Findlaw Summaries: Constitutional Law October 6-10, 2008

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U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, October 08, 2008 Hartline v. Gallo, No. 065309 In claim for unconstitutional strip search in the absence of individualized suspicion that she was secreting contraband, grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants is vacated in part, affirmed in part, and remanded where: 1) defendant’s evidence demonstrated a violation of her Fourth Amendment right; 2) defendant was subjected to a strip search by the police, pursuant to departmental policy, in the absence of individualized suspicion that she was secreting contraband on her person; and 3) the district court erred in holding that defendant waived the alternative basis for her section 1983 claim, namely, that the officers violated her Fourth Amendment rights by telecasting her strip search through the 20 police station.

U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, October 07, 2008 M.A.L. v. Kinsland, No. 07-1409 In an action involving the constitutionality of a public middle school’s regulation of a student’s leafleting, entry of a permanent injunction against the school and an award of nominal damages is reversed where: 1) the school hallways constituted a nonpublic forum; 2) the restrictions were reasonable and were not overbroad; 3) the heightened Tinker standard did not apply to the school’s viewpoint-neutral time, place, and manner restrictions on speech, which were designed to prevent hallway clutter and congestion; and 4) the award could not stand without a constitutional violation.

U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, October 08, 2008 Bogaert v. Land, No. 08-2130, 08-2131, 08-2140 In an action brought by the sponsor of a petition to recall a Michigan state legislator from office asserting that a state law setting forth qualifications for those collecting recall signatures violated the First Amendment, plaintiff’s motion to dismiss defendants’ appeal from adverse rulings against them is granted on mootness grounds as the specific steps required by a preliminary injunction had been completed and those steps could not be presently undone
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, October 08, 2008 Kozuszek v. Brewer, No. 07-3224 In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit against two county election officials for spoiling plaintiffs’ ballots in a general election over questions surrounding their residence, summary judgment for defendants is affirmed where plaintiffs did not produce evidence of willful conduct by defendants to impair plaintiffs’ votes.

U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, October 07, 2008 US v. Delgado, No. 07-50238 In a case involving a commercial truck containing over forty kilograms of cocaine, conviction of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute is affirmed where: 1) a search under Missouri trucking regulations did not violate the 4th Amendment because commercial trucking is a pervasively regulated industry in which reasonable administrative searches do not require a search warrant or probable cause; and 2) direct proof of venue is not necessary where circumstantial evidence in the record as a whole supports the inference that the crime was committed in the district where venue was laid.

U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, October 07, 2008 Snoqualmie Indian Tribe v. Fed. Energy Regulatory Comm., No. 05-72739, 05-74060 In an challenge to the relicensing to operate Snoqualmie Falls Hydroelectric Project for another forty years, petition for review of the licensing decision is denied where: 1) the relicensing decision does not substantially burden the petitioner-tribe’s free exercise of religion; 2) members of tribe were not forced to choose between following the tenets of their religion and receiving a governmental benefit, nor coerced to act contrary to their religious beliefs by the threat of civil or criminal sanction; and 3) because tribe gained federal recognition after 1997, the National Historic Preservation Act did not require negotiation on a government-to-government basis.

U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, October 06, 2008 Comm. on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives v. Miers, No. 08-5357 In a suit brought to compel testimony and the production of documents by White House officials in the Congressional investigation of the forced resignation of nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006, motion for stay pending an appeal of the district court’s order to defendants to produce the requested documents and appear to testify is granted where: 1) the district court’s orders had the effect of injunctions, and there was therefore appellate jurisdiction; but 2) even if expedited, the controversy would not be fully and finally resolved by the judicial branch prior to the end of the 110th Congress, when the subpoenas at issue would expire.

Supreme Court of Delaware, October 06, 2008 Hoover v. State of Delaware, No. 408, 2007 Upon certification of two questions of law by the Superior Court, the court answers that: 1) section 4176A of the Delaware Code, making it a misdemeanor to cause the death of another by operation of a motor vehicle in violation of the vehicle code, was not unconstitutionally vague, nor did it require a state-of-mind element; and 2) the general liability provisions of title 11, section 251(b) of the Delaware Code did not apply to section 4176A

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