Category: Law and Library

  • US Supreme Court Sides with Facebook at TCPA Case

    Under the Court’s narrow interpretation of the robocall prohibit, Facebook didn’t violate the TCPA as it delivered unsolicited text messages for individuals without their permission.

    Facts of the Case

    The Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) proscribes abusive telemarketing practices by, among other things, restricting specific communications made using an”automatic phone dialing system.” The TCPA defines such”autodialers” as equipment with the capacity both”to keep or produce telephone numbers to be called, using a random or sequential number generator,” and also to dial those numbers.

    Petitioner Facebook, Inc., asserts a social media platform that, as a safety feature, enables users to choose to get text messages whenever someone attempts to log into the user’s account in a new device or browser. Facebook sent such texts to Noah Duguid, alerting him to login action to a Facebook account connected to his phone number, but Duguid never created the account (or any account on Facebook). Duguid tried without success to stop the unwanted messages, and finally brought a putative class action against Facebook. He alleged that Facebook breached the TCPA by simply maintaining a database that stored phone numbers and programming its own equipment to send automated text messages. Facebook cautioned that the TCPA doesn’t apply since the technology it used to text Duguid didn’t use a”sequential or random number generator”

    The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. It held the §227(a)(1) applies to a notification platform such as Facebook’s that has the capacity to dial automatically saved amounts.

    Supreme Court’s Decision

    The Supreme Court unanimously reversed. Justice Sonia Sotomayor composed on behalf of the Court.

    “The matter before the Court is whether definition encompasses equipment that will’save’ and dial phone numbers, even if the machine doesn’t’us[e] a sequential or random number generator’ It doesn’t,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. “To qualify as an’automatic phone dialing system,’ an apparatus has to have the capacity to keep a phone number with a sequential or random generator or to produce a phone number with a sequential or random number generator”

    In reaching its decision, the Court agreed with Facebook the TCPA clause”with a sequential or random number generator” contrasts both verbs,”shop” and also”produce” In support, the Court cited the conventional rules of grammar, specifically the”series-qualifier canon,” which instructs a modifier in the end of a succession of nouns or verbs applies to the whole series. As Justice Sotomayor clarified , the canon indicates the changing phrase”with a sequential or random number generator” contrasts both antecedent verbs,”shop” and also”produce” She further noted that since the changing phrase immediately follows a concise, incorporated clause (“store or produce telephone numbers to be called”), that uses the word”or” to join two verbs that share a common direct object (“phone numbers to be called”), it could be”strange” to apply the modifier to only one part of their paychecks.

    The Court also found that the statutory circumstance supported its interpretation. As Justice Sotomayor explained, Congress discovered autodialer technology dangerous because autodialers could dial emergency lines occasionally or tie up all the sequentially numbered phone lines in a single thing. Duguid’s interpretation, on the other hand, would encircle any equipment that stores and dials phone numbers.

    Last, the Court rejected Duguid’s counterarguments, including that the TCPA ought to be treated as an”Loaded” instrument and that accepting Facebook’s translation will unleash a”torrent of robocalls.”

    Duguid significantly overstates the effects of accepting Facebook’s interpretation. The statute separately prohibits calls with”an artificial or prerecorded voice” to various kinds of phone lines, such as home phones and cell phones, unless an exception applies. Our decision doesn’t affect that prohibition. In any case, Duguid’s quarrel is with Congress, …

  • SCOTUS Backs FCC in FCC v. Prometheus Radio Project

    In FCC v. Prometheus Radio Project, 592 U. S. ____ (2021), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Federal Communications Commission’s (FFC) 2017 choice to repeal or modify a few of its media ownership rules wasn’t arbitrary or capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The Court’s decision was unanimous.

    Facts of this Case

    Under its extensive authority to regulate broadcast media from the public interest, the FCC has maintained several ownership rules which limit the amount of radio stations, television stations, and papers that a single entity may own in a given marketplace. Section 202(h) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 directs the FCC to review its media ownership rules every four decades and to repeal or alter any rules that no longer serve the general interest.

    In 2017, the FCC concluded that all of its ownership rules were no longer necessary to encourage competition, localism, or viewpoint diversity. It concluded that the record evidence did not imply that repealing or modifying those three principles was likely to harm minority and female ownership. Based on that evaluation, the bureau decided to redesign just two of the three possession rules and modify the third. Prometheus Radio Project along with many other general interest and consumer advocacy groups (collectively, Prometheus) petitioned for review, arguing that the FCC’s choice to repeal or alter the three principles was arbitrary and capricious under APA. Meanwhile, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the FCC’s reconsideration order, holding that the record did not support the agency’s conclusion that the rule changes could have minimal impact on female and minority ownership.

    Supreme Court’s Conclusion

    The Supreme Court unanimously reversed. “[W]e conclude that the FCC’s 2017 arrangement was fair and reasonably clarified for purposes of the APA’s deferential arbitrary-and-capricious standard. We reverse the judgment of the Third Circuit,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote on behalf of this Court.

    The FCC also concluded that the three principles were no longer necessary to encourage competition, localism, and viewpoint diversity, and that altering the rules wasn’t likely to harm minority and female ownership.

    The FCC’s evaluation was reasonable and reasonably clarified for purposes of the APA’s deferential arbitrary-and-capricious standard. The FCC considered the record evidence in competition, localism, view diversity, and minority and female ownership, along with

    Reasonably concluded that the three possession rules no longer serve the general interest. The FCC concluded that the historic justifications for all those ownership principles no longer apply in today’s media marketplace, and that permitting efficient combinations among radio stations, television stations, and information – newspapers would benefit customers. The Commission further clarified that its very best estimate, based on the sparse record proof, was that repealing or modifying the three principles at issue here wasn’t likely to harm minority and female ownership. The APA needs no more.

    The Court rejected Prometheus’ arguments that the FCC’s assessment of the likely effects of the rule changes on female and minority ownership rested on faulty data. The Court emphasized that the FCC declared that the gaps in the information collections it relied on, and noticed that, despite its repeated requests for additional information, it had received no countervailing evidence indicating that altering the three ownership rules was likely to harm minority and female ownership. The Court also noted that the APA imposes no general obligation on agencies to commission or conduct their philosophical or empirical studies.

    “The FCC repeatedly requested commenters to submit empirical or statistical research on the relationship between the possession principles and minority and female ownership,” Justice Kavanaugh wrote. “Despite the requests, no commenter produced such evidence suggesting that altering the rules was …

  • Divided Court Strikes Down COVID-19 Restrictions on In-Home Religious Gatherings

    On April 9, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Tandon v. Newsom, 593 U. S. ____ (2021) which California’s COVID-19 restrictions on religious gatherings in homes probably run afoul of the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause.

    Facts of this Case

    The case involves California’s COVID-19 restrictions on”parties,” described as”social circumstances which bring together individuals from different households at exactly the identical time in one area or place.” On November 13, 2020, the State issued guidance”[l]imiting presence at parties.” Under the Gatherings Guidance, people could attend a”private gathering” outdoors in all parts of the Condition, and inside in all counties except those called Tier 1 based on present health conditions. Such gatherings must be limited to no more than three households (whether indoor or outdoor), and attendees have to wear masks and physically distance away from one another.

    The court concluded that the personal parties restrictions did not violate the Free Exercise Clause because they”[are] neutral and of general applicability.” Meanwhile, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, agreeing that the State’s private parties restrictions are”neutral and generally applicable.” It rejected plaintiffs’ contention that the State unconstitutionally didn’t employ the same restrictions–such as the three-household limitation–to”a host of comparable secular activities,” such as”entering crowded train stations, airports, malls, salons, and retail shops, waiting in long check-out lines, and also riding buses.” It further revealed that the plaintiffs”are making the incorrect comparison since the record does not support that personal religious gatherings in homes are similar –in terms of risk to public health or sensible security measures to deal with that risk–to [the] commercial activities” listed by plaintiffs.

    The plaintiffs sought aid in the Supreme Court, requesting it to grant an injunction. “Under these rules, Pastor Wong and Karen Busch can sit to get a haircut with 10 other individuals in a barbershop, consume in a half-full restaurant (using members of 20 different households ), or ride 15 other people on a city bus, but it is impossible for them to host three individuals from different households to get a Bible study inside or into their backyards. The State thus treats religious exercise far more harshly compared to secular activities,” they contended.

    Supreme Court’s Decision

    A divided Supreme Court granted the application for a preliminary injunction and enjoined enforcement of this Gatherings Guidance. Chief Justice John Roberts could have denied this application, as could Justice Elena Kagan, who filed a dissenting opinion joined by Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.

    “Applicants are likely to be successful on the merits of their free exercise claim; they’re harmed by the lack of free exercise rights’for even minimal periods of time’; and the State has not shown that’general health could be imperiled’ by employing less restrictive steps,” the Court wrote in a per curium opinion. “Accordingly, applicants are eligible for an injunction pending appeal.”

    The Court created four factors in support of its decision. Citing its previous conclusion in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, 592 U.S. ___, ___–___ (2020), the Court said that government regulations aren’t neutral and generally applicable, and so trigger strict scrutiny under the Free Exercise Clause, whenever they treat any similar secular action more favorably compared to religious exercise. “It is no answer that a Condition treats some similar secular companies or other actions as poorly as or even less favorably compared to the religious exercise at issue,” the Court wrote. Second, the Court the highlighted that”whether two activities are comparable for purposes of the Free Exercise Clause must be pitted against the asserted government interest which justifies the regulation at issue,” noting that”[c]omparability is worried about the …

  • Finding of Permanent Incorrigibility Not Required to Impose Life Sentence on Juvenile

    In Jones v. Mississippi, 593 U.S. ____ (2021), the U.S. Supreme Court again clarified when juveniles can receive life sentences. By a vote of 6-3, the Court held that the Eighth Amendment does not take a sentencer to discover that a juvenile is indefinitely incorrigible prior to imposing a sentence of life without parole.

    Facts of this Case

    Jones had been 15 years old when he committed the crime. Under Mississippi law in the moment, murder carried a mandatory sentence of life without parole. The trial judge duly imposed that sentence, that had been affirmed on direct appeal.

    The Supreme Court subsequently decided Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), that held that the Eighth Amendment allows a life-without-parole sentence for a defendant who committed a homicide if he or she was under 18, however only as long as the sentence isn’t compulsory and the sentencer consequently has discretion to impose a lesser penalty. In the aftermath of that decision, the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered that Jones be resentenced in accordance with Miller.

    In the resentencing, the sentencing judge acknowledged that he had discretion under Miller to impose a sentence less than life without parole. The judge decided, however, that life with no parole stayed the proper sentence for Jones. Jones again appealed his sentenceciting both Miller and the then-recently chose case of Montgomery v. Louisiana, 577 U.S. 190 (2016), that maintained that Miller applied retroactively on collateral review. Jones contended that, under Miller and Montgomery, a sentencer must make a separate factual finding that a murderer under 18 is permanently incorrigible until sentencing the offender to life with no parole. The Mississippi Court of Appeals rejected Jones’s argument.

    Supreme Court’s Conclusion

    The Supreme Court confirmed, with Justice Brett Kavanaugh writing on behalf of this Court. The Court maintained that its precedents set forth in Miller and Montgomery don’t require the sentencer to create a separate factual finding of permanent incorrigibility prior to sentencing the defendant to life without parole. It further found , in such a case, a discretionary sentencing system is equally constitutionally required and constitutionally adequate.

    Jones’s argument that the sentencer must make a finding of permanent incorrigibility is inconsistent with the Court’s precedents. In Miller, the Court mandated”only that a sentencer follow a particular procedure –contemplating an offender’s youth and attendant traits –before imposing” a life-without-parole sentence. And at Montgomery v. Louisiana, that held

    That Miller applies retroactively on collateral review, the Court flatly said that”Miller didn’t impose an official factfinding condition” and added that”a finding of facts about a child’s incorrigibility… isn’t required.” In light of the explicit language in the Court’s earlier decisions, we must reject Jones’s argument.

    In reaching its decision, the Court highlighted that Miller and Montgomery require consideration of an offender’s youth but not any specific factual finding. The Court also rejected the argument that a sentencer offer an on-the-record sentencing explanation with an”proposed finding” of permanent incorrigibility prior to sentencing a murderer under 18 to life with no parole. An on-the-record sentencing justification is required by nor consistent with Miller or Montgomery, Justice Kavanaugh noted, adding that neither case says anything concerning a sentencing explanation.

    Ultimately, Justice Kavanaugh highlighted that the Court’s ruling shouldn’t be interpreted to disturb its own conclusions in Miller or Montgomery. “Miller maintained that a State may not impose a compulsory life-without-parole sentence on a murderer under 18. Today’s decision doesn’t disturb that carrying,” he wrote. “Montgomery later held that Miller applies retroactively on collateral review. Today’s decision also doesn’t disturb that “

    Justice Kavanaugh also highlighted that the Court’s decision shouldn’t be construed as agreement …

  • Supreme Court Clarifies Standing Requirements for Habeas Claim

    In Alaska v. Wright, 593 U.S. ____ (2021), the U.S. Supreme Court maintained that if offenders have finished serving their nation court sentence, they also lack standing to bring a federal habeas claim.

    Facts of this Case

    In 2009, an Alaska jury condemned Sean Wright of 13 counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Wright finished serving his sentence from Alaska at 2016, and soon thereafter he moved to Tennessee. Once there, he failed to register as a sex offender as required by national law. Wright pleaded guilty to a count of failure to register, and finally obtained a sentence of time served along with five decades of supervised release.

    During the course of those federal event, Wright filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus from the United States District Court for the District of Alaska pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§2241 and 2254. He contended that the Alaska Supreme Court had unreasonably applied clearly established federal law as it denied his Sixth Amendment claims and affirmed his 2009 state conviction and sentence. The District Court denied the motion in the brink ground that Wright was not”in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court.” Noting that a proper motion under §2254(a) takes more than merely being”in custody” someplace, the court reasoned that”the proper procedure for Wright to challenge his current federal custody could be a motion filed in the Eastern District of Tennessee pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2255.”

    The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. In its opinion, Wright’s state conviction was”a essential predicate” for his federal conviction, (quoting Zichko v. Idaho, 247 F. 3d 1015, 1019 (CA9 2001)), therefore Wright was in fact in custody pursuant to the judgment of a state court. The board failed to check the District Court’s opinion that §2255, instead of §2254, given the suitable path for Wright to challenge his existing custody. One judge agreed and claimed that §2254 was the suitable mechanics”because Wright is not attacking the constitutionality of his federal conviction for failing to register as a sexual offender at Tennessee; he is collaterally attacking the constitutionality of his predicate Alaska conviction for sexual abuse of a minor.”

    Supreme Court’s Conclusion

    Citing Maleng v. Cook, 490 U.S. 488 (1989) (per curiam), the Court further noted that a habeas petitioner does not stay”in custody” under a conviction”after the sentence imposed for it has fully expired, merely Due to the possibility that the prior conviction will be utilized to enhance the sentences imposed for

    Any subsequent offenses of which he is convicted.” In that instance, the Court declared that it made no difference the possibility of a prior-conviction augmentation had materialized to the habeas petitioner in that case:”When the next sentence is imposed, it is pursuant to the next certainty the petitioner is incarcerated and is hence’in custody. ”’

    According to its prior precedent, the Court concluded that the fact that Wright’s state certainty served as a predicate for his federal conviction failed to render him”in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court” under §2254(a).

    If Wright’s next conviction had been for a state crime, he independently could have fulfilled §2254(a)’s”in custody” requirement, though his capacity to attack the first conviction so could have been limited. Wright could not meet §2254(a) on that independent basis for the very simple reason that his next decision was entered by a national court. (internal citations omitted).

    The Supreme Court voiced express no opinion on the other theories Wright advanced prior to the District Court to fulfilling the needs of §2254(a). It hastens the appeals court ruling and remanded the case back …

  • SCOTUS Rules FTC Can Not Pursue Equitable Relief

    The Court’s decision, which signifies a setback to the FTC’s enforcement plan, was unanimous.

    Facts of this Case

    In claiming that Tucker’s clinics were likely to mislead consumers, the Commission failed to use its own administrative event. Rather, the Commission registered a complaint against Tucker right in court. The Commission, relying upon Section 13(b) of the FTC Act, requested the court to issue a permanent injunction to stop Tucker from commit- ting future violations of this Act. Relying on exactly the exact identical provision, the Commission also requested the court to order monetary relief, in particular, restitution and disgorgement. Section 13(b) authorizes the Commission to get,”in appropriate cases,” that a”permanent injunction” in federal court against”any individual, partnership, or company” that it believes”is violating, or is about to violate, any provision of law” that the Commission enforces.

    On appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Tucker’s argument that §13(b) doesn’t authorize the award of equitable monetary relief.

    Supreme Court’s Conclusion

    The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Section 13(b) doesn’t authorize the FTC to search, or a court to award, equitable monetary relief like restitution or disgorgement. Justice Stephen Breyer wrote on behalf of the unanimous Court.

    Since Justice Breyer explained, the central question was whether Congress, by enacting §13(b) and using the phrases”permanent injunction,” granted the Commission authority to get monetary relief directly in courts and efficiently bypass the necessities of the administrative procedure. The Court concluded that it didn’t.

    “Several factors, taken together, convince us that §13(b)’s’permanent injunction’ language doesn’t authorize the Commission directly to get court-ordered monetary relief,” Justice Breyer wrote. The Court first noted the Section 13(b) provides that the

    “Commission may find… a permanent injunction.” Since Justice Breyer said,”An’injunction’ isn’t the same as the award of equitable monetary relief.”

    The Court further reasoned that the”terminology and structure of §13(b), taken as a whole, indicate that the phrases’permanent injunction’ have a restricted purpose–a goal that doesn’t stretch into the grant of monetary relief.” In support, Justice Breyer mentioned language, such as”is violating” and”is about to violate” (not”has violated”), indicating that the provision concentrates upon relief that’s prospective, not retrospective, i.e. stopping seemingly unfair practices from occurring while the Commission decides their lawfulness.

    [T]o read those words as letting what they do not say, namely, as permitting the Commission to dispense with administrative proceedings to obtain monetary relief as well, is to read the exact words going well beyond the provision’s subject matter,” Justice Breyer wrote. “In light of the historical importance of administrative proceedings, that reading would allow a tiny statutory tail to wag a huge dog.”

    The Court also found that the structure of this Act past §13(b) affirmed its conclusion. Justice Breyer wrote:

    Congress at §5(l) and §19 gave district courts the jurisdiction to impose restricted monetary penalties and to award monetary relief in cases in which the Commission has issued cease and desist orders, i.e., in which the Commission has participated in administrative proceedings. Since in those terms Congress explicitly provided for”other and additional equitable relief,” 15 U. S. C. §45(l), also for the”refund of money or return of land,” §57b(b), it likely didn’t intend for §13(b)’s longer cabined”permanent injunction” terminology to get similarly broad range.

    The Court proceeded to deny the FTC’s arguments concerning why it needs to be entitled to obtain monetary relief. In so ruling, the Court emphasized that the FTC can nevertheless find restitution and disgorgement under other terms of the FTC Act.

    “Nothing we say now, however, prohibits the Commission from utilizing its authority under §5 and §19 to obtain restitution on behalf of consumers,” Justice Breyer wrote. “If …

  • SCOTUS Rules FOIA Exception Applies to Environmental Opinion

    Justice Amy Coney Barrett authored the majority view, her first since joining the court. .

    Facts of the Case

    Even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule in 2011 regarding”cooling water intake structures” used to cool industrial equipment.

    Adhering to this required appointment, the Services prepare a formal”biological opinion” (called a”hazard” or”no jeopardy” biological opinion) Changing whether the bureau’s proposal will jeopardize the presence of threatened or endangered species. After consulting with the Services, the EPA made changes to its proposed rule, along with the Services obtained the revised version from November 2013. Staff members in NMFS and FWS shortly completed draft biological opinions concluding the November 2013 planned rule was likely to jeopardize certain species. Staff members delivered these drafts to the applicable decisionmakers within every service, but decisionmakers in the Services neither approved the drafts nor sent them into the EPA. The Services instead shelved the draft opinions and consented to the EPA to expand the period of consultation. Following these continued talks, the EPA delivered the Services a revised proposed rule in March 2014 that differed considerably in the 2013 variant. Satisfied the revised guideline was not possible to harm some protected species, the Services issued a combined final”no jeopardy” biological opinion. The EPA issued its final rule the exact same moment.

    Sierra Club, an environmental firm, filed FOIA requests for documents associated with the Services’ consultations with the EPA. FOIA requires that federal agencies make documents accessible to the public on request, unless all these documents fall within one of nine exemptions. Exemption 5 incorporates the rights available to Government agencies in civil litigation, such as the deliberative process privilege, attorney-client privilege, and lawyer work-product privilege. The Services invoked the deliberative process privilege, which protects from disclosure records generated through a bureau’s deliberations about a policy, instead of files that embody or clarify a policy that the agency adopts. Even the Sierra Club sued to acquire these withheld documents. Even the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held the draft biological opinions were not privileged because although branded as broadcasts, the draft opinions represented the Services’ final opinion about the EPA’s 2013 suggested rule.

    Supreme Court’s Decision

    By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court reversed.

    In her view, Justice Barrett explained the deliberative process privilege intends to boost agency decisionmaking by”encouraging candor and blunting the chilling effect that accompanies the prospect of disclosure.” V. Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp., 421 U. S. 168 (1975), she noted that the privilege distinguishes between predecisional, deliberative files, that can be exempt from disclosuredocuments and documents representing a final agency decision and the reasons supporting it, that are not.

    “It is not always self-evident if it’s the document signifies an agency’s ultimate decision, but only one thing is apparent: A document is not final solely because nothing else follows . On occasion a proposal expires on the vine,” Justice Barrett composed. “That occurs in deliberations–some ideas are lost or just languish. Nevertheless documents talking such dead-end notions can hardly be described as representing the agency’s preferred course. What matters, then, is not whether a document is last in line, but whether it communicates a policy where the agency has settled.”

    Determined by this framework, the Court proceeded to conclude that the deliberative process privilege shields the draft biological opinions from disclosure since they reflect a preliminary view–not a final conclusion –regarding the EPA’s suggested 2013 rule. In support, Justice Barrett highlighted the Services identified all these records as”drafts.” While Justice Barrett acknowledged the label is not determinative, the Court found it had been true in this instance since the opinions …

  • SCOTUS Rules”Community Caretaking” Exception Can’t Justify Warrantless Searches of Homes

    In Caniglia v. Strom, 593 U. S. ____ (2021), the U.S. Supreme Court held that a warrantless search of their Edward Caniglia’s house could not be justified under the”community caretaking” exception to the Treaty. According to the Court, neither the holding nor logic of Cady v. Dombrowski justified the removal of Caniglia’s firearms from his house by police officers conducting a welfare check.

    Facts of the Case

    Within a discussion with his wife, petitioner Edward Caniglia placed a handgun about the dining room table and asked his wife “shoot [him] and put it over with.” His spouse instead left the house and spent the night in a hotel. The next morning, she was not able to achieve her husband by telephone, so she called the authorities to ask a welfare check.

    The responding officers followed Caniglia’s spouse to the house, where they discovered Caniglia on the porch. The officers called an ambulance dependent on the belief which Caniglia posed a threat to others or himself. Caniglia agreed to go to the hospital for a psychiatric examination on the condition that the officers never confiscate his firearms. But, once Caniglia abandoned, the officers located and captured his weapons.

    Caniglia filed suit, alleging that the officers had entered his house and seized him and his firearms without a warrant in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, extrapolating in the Supreme Court’s conclusion in Cady v. Dombrowski, 413 U.S. 433 (1973), also a concept that the officers’ removal of Caniglia and his firearms from his residence was justified by a”community caretaking exception” to the warrant requirement. In support of its conclusion, the Court noted that police officers that patrol the”public highways” are usually called to release noncriminal”community care-taking functions,” such as responding to disabled vehicles or investigating accidents.

    Supreme Court’s Conclusion

    “The issue today is whether Cady’s correlation of those’caretaking’ duties produces a standalone doctrine that justifies warrantless searches and seizures in the house. It does not,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote on behalf of the Court.

    According to the Court, the First Circuit’s interpretation of the community caretaking principle”goes beyond anything that this court has recognized.” As Justice Thomas explainedthe”realization that police officers play many civic tasks in modern society was only that–

    A realization that these tasks exist, rather than an open-ended license to perform them everywhere.”

    In his view, Justice Thomas also emphasized that searches of vehicles and homes are constitutionally distinct. He additionally mentioned that Cady made this type of differentiation. “What’s reasonable for vehicles differs from what’s reasonable for homes,” Thomas wrote. “Cady acknowledged as much, and this Court has ‘diminished to expand the scope of both… exceptions to the warrant requirement to permit warrantless entry into your house. ”’…

  • SCOTUS Rules District Courts Can’t Second Guess Appellate Courts’ Ruling on Costs

    Back in San Antonio v., L.P., 593 U.S. ____ (2021), the U.S. Supreme Court held that a district court does not have the discretion to deny or reduce the costs given by an appellate court under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 39.

    Facts of the Case

    The City of San Antonio–acting on behalf of a class of 173 Texas municipalities–has been granted a multi-million-dollar judgment in Federal District Court from many of favorite online travel companies (OTCs) within the calculation of hotel occupancy taxes. To prevent execution on such judgment pending appeal, the OTCs acquired supersedeas bonds securing the judgment.

    On appeal, the Court of Appeals decided that the OTCs hadn’t underpaid on their taxation. In keeping with Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 39(d), the OTCs registered with the circuit clerk a invoice of costs searching for unmanned docketing fees and printing costs, that were taxed without objection. The OTCs then filed a statement of costs in the District Court seeking over $2.3 million in costs–mostly for premiums paid on the supersedeas bonds which are listed in Rule 39(e) as”taxable in the district court for the benefit of the party entitled to costs.”

    San Antonio objected and urged the District Court to exercise its discretion to decline to tax all or most of these costs. The District Court held that it had no discretion to deny or decrease those costs under Circuit precedent.

    Supreme Court’s Conclusion

    Even the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed, holding that Rule 39 does not allow a district court to change a court of appeals’ feasibility of the costs listed in subdivision (e) of the Rule. Justice Samuel Alito wrote on behalf of the Court.

    In reaching its conclusion, the Court refused San Antonio’s argument that”the appellate court may say’who will receive costs (party A, party B, or neither)’ but lacks’ability to split up costs. ”’ Rather, the justices sided with the OTCs, agreeing that the court has the discretion to split up the costs as it deems suitable and a district court cannot change that job.

    “There is a longstanding custom of awarding certain costs besides attorney’s fees to prevailing parties from the national courts,” Justice Alito clarified. He added that Principle 39″certainly does not imply that the court of appeals may not split up costs,” but”[o]n the contrary, the jurisdiction of a court of appeals to do exactly that is firmly supported by the association between the default rules and the court of appeals’ ability to’order otherwise. ”’

    Justice Alito went on to emphasize the court of appeals’ conclusion that a party is”entitled” to a specific proportion of costs will mean little if the district court would take another look in the equities. He also wrote:

    Suppose that a court of appeals, in a situation where the district court judgment is affirmed, awards the prevailing appellee 70 percent of its costs. In the event the district court, in an exercise of its discretion, later reduced the costs by half an hour , the appellee would receive just 35 percent of its prices –in direct violation of the court of appeals’ instructions. Or assume the court of appeals, presuming the decision below was plainly wrong, awards the prevailing appellant 100 percent of its prices. It would subvert that allocation if the district court declined to tax costs or substantially reduced them because it thought there was at least a very powerful argument in favor of the conclusion the court of appeals had reversed–which, clearly, was the district court’s decision. In short, the court of appeals’ conclusion that a party is”entitled” to costs could mean small …

  • How Do Criminal Lawyers Use the Library to Help With Their Cases?

    A criminal lawyer must be able to find a lot of valuable information in the library. Many criminal lawyers use the local public library and they find out many things about cases that they would not have had time to find out on their own. It is so much easier to go into the library and read up on books, magazines, newspapers and other resources than it is to drive all over town trying to find something. Going to the library gives you an advantage over anyone else because you will know where to find everything.

    If your criminal lawyer does a good job of finding out all the details of a case, then he or she should keep a file cabinet in the library for any discovery they make. This makes finding the right documents easy and fast. The nice thing about a filing cabinet is that you can lock it up tight when you are not using it. This way you don’t have to worry about someone rummaging through your files. If you are not at home when the lawyer makes a discovery, then you don’t have to worry about it.

    The criminal lawyer has to be able to build a case from the ground up. He or she has to have solid witnesses and evidence collected from the scene of the crime. There has to be some way to tie together all of the pieces of evidence. A good criminal lawyer should be able to do this without the use of computers and other forms of technology that could make things easier. He or she should be able to call up and interview witnesses, and even use computer databases to find connections between different incidents.

    A library can be a valuable research tool for a criminal lawyer as well. He or she can spend a few hours going through the police report, looking for anything that might be interesting. They might discover a pattern of assault in the same neighborhood over a period of time. It helps if the lawyer knows the specific area code for the city, because when he is looking up this data online, he has to know what region he is in, even if the address is outside the city. This makes the process go faster and also makes it easier for him to ask easy questions when he is on the phone with the client.

    Another thing the criminal lawyer can do inside the library is to use it as a reference for potential witnesses. If someone else called the police, and the person who was attacked is a relative, the library may contain information that proves helpful. It could turn up details about the attacker’s family, his past, and perhaps work history. Sometimes victims will want to know the assailant’s income. Sometimes the criminal lawyer will actually be the person who asks the question, since he will be able to gather information that was not available before.

    Some criminal lawyers use the library to build a case against their opponents. For example, they may learn that the person they are accusing of lying or harming their client has a previous criminal record. The lawyers then use this knowledge to build a strong case against the opponent, or to use it to argue in court. Using information found in the public records can also provide an advantage to some lawyers.

    Many libraries also offer legal research material. This can help criminal lawyers obtain additional research questions, which they can answer online for their clients. A lawyer who is good at finding the …