Is Logging into a Friend’s Netflix Account a Federal Crime?

  United States vs. Nosal - Recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision   You access your friend's Netflix account after he gave you permission to use it with his login and password. Did you just commit a federal criminal offense?   Earlier this year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided 2-1 that sharing passwords to access computer databases can be grounds for criminal prosecution. The case was brought to the Appeals Court after David Nosal, an employee at the executive search firm Korn and Ferry International. Nosal left the firm in 2004 after being denied a promotion. Though [...]

SCOTUS Update: Foster v. Humphrey

  Foster v. Humphrey U.S. Supreme Court Decision Last year, I wrote about United States Supreme Court agreeing to hear argument in the case of Foster v. Humphrey. This case is out of the state of Georgia and involves an African American man that was convicted of murder by an all-white jury. Timothy Tyrone Foster was convicted of murdering a 79-year-old school teacher in 1987. During the murder trial, the defense raised the objection that the state prosecutors intentionally excluded African American jurors during the jury selection. The trial court denied Foster’s claim that racial discrimination was committed during jury selection. [...]

By |2016-06-30T00:22:51+00:00June 30th, 2016|Categories: Case Law, U.S. Supreme Court|Tags: , |

New ‘violent felony’ ruling from SCOTUS may provide sentence relief

  Welch vs. United States: Supreme Court Holds that Johnson vs. United States is Retroactive A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling may make it possible for some convicted felons who were later sent to prison for possessing a firearm to obtain relief from their sentences. The issues surrounding the Court’s new attitude toward firearm-possession rules are complicated. Put simply, United States law prohibits convicted felons from possessing a firearm. The maximum sentence for a felon convicted under this statute is 10 years, but the sentence is enhanced to a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of life imprisonment if [...]

Courts Continue to Examine Digital Electronic Privacy Issues

Case Law: Search and Seizure of Digital Electronics In a separate web posting I detailed the ruling and background pertaining to Riley v. California, a 2014 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision which said that police cannot search the contents of a smart phone (or flip-top phone) without a warrant. The ruling generally was viewed by legal pundits and others as a victory for individual privacy rights, but other Fourth Amendment issues related to high-tech devices remained up in the air.   Following the decision, legal questions surrounding warrantless police searches of other electronics such as laptop and desktop computers have [...]

SCOTUS Update: Los Angeles v. Patel

  Supreme Court strikes down Los Angeles law allowing police to examine hotel registries without a warrant Last year I blogged about Los Angeles vs. Patel. In June of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down their decision.   The hoteliers took victory in the privacy-rights arena when the U.S. Supreme Court essentially struck down a City of Los Angeles law that had resulted in warrantless spot checks of their business records. Officially, the city ordinance required hotel operators to keep specified information about their customers for 90 days and to make the details available to police whenever they [...]

Fifth Circuit Says Louisiana Can’t Nix Good-Time Credits Retroactively

  Price v. Wade Correctional Center Should individuals who violate parole conditions after completing a prison term lose the lion’s share of the good-time credit they previously earned while incarcerated? Not according to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which recently ruled in favor of a man who was denied his good-time credits by the state of Louisiana. The court granted relief to Richard Price, who was sentenced for armed robbery in 1985 in the Bayou State. Paroled in 2003, he later violated a release condition and his parole was revoked. The state also revoked all of the good-time credit [...]

By |2015-08-05T23:19:30+00:00August 5th, 2015|Categories: Case Law, Parole, Prison -- Louisiana|Tags: , |

SCOTUS Update: Glossip v. Gross

  Supreme Court Rules Executions Performed With Controversial Drugs Not Unconstitutional Another day, another 5-4 split on the U.S. Supreme Court along ideological lines. I’m referring to the recent high-court decision in which held that executions carried out by a controversial three-drug protocol did not constitute “cruel and unusual punishment” under the Constitution’s Eighth Amendment. Lead plaintiff Charles Warner, convicted in 2003 of raping and murdering an 11-month-old in 1997, was put to death in Oklahoma while awaiting the ruling in this case. The issue at bar (officially the case was called Glossip v. Gross) was the use of the drug [...]

By |2015-08-05T01:24:33+00:00August 5th, 2015|Categories: Case Law, U.S. Supreme Court|Tags: , |

Are Strip Searches in Jails Legal?

  Florence vs. County of Burlington: United States Supreme Court Rules Strip Searches in Jails are always Legal Recently, I had a client who was charged with with simple possession of marijuana. He was actually arrested for an outstanding traffic ticket attachment when the deputies allegedly found a joint on him after a strip search. My first thought in this case was, "Is it legal for a jail to strip search someone who has been arrested for a simple traffic ticket?" The deputies actions seemed a little overzealous to me. It sounded like a 4th Amendment violation against unlawful search [...]

Warrantless Search & Seizure of Computers

  Issues of Privacy Rights Pertaining to Computers and other Electronic Devices Winding Their Way Through the Courts In a separate web posting I detailed the ruling and background pertaining to Riley v. California, a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision which said that police cannot search the contents of a cell phone without a judicial warrant. The ruling generally was viewed by legal pundits and others as a victory for individual privacy rights, but other Fourth Amendment issues related to high-tech devices remained up in the air. Following the decision, legal questions surrounding warrantless police searches of other electronic tools [...]

SCOTUS: Cops Need a Warrant to Search Cell Phones

  Riley v. California: Supreme Court of the United States Says Law Enforcement May Not Look at Contents of Cell Phone without Warrant Can a cop seize your smart phone or flip-top phone and have his way with it -- combing through such devices (despite the lack of a search warrant) in a desperate effort to find incriminating evidence against you? The U.S. Supreme Court last year finally addressed the issue, perhaps with an eye toward ensuring future protection of an individual’s Fourth Amendment (privacy) rights pertaining to other high-tech devices, such as laptop computers. But first, allow me to [...]