(Updated Feb. 14, 2005)

RECENT CASES

I. Constitutional Issues:

    In Oregon v. Ashcroft, 368 F.3d 1118 (9th Cir. 2004), the 9th Circuit dealt with Oregon’s “right to die” law.

    These cases, Johnson v. City of Cincinnati, 310 F.3d 484 (6th Cir. 2002), and State v. Burnett, 755 N.E.2d 857 (Ohio 2001), deal with the right to travel.

    In Bourgeois v. Peters, 387 F.3d 1303 (11th Cir. 2004), the court held that "the mass, suspicionless, warrantless magnetometer searches violate their Fourth Amendment right to be free of 'unreasonable searches and seizures'" were violative of the 4th Amendment.

    In Guillen v.Pierce County, 31 P.2d 628 (Wash. 2001), a federal law mandating confidentiality of federally required gathering of traffic information was held unconstitutional because it presumed to control state activity.

    In Planned Parenthood of The Columbia/Willamette, Inc. v. American Coalition of Life Activists, 244 F.3d 1007 (9th Cir. 2001), the court reversed a very large judgment against some pro-lifers on First Amendment grounds.

    In Saxe v. State College Area School District, 240 F.3d 200 (3rd Cir. 2001), a public school district's "anti-harassment" policy was held violative of the First Amendment.

    Ever since the enactment of the federal child support recovery laws, which include 18 U.S.C. §228, there has been litigation regarding their constitutionality. Some courts found such laws constitutional as based on the federal interstate commerce powers; see among others, United States v. Sage, 92 F.3d 101 (2nd Cir. 1996), and United States v. Black, 125 F.3d 454 (7th Cir. 1997). But recently, the 6th Circuit found them unconstitutional; see United States v. Faasse, 227 F.3d 660 (6th Cir. 2000). Because of the split in the circuits regarding this issue, this case appears to be one which the Supremes will review via certiorari.

    In Pearson v. Shalala, 164 F.3d 650 (D.C. Cir. 1999), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit agreed with Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, movers and shakers in the alternative health movement, that certain FDA regs were violative of free speech.

    In Jordan v. Department of Motor Vehicles (1999) 75 Cal.App.4th 449, the car smog fee was held unconstitutional on the basis of a violation of the federal commerce clause (this is a PDF file).

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Brzonkala v. V.P.I., 169 F.3d 820 (4th Cir. 1999), held the federal "Violence Against Women Act" unconstitutional. This decision has been affirmed by the Supremes in United States v. Morrison, 529 U.S. 598 (2000). You may also read this same case at Cornell Law School; click here.

    In Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57, 120 S.Ct. 2054 (2000), the Supreme Court was required to deal with the constitutionality of a state law granting grand parents visitation rights for their grandchildren. This opinion, which found this law unconstitutional, is great regarding parental rights.

    In White v. Lee, 227 F.3d 1214 (9th Cir. 2000), the court dealt with the important question of whether lawsuits constituted "petitioning government for redress of grievances."

II. Criminal Cases:

    In United States v. Garcia, 401 F.3d 1008 (9th Cir. 2005), the court allowed withdrawal of a guilty plea for new evidence.

    In Botts v. State, 278 Ga. 538, 604 S.E.2d 512 (2004), the Georgia Supreme Court held a "hate crimes" punishment provision unconstitutional.

   In United States v. $242,484.00, 318 F.3d 1240 (11th Cir. 2003), the court concluded that mere cash alone did not constitute probable cause.

    In United States v. Culliton, 328 F.3d 1074 (9th Cir. 2002), a false statement conviction based on 18 U.S.C. §1001 was reversed regarding statement made on FAA form which was fundamentally vague.

    In Ex parte H.H., 830 So.2d 21 (Ala. 2002), Justice Roy Moore, in a concurring opinion, made some comments of interest to many folks.

    In State v. One House, Personalty and Realty Known as 232 Mullica Hill Road, 346 N. J. Super. 247 (App. Div. 2001), equitable defenses to forfeiture actions were allowed.

    In United States v. Kincade, 345 F. 3rd 1095 (9th Cir. 2003), the 9th Circuit held DNA tests of prisoners unconstitutional as violation of privacy.

    In People v. Willis, 46 P.3d 898 (2002), the Cal Supremes suppressed a warrantless search.

    In Killian v. Poole, 282 F.3d 1204 (9th Cir. 2002), the court granted habe relief because of the use of perjured testimony during trial.

    In State of North Carolina v. Guice, 141 N.C.App. 177, 541 S.E.2d 474 (2000), a conviction was reversed on an Apprendi issue.

    In Ex Parte Warren, 783 So.2d 86 (Ala. 2000), the Alabama Supreme Court held drugs seized during Terry-type patdown, "field interview" had to be suppressed.

    In DePriest v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 73 Va. App. 754, 537 SE.2d 1 (2000), the Virginia Court of Appeals upheld the constitutionality of a sodomy law against an "invasion of privacy" argument.  FindLaw publishes cases in text, which does not include footnotes. If you want the case with footnotes, check the Virginia courts web site.

    In Indianapolis v. Edmond, 531 U.S. 32, 121 S.Ct. 447 (2000), the Court found the "car search" drug interdiction program used by Indy unconstitutional.

    In Rideau v. Whitley, 248 F.3d 1141 (5th Cir. 2000), conviction vacated after many years due to improper impaneling of grand jury.

    In Cleveland v. United States, 531 U.S. 12, 121 S.Ct. 365 (2000), the Supreme Court defined better limits to federal mail fraud prosecutions.

    In State of Utah v. Real Property at 633 East 640 North, Orem, Utah, 942 P.2d 925 (2000), the Utah Supremes rendered a decision which will place some real limits upon drug forfeitures.

    In United States v. Kramer, 225 F.3d 847 (7th Cir. 2000), a conviction for violating the child support recovery act was reversed on novel jurisdiction issues.

    In United States v. Gantt, 194 F.3d 987 (9th Cir. 1999), the court suppressed evidence obtained from a search because of a failure to deliver a copy of the warrant at the start of the search.

    In United States v. Kassouf, 144 F.3d 952 (6th Cir. 1998), the court addressed an indictment which failed to properly allege an element for a prosecution under 26 U.S.C. §7212.

    In United States v. Fultz, 146 F.3d 1102 (9th Cir. 1998), a search was suppressed because a landlord could not give consent for the search.

    In United States v. Kyllo, 140 F.3d 1249 (9th Cir. 1998), the court held that a thermal imaging "search" required a warrant.

III. Tax Cases:

    In Roosevelt v. Montana Dept of Revenue, 975 P.2d 295, 1999 MT 30 (Mont. 1999), the court held a tax statute violative of equal protection. This link goes to the State Law Library site where you may read not only the opinion, but also the briefs in the appeal.

    In Bleavins v. Bartels, 243 F.3d 393w (7th Cir. 2001), the court dealt with a wrongful levy for taxes by some state collection agents; damages were awarded to the injured taxpayer. The above "w" next to the page cite for this case indicates that this decision has been withdrawn for further reconsideration and opinion.

    In United States v. Nipper, 246 F.3d 683 (10th Cir. 2001), Vern Holland wins again on the assessment issue.

    The Michigan Court of Appeals recently decided the appeal in Village of Dimondale v. Grable, 618 N.W.2d 23 (Mich. App. 2000), and held a tax sale invalid (this is also a Vern Holland case).

    In Jones v. United States, 207 F.3d 508 (8th Cir. 2000), the court found that the IRS engaged in a wrongful disclosure of "return information."

    In Lawson v. Shelby County, 211 F.3d 331 (6th Cir. 2000), the court decided an interesting case involving social security numbers and the Privacy Act.

IV. Administrative Procedure Cases:

    In Maine v. U.S. Dept. of Interior, 298 F.3d 60 (1st Cir. 2002), a new and broader construction of FOIA was made, thus allowing greater access to government documents.

    In American Trucking Ass'ns. v. USEPA, 175 F.3d 1027 (D.C. Cir. 1999), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit held that some EPA regulations were unlawful. But see the decision of the Supremes in Whitman v. American Trucking.

    In Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 531 U.S. 159 (2001), the environmentalists took a hit over the Clean Water Act.  Here is an amici brief  submitted in the case by The Claremont Institute.

V. Immunity of government officials:

  Milstein v. Cooley, 257 F.3d 1004 (9th Cir. 2001): Fabricating evidence by acquiring false witness statements, filing a false crime report, investigating an alleged crime as a detective rather than an advocate, and making statements to the media are not acts for which prosecutors are shielded by absolute immunity. See also Rogers v. Pendleton, 249 F.3d 279 (4th Cir. 2001), and Sampson v. Schenectady, Case No. 99 CV 1331 (N.D.N.Y. 2001).

In Schroder v. Bush, 263 F.3d 1169 (10th Cir. 2001), Gene Schroder's lawsuit against the feds for violating certain laws beneficial to farmers was held to present a political question.

VI. Miscellaneous:

    In Dixon v. CIR, 316 F.3d 1041 (9th Cir. 2003), the court found that DoJ and IRS committed fraud upon the court in a tax case.

        In Veeck v. Southern Bdlg. Code Congress International, Inc., 241 F.3d 398 (5th Cir. 2003), the court held that building codes cannot be copyrighted.

Gun Cases:

In Baca v. New Mexico Dept. of Public Safety, 47 P.3d 441 (N.M. 2002), the New Mexico Supremes rendered a decision dealing with the right to bear arms.

In Klein v. Leis, ___ N.E. 2d ___ (Ohio App. 1st Dist. 2002), the Ohio concealed carry law was held unconstitutional. This decision has been recently reversed. 

In Kasler v. Lungren, 72 Cal.Rptr.2d 260 (Cal.App. 3 Dist. 1998), the Cal assault weapons ban was found illegal. Note: this case was recently reversed by the Cal Supremes.