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Category Archives: Courts

Majority of Public Favors Giving Civilians the Power to Sue Police Officers for Misconduct

“With legislation to address racism and the use of excessive force by law enforcement stalled in Congress, there is broad public support in the United States for permitting citizens to sue police officers in order to hold them accountable for misconduct or using excessive force. The legal doctrine of “qualified immunity” generally protects officers from being held personally liable in lawsuits unless they commit clear violations of law. A proposal to limit qualified immunity has emerged as a stumbling block in the congressional debate over policing. Two-thirds of Americans (66%) say that civilians need to have the power to sue police officers to hold them accountable for misconduct and excessive use of force, even if that makes the officers’ jobs more difficult. Just 32% say that, in order for police officers to do their jobs effectively, they need to be shielded from such lawsuits. About eight-in-ten Black adults (86%) favor permitting citizens to sue police officers to hold them accountable for misconduct, as do 75% of Hispanic adults and 60% of white adults. There also are sizable partisan differences in views of qualified immunity, reflecting the divisions over the issue in Congress. A majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents (84%) say citizens need the power to sue police officers for the use of excessive force and misconduct, compared with 45% of Republicans and Republican leaners. The national survey, conducted June 16-22 among 4,708 adults using Pew Research Center’s American Trends Panel, finds that the public’s evaluations of police performance in several key areas have declined since the Center last explored attitudes among police officers and the public in 2016…”

Legal experts say Supreme Court ruling on Trump financial records will have far-reaching effect

SCOTUS Blog – Opinion analysis – Disputes over Trump financial records to continue: “This morning [July 9, 2020] the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited rulings in the battle over efforts to obtain financial records belonging to President Donald Trump. By a vote of 7-2, the justices sent a pair of cases challenging congressional subpoenas for… Continue Reading

Supreme Court says generic domains like booking.com can be trademarked

ars technica: “The US Patent and Trademark Office erred by finding the term booking.com was too generic for trademark protection, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. Trademark law prohibits anyone from registering generic terms that describe a class of products or services. Anyone can start a store company called “The Wine Company,” but they can’t… Continue Reading

Thousands of U.S. judges who broke laws or oaths remained on the bench

“…In the first comprehensive accounting of judicial misconduct nationally, Reuters reviewed 1,509 cases from the last dozen years – 2008 through 2019 – in which judges resigned, retired or were publicly disciplined following accusations of misconduct. In addition, reporters identified another 3,613 cases from 2008 through 2018 in which states disciplined wayward judges but kept hidden from… Continue Reading

Judiciary Launches Redesigned PACER Website

“The Administrative Office of the U.S Courts on June 28 will launch a redesigned informational website for the Judiciary’s electronic court records system, known as PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records). The new PACER website includes features that will make it easier for users to learn how to navigate the system, find what they are looking… Continue Reading

John Bolton’s Book That Trump Wanted to Stop Is Spreading Widely on Piracy Sites

Motherboard: ‘The Room Where it Happened’ is tearing up the charts on sites where people download the book for free. Former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s memoir The Room Where It Happened is set to release tomorrow, but it’s already a huge hit on pirate sites. According to Torrent Freak, The Pirate Bay, Google Drive,… Continue Reading

ACUS Publishes New Report on Recusal Rules for Agency Adjudicators

ACUS – “ACUS is pleased to release a new report, Administrative Recusal Rules: A Taxonomy and Study of Existing Recusal Standards for Agency Adjudicators. The report, prepared by Stetson University College of Law Professor Louis J. Virelli, III, collects and analyzes a wide-ranging set of recusal standards and practices employed by more than 60 agencies… Continue Reading

Supreme Court’s landmark LGBTQ rights decision summarized

Vox: “Bostock v. Clayton County, a landmark Supreme Court decision holding that federal law prohibits employment discrimination against LGBTQ workers, was a test of Justice Neil Gorsuch’s principles. He passed. Gorsuch is a vocal proponent of “textualism,” the belief that the meaning of a law turns on its words alone, not on the intentions of… Continue Reading

Policing the Police: Qualified Immunity and Considerations for Congress

CRS report via LC – Policing the Police: Qualified Immunity and Considerations for Congress, June 10, 2020: “In the wake of unrest arising from George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020,after a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck, broader questions have arisen with regard to how existing law regulates the conduct of… Continue Reading

Why filming police violence has done nothing to stop it

MIT Technology Review – “After years of police body cams and bystander cellphone video, it’s clear that evidentiary images on their own don’t bring about change. What’s missing is power …The hope for sousveillance comes from the same logic. If police officers know they’re being watched both by their body cameras and by civilians with… Continue Reading

Social distanced justice? Courts restart trials, struggle to adapt to COVID-19 precautions

ABC News: “As courts across the country begin to cautiously resume in-person hearings through the COVID-19 pandemic, judges are confronting a vexing challenge: how to safely convene jury trials at a time when health officials continue to caution against public gatherings. With no real federal guidance or uniform system governing the nation’s vast judiciary, current… Continue Reading

We Mapped Where Customs and Border Protection Drones Are Flying in the U.S. and Beyond

Gizmodo: “Over nearly a decade since that standoff, the details of CBP’s drone operations have been vague. Previous reporting and public documents suggest that the agency operates a fleet of 10 Predator drones that are legally permitted to patrol within 100 air miles of the border—CBP also asserts the power to do so within 100… Continue Reading