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An employee brought claims under provisions of the Idaho Human Rights Act, claiming: (1) the employer unlawfully discriminated against him based on race. He also alleged (2) breach of employment contract and the implied covenant of good faith. Furthermore, the employee (3) sought to disqualify the trial judge for cause based upon perceived bias. The district court denied the employee’s disqualification motion and granted summary judgment for the employer on all of the employee’s claims. Finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed judgment entered in favor of the employer. View "Mendez v. University Health Svcs BSU" on Justia Law

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Section 647(b) of the California Penal Code, which criminalizes the commercial exchange of sexual activity, does not violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of ESP's action under 42 U.S.C. 1983, challenging the constitutionality of Section 647(b). In light of IDK, Inc. v. Clark Cnty., 836 F.2d 1185, 1193 (9th Cir. 1998), rather than Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 562 (2003), the panel held that laws invalidating prostitution may be justified by rational basis review. The panel held that Section 647(b) is rationally related to several important governmental interests, any of which support a finding of no constitutional violation under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; Section 647(b) does not violate the freedom of intimate or expressive association; and Section 647(b) does not violate the right to earn a living. The panel also held that Section 647(b) does not violate the First Amendment freedom of speech because prostitution did not constitute protected commercial speech and therefore did not warrant such protection. View "Erotic Service Provider Legal Education and Research Project v. Gascon" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs Richard Tabura and Guadalupe Diaz were Seventh Day Adventists. Their religious practice of not working Saturdays conflicted with their job schedules at a food production plant operated by Defendant Kellogg USA, Inc. (“Kellogg”). Eventually Kellogg terminated each Plaintiff for not working their Saturday shifts. Plaintiffs alleged that in doing so, Kellogg violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by failing to accommodate their Sabbath observance. Both sides moved for summary judgment. The district court denied Plaintiffs’ motion and granted Kellogg summary judgment, concluding as a matter of law both that Kellogg did reasonably accommodate Plaintiffs’ religious practice and, alternatively, that Kellogg could not further accommodate their Sabbath observance without incurring undue hardship. The Tenth Circuit concluded after review of the district court record that the district court erred in granting Kellogg summary judgment; however, on the same record, the district court did not err in denying Plaintiffs summary judgment. View "Tabura v. Kellogg USA" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination does not protect a person from being ordered to prove a fingerprint to unlock a seized cellphone. The police lawfully seized a cellphone from Defendant and attempted to execute a valid warrant to search the cellphone, which had a fingerprint-scanner security lock that prevented the search. When Defendant refused to block the cellphone with his fingerprint the district court ordered Defendant to provide his fingerprint so the police could search the cellphone’s contents. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that providing a fingerprint was not privileged under the Fifth Amendment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because providing the fingerprint elicited only physical evidence from Defendant and did not reveal the contents of his mind, no violation of the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination occurred. View "State v. Diamond" on Justia Law

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Lee pleaded guilty to three crimes in Tennessee state court, served his sentences, and was released from state custody in 1998. While serving time in federal prison for a subsequent crime, 20 years later, Lee sought permission to file a second 28 U.S.C. 2254 petition attacking his state convictions. The Sixth Circuit denied his motions. Federal courts lack subject-matter jurisdiction over Lee’s petition regardless of whether he can meet sections 2244(b)’s requirements. Section 2254(a), authorizing district courts to entertain state prisoners’ habeas petitions expressly limits their jurisdiction to petitions filed by persons “in custody pursuant to the judgment of a State court.” Lee is no longer in custody, nor on supervised release, pursuant to the state judgment he seeks to attack. That Lee’s state convictions resulted in an enhanced federal sentence does not affect that analysis. View "In re: Lee" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court denying Appellant’s request for substitution of counsel in this criminal proceeding. Appellant pleaded guilty to deliberate homicide. Thereafter, Appellant made a request for substitution of counsel. After a hearing, the district court deemed the representation matter resolved because the Office of the State Public Defender denied Appellant’s request for new counsel and Appellant had not appealed that decision. On appeal, the Supreme Court held that the district court failed adequately to inquire into Defendant’s complaints regarding his counsel, which necessitated a remand. On remand, the district court issued an order again denying Appellant’s request for substitution of counsel. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err when it inquired into Appellant’s complaints of ineffective assistance of counsel and in denying his request for substitution of counsel. View "State v. Schowengerdt" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff-appellant William Bustos sued his former employers, defendants-respondents Global P.E.T., Inc. and Global Plastics, Inc. (collectively, Global) for discrimination. A jury found that Bustos’s physical condition or perceived physical condition was “a substantial motivating reason” for his termination, but nevertheless returned defense verdicts on each of his claims. After trial, Bustos sought an award of attorney fees under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, citing the holding of Harris v. City of Santa Monica, 56 Cal.4th 203 (2013) that “a plaintiff subject to an adverse employment decision in which discrimination was a substantial motivating factor may be eligible for reasonable attorney’s fees and costs expended for the purpose of redressing, preventing, or deterring that discrimination,” even if the discrimination did not “result in compensable injury” for that particular plaintiff. In this appeal, Bustos challenges the trial court’s ruling denying his motion for attorney fees. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court, finding the record did not support Bustos’ contention that the trial court ignored “Harris:” the trial court explicitly acknowledged Harris in its remarks regarding its tentative ruling. The trial court correctly recognized, moreover, that even under Harris, the award of attorney fees pursuant to Government Code section 12695 was discretionary, and it appropriately exercised that discretion. View "Bustos v. Global P.E.T" on Justia Law

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Movant filed a motion under 28 U.S.C. 2244(b)(3)(A), seeking authorization to file a second or successive application for a writ of habeas corpus to challenge his 2001 sentence of four life terms plus 45 years imposed by a Virginia state court for nonhomicide crimes he committed as a juvenile. The Fourth Circuit denied the motion because the claim movant sought to present to the district was raised in his first federal application for a writ of habeas corpus, and therefore movant failed to make a prima facie showing that his successive habeas application would allege a claim that was not presented in a prior application, as the statute required. View "In re: Jarius Phillips" on Justia Law

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Officers Garcia and Murphy observed Sanchez fail to stop his van as required at intersections and fail to maintain his lane; his sliding door was completely open. Garcia activated his siren and lights. Sanchez did not stop. Sanchez eventually stopped and exited his van, stumbling. Garcia noted that Sanchez, driving on a suspended license, smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes, and was mumbling vulgarities. Sanchez refused instructions and took a swing at Garcia. Garcia performed an emergency takedown. The officers found an open beer can and marijuana in the van. Sanchez claimed Garcia struck him unprovoked. At the police station, an officer observed Sanchez lying on the floor, smelling of alcohol and mumbling profanities, and requested medical assistance. Paramedic Ragusa detected the odor of alcohol, but found Sanchez able to answer questions. Ragusa made a notation ruling out battery as a cause of Sanchez’s injuries. After he declined treatment, Sanchez was returned to the jail. The lockup keeper noted that Sanchez did not appear visibly intoxicated. Sanchez was convicted of aggravated driving under the influence. The Illinois Appellate Court affirmed his conviction and denied post-conviction relief. In federal court, Sanchez claimed excessive force and that Garcia lacked probable cause for arrest. The court instructed the jury that it must take it as conclusively proven that Sanchez was driving under the influence and allowed introduction, without objection, of Murphy’s deposition testimony, with Murphy’s accounts of what Garcia said, and of Ragusa’s paramedic’s report. The court excluded the lockup report. The jury ruled in favor of Garcia. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, concluding that a new trial was not required. View "Sanchez v. City of Chicago" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Appellate Court reversing the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of felony murder, home invasion, and robbery in the first degree, among other crimes. The Supreme Court held that the Appellate Court improperly concluded that the trial court (1) violated Defendant’s constitutional right to present a defense by conditioning its ruling that certain out-of-court statements were inadmissible under Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36, 68 (2004), on Defendant not presenting evidence regarding the statements; and (2) abused its discretion by admitting testimony from a police detective indicating that he had observed a purported bite mark on Defendant’s accomplice’s hand. Lastly, any claimed impropriety with respect to the admission testimony by a police detective who narrated the presentation of a bus surveillance video was harmless error. View "State v. Holley" on Justia Law