there was a contempt order issued over non-compliance with the court's order.

Court Upholds Utah's Signature-Gathering Law

Utah politics have always been a little different.

From its theocratic beginnings, Utah has long been a bastion of conservatives. If you are a Democrat in Utah, you may have a hard time winning an election.

So it is not too surprising that Utah's most recent political battle is between Republicans and Republicans. In Utah Republican Party v. Cox, the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals may have put an end to it -- for now.