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The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) requires states to permit "overseas voters" to vote by absentee ballot in federal elections, 52 U.S.C. 20302(a)(1). An “overseas voter” resides outside the U.S. and would otherwise be qualified to vote in the last place in which the person was domiciled in the U.S. Illinois law provides that “[a]ny non‐resident civilian citizen, otherwise qualified to vote," may vote by mail in a federal election. "Non‐resident civilian citizens" reside “outside the territorial limits" of the U.S. but previously maintained a residence in Illinois and are not registered to vote in any other state. Former Illinois residents, now residing in the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands, challenged the laws as violating their equal protection rights and their right to travel protected by the Due Process Clause. The territories where the plaintiffs reside are considered part of the U.S. under the statutes, while other territories are not. The district court held that there was a rational basis for the inclusion of some territories but not others in the definition. The Seventh Circuit affirmed with respect to the Illinois statute but concluded that plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the UOCAVA, which does not prevent Illinois from providing the plaintiffs absentee ballots and does not cause their injury. The plaintiffs are not entitled to ballots under state law. View "Segovia v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated Defendant’s conviction for operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant, holding that the record did not support a conclusion that Defendant’s waiver of the right to testify was voluntarily, intelligently, and knowingly made. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court was required to engage him in a colloquy prior to accepting his waiver of the right to testify and that the colloquy was incomplete and defective because the court did not advise him that if he wanted to testify no one could prevent him from doing so. The intermediate court of appeals affirmed the district court’s judgment. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the colloquy was inadequate because the district court did not advise Defendant that no one could prevent him from testifying, and the error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. View "State v. Eduwensuyi" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for one count of conspiracy to deliver a controlled substance, methamphetamine, thus rejecting Defendant’s claims of error on appeal. Specifically, the court held (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion or commit plain error in admitting certain testimony into evidence; (2) the trial court did not err in denying Defendant’s motion to dismiss on Fifth Amendment double jeopardy grounds; and (3) plain error did not occur when a law enforcement witness offered his opinion that Defendant committed the crime of conspiracy to deliver methamphetamine. View "Garriott v. State" on Justia Law

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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