Archive for the 'Federal Courts' Category


Removal Order Could Have Violated the First Amendment

Federal Appeals Court questions state senator’s order to remove a dissident from the Senate Building.

Salvador Reza, a member of a community group focused on protecting migrant workers, attended an Arizona Senate session during a legislative hearing on a controversial immigration-related bill. Reza and some of his supporters were seated in an overflow room, and both supporters and opponents of the measure applauded and booed during the hearing. Near the end of the hearing, Sen. Russell Pearce, the Senate president, claimed the noise from the overflow room was interfering with the hearing. An officer was sent to silence the audience, but Reza refused. When the officer threatened to arrest the disrupters, they clapped louder. This was repeated when the sergeant-at-arms entered the overflow room. When the hearing concluded, Pearce asked an officer to identify the noisy protestors and ordered that they be denied future access to the building.


Court says Hillary Clinton emails broke ‘government policy’

A federal judge said that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s unique email arrangement violated government policy and prodded the department to talk with the FBI to determine what documents can be recovered from the computer server and flash drives used to store her emails.

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan was surprised that the State Department hadn’t made that request and poked at the administration’s claim that the FBI needed to be left alone to conduct its investigation. He gave the agencies 30 days to figure out whether emails can be recovered.


Appeals Court Allows Sept. 11 Steel Cross Display

A U.S. appeals court has rejected a lawsuit by an atheist group seeking to stop the display of a cross-shaped steel beam found among the World Trade Center’s wreckage.

The 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals sided with a federal judge’s ruling last year that the decision to include the beam in the National September 11 Memorial & Museum did not advance religion impermissibly.


FBI Defends Search for Oklahoma City Bombing Video

The FBI thoroughly searched its archives and found no evidence that more videos of the Oklahoma City bombing exist, agency employees told a judge Monday in a trial that has rekindled questions about whether any others were involved in the 1995 attack.

Additional searches for videos that Salt Lake City lawyer Jesse Trentadue believes are being withheld would be burdensome and fruitless, FBI attorney Kathryn Wyer argued during the first day of a bench trial.


Judge to Supreme Court: ‘STFU’

The Supreme Court is used to having its decisions publicly criticized, but rarely in R-rated language spouted by a federal judge, who says the justices should just “stfu.”

The remarks come from Nebraska-based Judge Richard Kopf, who has a reputation for provocative commentary on his personal blog.


Supreme Court to Hear Case on Facebook Threats

The Supreme Court agreed to consider a classic free speech conundrum for the 21st century: When do threatening comments made on social media sites such as Facebook cross the line into criminal activity?

Two lower federal courts ruled that Anthony Elonis crossed that line in 2010 when he mused on his Facebook page about killing his wife and others, including an FBI agent who was investigating his actions.

“Did you know that it’s illegal for me to say I want to kill my wife?” he wrote in one of many posts. “It’s illegal. It’s indirect criminal contempt. It’s one of the only sentences that I’m not allowed to say.”


Warrantless Cell Tracking Unconstitutional

Investigators must obtain a search warrant from a judge in order to obtain cellphone tower tracking data that is widely used as evidence to show suspects were in the vicinity of a crime, a federal appeals court ruled.

In the first ruling of its kind nationally, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined people have an expectation of privacy in their movements and that the cell tower data was part of that. As such, obtaining the records without a search warrant is a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures, the judges ruled.

October 2017
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