Categories
Constitutional Law Criminal Law

Power of Persistence: “Jailhouse Lawyer” Takes Case to SCOTUS

Only two States in the country, Louisiana and Oregon, allow for non-unanimous verdicts in criminal cases. One man – Calvin Duncan – has been fighting it in his home State of Louisiana for over 20 years. Duncan does not have a law degree. In fact he only had a 10th grade education when he was […]

Categories
Constitutional Law Criminal Law

Coziness Between Bench and Prosecutor’s Office a Continuing Problem

It is often an illusion that all lawyers and clients get the same treatment when standing before the bench in a court of law. The fact is that for a variety of reasons in criminal cases, there is a cozy relationship between the bench and the prosecutors appearing before them. Now before I go any […]

Categories
Constitutional Law Criminal Law Litigation

Client: “I’m Not Guilty!” – Lawyer: “Yes, You Are!” SCOTUS to Rule on Who Decides in Louisiana Death Penalty Case

Louisiana man Robert McCoy was accused of killing Christine Colston Young, Willie Young and Gregory Colston, who were the mother, stepfather and son of Mr. McCoy’s estranged wife. There was substantial evidence that he had done so. The actual shooting was caught on tape as the victim had called 911 upon the shooter’s arrival and […]

Categories
Constitutional Law Litigation

Colorado Gay Wedding Cake Case: Is Selling A Cake “Speech”?

On Tuesday The Supreme Court will hear oral argument on one of the most anticipated cases on the docket for this term: Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission Back in 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins were set to celebrate their wedding in Denver, after having been married in Massachusetts. Jack Phillips, a well […]

Categories
Constitutional Law

SCOTUS Ruling on “Slants” Trademark Leads to More Offensive Filings

Back on June 19, a unanimous Supreme Court struck down a law prohibiting the registering of “disparaging” trademarks, in a case dealing with an Asian-American band called “The Slants.” The ruling also ended the appeal filed by the Washington Redskins which had been denied a trademark for their name under the same provision. The Court […]

Categories
Constitutional Law Intellectual Property Litigation

SCOTUS Ends Forum Shopping in Patent Cases

Well the docket of the Eastern Texas Federal District Court is going to get much lighter in the coming months and years. In a unanimous 8-0 decision, in a case titled TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, the Supreme Court held that a person or entity claiming patent infringement must bring the […]

Categories
Constitutional Law

Dept of Justice Uses Racist Decision In Support of Trump Travel Ban

The Dept of Justice, headed of course by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is tasked with defendant President Trump’s executive order that prohibited entry into the United States from several majority-Muslim countries. This coming Monday, the Fourth Circuit will hear argument on the second version of the Trump travel ban, which two lower courts have already […]

Categories
Constitutional Law Litigation

Hush Your Pretty Little Mouth: Gender and Interruption at the Supreme Court

In Adam Liptak’s NY times column today, he reports about a Northwestern University Law School study that examined the esoteric issue of interruptions in Supreme Court arguments.The study looked at 7,239 interruptions of justices and lawyers by other justices and lawyers occurring between 2004 through 2015. Now, that’s a lot but interruptions are part of […]

Categories
Constitutional Law Criminal Law

SCOTUS Changes Face of Criminal Trials With New Decision About Jurors and Race

The Supreme Court threw open the normally tightly-sealed doors of the jury room in overturning the conviction of Miguel Pena-Rodriguez in the case of Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado. In a 5-3 decision written by Justice Kennedy, the Court ruled that a juror’s racial basis in the jury room – which was only revealed to the public […]