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Short Circuit: A Roundup of Recent Federal Court Decisions

A police schism, a profanity-laced raid, and Mustangs over Berlin.

Please enjoy the latest edition of Short Circuit, a weekly feature from the Institute for Justice.

"Until now, the excessive-fines clause in the Constitution's Eighth Amendment had languished in obscurity, the Rodney Dangerfield of constitutional rights," IJ's President Scott Bullock and Legislative Analyst Nick Sibilla wrote this week in The Atlantic. But after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark decision in Timbs v. Indiana, the clause can finally get some respect. A resuscitated excessive-fines clause, they assert, could rein in civil forfeiture, municipal fines, and other forms of policing for profit. Read the whole thing here.

  • Black man convicted of Shreveport, La. murder by all-white jury spends nearly 30 years on death row, in solitary confinement before he's exonerated. Allegation: Law enforcement fabricated evidence, withheld exculpatory evidence, among other misdeeds. (The lead prosecutor has since apologized.) The defendants answer the complaint but later move to dismiss it. District court: It's too late to try to dismiss. Fifth Circuit: And it's too early to appeal that ruling. Go deal with the merits of the case.
  • Woman says she was raped by a Shreveport, La. police officer after he asked her to come in to the station. So can she sue the police chief? Fifth Circuit: Not when she didn't give details on how the chief was involved. The only evidence against him was speculation based on a third officer's refusal to testify.
  • Motorcyclist twice evades police, flies down US-183 outside Cisco, Tex. at over 100 mph. An officer driving an SUV ahead of the motorcyclist slows down—from 100 mph to 50 mph in seven seconds—to block the way. The cyclist slams into the SUV and dies. Fifth Circuit: And his claim slams into qualified immunity.
  • Karnes County, Tex. man goes to rival's granddaughter's elementary school during pickup, pantomimes shooting the rival. He's arrested for harassment. But wait! Maybe it never happened. He says he wasn't at the school that day: The sheriff's department trumped it up for political revenge. So can he sue the head honchos at the sheriff's office? Fifth Circuit: Not when he didn't give details on how management was involved.
  • Ohio distributes gov't money to nonprofits to address public health issues, but the money cannot go to any organization that provides or promotes "nontherapeutic abortions." (The money has long been prohibited from directly funding abortions.) Sixth Circuit (last year): Which is not OK, as it requires the surrender of constitutional rights to participate in an unrelated gov't program. Sixth Circuit (en banc): Nay nay. There is no freestanding right to perform an abortion, only the right of a woman to obtain one. Because this law affects only the former, no one is forced to sacrifice constitutional rights to obtain funding, and the law stands.
  • Taylor, Mich. officer pulls over driver, decides to go easy on her and tickets her for a non-moving violation. The driver, proving that no good deed goes unpunished, gives officer the finger as she drives away. The officer, proving that no insult to a police officer goes unpunished, pulls driver over again, upgrades ticket to a moving violation. Sixth Circuit: No qualified immunity for the officer; the second stop violated clearly established rights under the First and Fourth Amendments.
  • "Hermann Göring, head of the Luftwaffe in World War II, remarked: 'When I saw those Mustangs over Berlin, I knew that the war was lost.'" So begins the Seventh Circuit in its lesson on why, if you suspect someone has stolen your P-51 Mustang fighter, you should sue promptly rather than wait 30 years.
  • Indiana law makes it a felony to acquire, receive, sell, or transfer the "tissue, organs, or any other part of an aborted fetus," which Hoosier professors challenge as interfering with their medical scholarship. District court: The words "acquire," "receive," and "transfer" are unconstitutionally vague, as is the phrase "any other part." Seventh Circuit: Which would make much of the legal system invalid, as those words are ubiquitous. The law stands. Judge Hamilton, dissenting: When both the gov't lawyers and the authoring legislators run away from the apparent meaning of statutory language, there's a vagueness problem (which presents both due process and separation of powers issues).
  • Thanks to a quirky interaction among the bankruptcy code, the N.D. Illinois' bankruptcy practice, and Chicago parking ordinances, Chapter 13 debtors rack up thousands in parking fines with no way for the city to collect. Seventh Circuit: "Immunity from traffic laws for the duration of a Chapter 13 plan does not seem to us an outcome plausibly attributed to the Bankruptcy Code."
  • Illinois requires homeless sex offenders to report to law enforcement weekly, but those with fixed residences need report only quarterly. Tired of weekly updates from homeless people, some Chicago cops instruct them to list shelters as their fixed residences—knowing full well that the registrants don't reliably live there. But a schism lurks! Other police officers dislike that approach and arrest homeless people who list fictitious residences. Caught in the bureaucratic crossfire, one such offender finds himself arrested and jailed for 17 months before being acquitted. And his due process claim is not barred by the statute of limitations, says the Seventh Circuit, so it can proceed.
  • Decatur County, Iowa sheriff allegedly sexually harasses staff, resigns. The new acting sheriff fires the former sheriff's wife, who had worked in the department. Can she sue the acting sheriff for violating her First Amendment right to intimate association? The Eighth Circuit says no; he wasn't trying to poison her marriage; he was trying to prevent a hostile work environment.
  • Santa Monica, Calif. passes law allowing "home-sharing" (rentals where residents remain on site with guests) but forbidding the sort of short-term rentals pioneered by Airbnb and HomeAway.com. Airbnb and Homeaway.com: The city is requiring us to monitor and remove third-party content from our platforms, hence violating the Communications Decency Act and the First Amendment. District court: Dismissed. Ninth Circuit: Just so. The city is merely restricting the companies' internal booking transactions, which falls outside the CDA. No dice on the First Amendment claim for similar reasons.
  • Uniformed Kansas City, Kan. police officers in two separate squad cars activate their roof lights; one officer gestures to man in a parked car to exit his vehicle. Would an ordinary person feel free to leave in those circumstances? The Tenth Circuit says no, so the man was seized and the Fourth Amendment applies.
  • Allegation: After a driver is pulled over for speeding and refuses a search of his vehicle, Miami police arrest driver and leave him in intentionally painful handcuffs for more than five hours, leading to permanent nerve damage and loss of sensation. Eleventh Circuit: We've granted qualified immunity in other handcuff-injury cases, but none of those involved injuries this serious to a compliant arrestee. The officer should have known better, so no immunity for him.
  • DeKalb County, Ga. deploys 36 officials—some wearing army fatigues and masks—to launch an unannounced, profanity-laced raid on . . . a strip club. At 5 p.m. For the sole purpose of checking the dancers' permits. Which was pretty over the top, says the club—not least because the club's colitis-ridden owner was handcuffed and forced to soil himself. Definitely over the top, agrees a jury: The county violated the Fourth Amendment and must pay over $10k. And we will not disturb that verdict, says the Eleventh Circuit. "Administrative inspections" of strips clubs are constitutional as a general matter, but the jury reasonably found that this particular sh*tshow (paraphrased) was unreasonable in scope and execution.

This week, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that property owners who assert their innocence are entitled to a prompt hearing after their property is seized. Police seized Helen Olson's car after a traffic stop, and prosecutors kept it for 18 months without giving Helen (who wasn't in the car when it was taken) an opportunity to seek judicial review of the seizure. Not good enough! Said the court: "Due process is not satisfied by a rule that allows a person's property right to turn on the whim of a prosecutor." IJ filed an amicus brief urging the court to take this course of action. Says IJ attorney Jaimie Cavanaugh: "This decision is a victory for the rights of Minnesotans who have done nothing wrong but still see law enforcement seize and hold their cars, cash or other property for months or years. It only makes sense that innocent owners should be granted a hearing within days of law enforcement seizing their property. Because of this result, there will now be additional scrutiny on law enforcement practices that amount to policing for profit."

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  • Eddy||

    "Motorcyclist twice evades police, flies down US-183 outside Cisco, Tex. at over 100 mph. An officer driving an SUV ahead of the motorcyclist slows down—from 100 mph to 50 mph in seven seconds—to block the way. The cyclist slams into the SUV and dies. Fifth Circuit: And his claim slams into qualified immunity."

    So...the cop's action *might* have been illegal?

    Why not just say that this is a constitutional exercise of government power when dealing with a fleeing suspect who is a menace on the highway?

    Maybe I'm missing some key constitutional principle which makes this illegal.

    But of course, if it *is* illegal, then there should be accountability.

  • Dilan Esper||

    I am normally a complete bleeding heart liberal on citizen-police interactions, but this case reached my limit. It's not that I exactly support the execution-by-cop / suicide-by-cop of a motorcyclist, but really? 100 miles per hour! It happened to be a cop car, but the cyclist could literally have run into anyone going 50 or 55 or 60 on the highway and the same thing would have happened. And he could have hurt others as well.

    As you imply, most speeders would slow down if there's a slow or slowing vehicle up ahead. Cops use this technique all the time to slow traffic.

    There's no way the motorcyclist's claim should have ever been filed, let alone upheld.

  • fafalone||

    There's a material difference between gradually slowing down in a normal traffic pattern, and dropping by 50mph in 7 seconds against a motorcycle fleeing the police. It's a joke to claim this was anything other than intentionally trying to get a motorcycle to wreck at 50mph. Should have been involuntary manslaughter. And the 5th Circuit saying that cops couldn't have been expected to know that starting a high speed chase then trying to get a bike to wreck at 50mph is wrong is disgraceful-- blatantly using QI to absolve cops of any restraint on excessive force by requiring ridiculous ultra-specific facts to overcome it.

    Qualified immunity is a complete betrayal of civil rights and it's long past time it was entirely eliminated.

  • Rossami||

    Slowing by 50 mph in 7 seconds is less than 10 mph per second. This was not a case of unexpectedly standing on the brakes in order to intentionally cause a wreck. You'd slow almost this much just by taking your foot off the gas. This is the rate of slowdown that would be routine if you saw an obstacle in the road ahead of you.

    While I agree that qualified immunity is an abominable double standard that should have been eliminated long ago, I don't see that anything in this case even rises to the level where it would be required. The motorcyclist was in the wrong both for speeding and for being unable to stop. Consider what the charges would be if the motorcyclist had rear-ended a non-police vehicle going 50 mph on the highway. It would have been unequivocally the motorcyclists fault.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    "You'd slow almost this much just by taking your foot off the gas."

    No. No, no, no! I see you haven't been speeding for a while.

  • Absaroka||

    How much deceleration you'd get from closing the throttle is going to depend on a lot of things, e.g. how much engine braking you get from a particular engine/transmission/gear, plus of course how much drag the vehicle experiences.

    That said (and if my very amateur physics is right ... which is iffy!) 100 to 50 in 7 seconds is around 0.4G. That's well below the maximum braking capability of typical vehicles. I don't drive around at three digit speeds, but my seat of the pants G meter thinks you might see that if driving an old three speed pickup truck at freeway speeds (which will have the engine turning fast, plus an unaerodynamic shape) and you lift your foot off the gas on an exit ramp. A slipperier car, like our Civic, with an automatic transmission that doesn't generate much engine braking is a different story.

  • James Pollock||

    The question isn't whether it's reasonable to expect your squad car to slow down at that rate, the question is whether it's reasonable to expect the fleeing motorcycle to slow down at that rate.

    The counter theme is, if the cop slows down at a slower rate, does the cycle just go around/past him.

    I think it's reasonable to infer from this description that the cops were trying to force a crash rather than a nice, safe, gradual stop. Are they allowed to try to crash cars? If they are, is it reasonable to extend this to motorcycles (where the motorcyclist can be expected to suffer more injuries in a high-speed crash)?

  • DeleteGrossLiberals||

    Yes, they are. Read Scott v. Harris.

  • Dilan Esper||

    Why do we take the motorcyclist's speeding as just a given?

    He had the option to slow down to a safer speed, that would allow him to avoid crashing into a slowing car in front of him, at any time.

    People speeding so fast that they have no ability to slow down to avoid an emergency are a gigantic danger to everyone else on the road. So your starting point is the cops MUST have a legal way to stop this guy.

    So if they are not allowed to slow down in front of him to force a stop, what ARE they allowed to do? "Let him go until he causes a serious accident" is not an acceptable answer here.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    "suffer more injuries"?!?!?!

    Likely die, you mean.

  • JonFrum||

    If the cop had 'stood on the brake' at 100 mph, he would have spun out and died. The bike rider wouldn't have noticed the deceleration in front of him for at least half of that 7 seconds. He's low to the ground, and there's little context for him to judge their convergence. And going as fast as he was, just changing lanes would have been dangerous. A reasonable person would assume that the action the cop took would lead to a high probablity of death for the cyclist. If you're cool with that, fine. But don't say the cop didnt' choose to kill the cyclist.

  • jph12||

    "The bike rider wouldn't have noticed the deceleration in front of him for at least half of that 7 seconds. He's low to the ground, and there's little context for him to judge their convergence. And going as fast as he was, just changing lanes would have been dangerous."

    Sounds like the motorcyclist was doing something really stupid and endangering other people in the process. At that speed, he was going to have to change lanes and avoid cars regardless of whether there were cops around.

    It's his fault, and it doesn't bother me a bit when people reap the probable consequences of their actions, as long as they don't hurt anyone else in the process.

  • Robert Beckman||

    The fact pattern could also have been written "Can the police swing a 7000 pound steel club 100 mph at a motorcyclist? 5th Circuit says yes".

    The bike was traveling at 150, the police at 50 and intentionally veering into the lane the motorcycle was in, with the specific intent to cause a collusion with a 100mph speed differential, according to the 5th circuits summary. For once, Short Circuit actually made the facts easier on the State.

  • Dilan Esper||

    If intentionally veering into a lane to slow speeding cars is an improper police technique, someone should inform the California Highway Patrol. This is bog standard out here.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    To me, the speed differential, and the distance between the squad car and the speeder matter. If the cops are deliberately forcing a collision by cutting off a speeder in a way that gives the speeder no chance to react, that ought not to be permissible.

  • Dilan Esper||

    When the speeder is going 100 miles per hour???????

    I mean, I am not saying the facts you posit are irrelevant-- slamming on the breaks in front of someone going 5 mph over the speed limit might be a different issue.

    But speeders, just like everyone else, are supposed to brake when cars are slowing in front of them, and are supposed to drive defensively when cars are swerving in front of them. And if you are going 100, well, you are just going too fast to do those things and need to slow down rather than suing the government for making you slow down.

  • Robert Beckman||

    So if you're driving 100mph, it would be ok to fire missiles at you?

    In this case, the biker was doing 150, the cop went from 100 to 50 and swerved in front of him intending to cause a collision (per the opinion).

    A collision at anywhere near those speeds will almost invariably have a fatal result, which is foreseeable. And you're right, at those speeds the reckless driver won't be able to react in time, so he won't be able to mitigate the damages caused by the police.

    In the normal course I (and the law) would agree - a rear end solves the liability. But when it's caused intentionally that changes things - at least in every state where I know the answer (small sample size, doesn't count police impunities).

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    FWIW: The speeder was going to die, almost no matter what. He began at over 50 mph above the cop's speed, going a freaking 150 mph. It was a two-lane road. There was traffic coming in the other direction. At that speed very little change of direction is needed to flip the cycle. The cop didn't enter a new lane. He pulled to one side of the lane and then back to the other side of it (he did barely cross the center median).

    And -- just what is the cop supposed to do in the seven seconds before the cyclist hits him or swerves to the left and hits the oncoming traffic? He made a tough decision in a /very/ limited time framework, one that easily could have killed himself.

    I agree we should get rid of qualified immunity, since it's a get out of jail free policy, but this cop shouldn't ever have faced that issue. He's not a villain here.

  • Robert Beckman||

    You're right, he shouldn't have faced that decision, and the reckless motorcyclist put him in that position.

    What he should have done is determine if the motorcycle was an immediate danger to others - No, he'd just tried chasing it around for several minutes, so he has positive knowledge that the driver is capable of operating it like that in relative (emphasis here) safety. Then obtain the license plate and pick up the kid (because they're invariably kids - I was 25 the last time I went over 150 on a bike) for felony speeding, endangerment, evasion, etc.

    The option to let this one go and pick him up later seems to have completely left our police.

  • KenveeB||

    "Then obtain the license plate and pick up the kid (because they're invariably kids - I was 25 the last time I went over 150 on a bike) for felony speeding, endangerment, evasion, etc." -- Uh-huh. You've obviously never tried one of these cases. "Well gee, it wasn't me. My bike was stolen." If you don't get them on the bike, your chances of proving it was them are miniscule. And what about all the people on the road who are in danger of someone driving at those speeds? If he crashed because of a police officer suddenly braking, what if a civilian had suddenly braked? What if some other obstacle came up in the road? Just because he'd driven at that speed for a short period without dying or killing someone doesn't mean he was going to be able to keep doing it.

  • Ben of Houston||

    I think I have to agree here. The motorcyclist would have almost certainly have hit someone. There was no reasonable way for him to even turn or slow down. At those speeds, the impact was almost certain to be deadly to the cyclist and quite likely to the person hit as well.

    I would much rather the officer take the hit in a reinforced squad car than the cycle slam into a sedan with multiple car seats or slide under oncoming traffic, potentially flipping or going through the windshield of whatever car it hits.

    This is equivalent to shooting a man who is actively threatening bystanders with a gun. It was a deliberate execution of someone who poses a clear and present danger to the surrounding populace.

  • Rossami||

    The biker was traveling too fast to react to a foreseeable obstacle in traffic. The biker would clearly have been in the wrong if he rear-ended a car or truck traveling on the highway. He would have been in the wrong even if the car was suddenly braking to, for example, avoid a deer running into traffic. The biker was equally in the wrong for being unable to react to a police vehicle in front of him.

    Rear-ending someone is one of the few situations where fault is unambiguous.

  • James Pollock||

    " The biker would clearly have been in the wrong if he rear-ended a car or truck traveling on the highway."

    Hold on, you skipped a step.
    If a random civilian car intentionally tried to cause the speeder to wreck, it would be the speeder's fault for then wrecking?

  • DeleteGrossLiberals||

    Yes. Brake checking intending to cause an accident is still the fault of the car in back. If you can't slow down in time, you're going too fast or driving too close. Period.

  • FlameCCT||

    Robert,

    The fact pattern could also have been written "3 times evading police is not a charm!"

    I find it disgusting that you condone the reckless driving of the motorcyclist. He's just another Darwin Award winner!

  • mse326||

    Scott v Harris and Tennessee v Garner are the main cases to look at. Garner was first and says that force needs to be proportional; deadly force is not proportional unless the fleeing suspect (in this case on foot) poses danger to police or civilians. Harris was one about a high speed chase and seems to indicate that a high speed chase itself is enough to satisfy that prong. Though I have seen some suggestion that where the chases is occurring matters; that is if there aren't any civilians around that it may not rise to the necessary level for deadly force.

    I haven't read this case to know where it was to know if that matters. This is one of the many troubling things about qualified immunity jurisprudence. At one time the Court did require that first a court rule on the constitutionality and only if it is do you go to the question of whether it is clear to deny qualified immunity. They abandoned that to allow courts to rule in any order and almost universally that just do qualified immunity first so they don't have to answer the constitutional question. This allows the same thing to happen over and over again.

  • jph12||

    It appears that the district court ruled that the officer was entitled to qualified immunity because Scott clearly established that his actions were constitutional, so this doesn't seem to be one of the frustrating wishy-washy case.

  • DeleteGrossLiberals||

    My feeling is that a person in front in any vehicle always has a right to stop, and may have to depending on the circumstances. If you can't slow down in time to avoid hitting someone who did that, you were either going too fast or not paying attention. Either way, your fault.

  • Jimmy the Dane||

    I'm taking Shreveport, La off my "to visit" bucket list. Sounds like only bad things happen there.

  • JeffreyL||

    "Black man convicted of Shreveport, La. murder by all-white jury spends nearly 30 years on death row, in solitary confinement before he's exonerated. Allegation: Law enforcement fabricated evidence, withheld exculpatory evidence, among other misdeeds. (The lead prosecutor has since apologized.) The defendants answer the complaint but later move to dismiss it. District court: It's too late to try to dismiss. Fifth Circuit: And it's too early to appeal that ruling. Go deal with the merits of the case."

    I'm just curious - question to the OP. What does it matter in a case in which the police are accused of fabricating the evidence against the defendant what the race makeup of the jury is? Do you think that if the jury was not all white that they would have had a different outcome with the same fabricated evidence? Are you implying that a non-white jury would have been able to determine that the evidence was fabricated?

  • Dilan Esper||

    I don't think it necessarily has any ultimate legal relevance (the case comes out the same way had the jury been mixed), but in describing the case here, that fact adds some color, because it helps answer the question "how could this have happened?" which is a natural question to ask when seeing a fact pattern like this.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    "that fact adds some color"

    Pun intended?

  • James Pollock||

    " What does it matter in a case in which the police are accused of fabricating the evidence against the defendant what the race makeup of the jury is?"

    If someone is framed up by the cops for a crime they didn't commit, it's still the jury that actually wrongfully convicted them. You might expect a jury to find a person not guilty if the only evidence against them is bogus.

    " Are you implying that a non-white jury would have been able to determine that the evidence was fabricated?"

    I would say that if you have some minority members of the jury, they might be more willing to believe that a police officer would lie about the guilt of a minority defendant. That's bad if the police happen to be telling the truth about all the evidence they found, but good if they're lying about it. Having a diverse jury helps you to have all the bases covered.

  • Chem_Geek||

    Always remember, these "short circuit" posts are NOT news or discussion, but purely agitprop.

  • Beldar||

    This recurring post has become my #1 favorite CLE resource. Thank you, Mr. Ross, for your marvelously droll precision in keeping us abreast of the cutting edge of the law!

  • santamonica811||

    Agreed. It's actually one of the thing I look forward to each Friday. (Which maybe says more about me than it says about these posts.) :-)

  • FlameCCT||

    I think many of us enjoy the Short Circuit posts. In my case, I enjoy reading the post's "summary" then looking at the actual opinion for the facts. ;-)

  • Jason Cavanaugh||

    I have to be honest here...

    The primary thing I take away from these roundup articles, is that our Judicial system is trash and undeserving of loyalty or admiration.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "...our Judicial system is trash and undeserving of loyalty or admiration."

    Note the existence of the plea for time served, where if you admit guilt, you serve less time than you do if you're exonerated. I'm not sure why people think our system is better that one that uses the dunking stool.

  • Jimmy the Dane||

    I think Harvey Silverglate wrote the article about 15 years ago on the subject of why plea agreements should be unconstitutional. It was a compelling and thought provoking piece.

    In practice, I would say that about 95% of criminal cases are settled via some kind of plea agreement. I will be curious if with "bail reform" in no longer requiring a cash bond for most offenses will impact these numbers though. In my experience, most deals involve "time served" as a component of the deal because the defendant couldn't make bail (or had it revoked usually for another petty offense) and is sitting behind bars. The prosecutor takes this and uses it as a carrot to get them to sign a deal just so they can get out. And really who can blame the defendant (most of the time I tell them if they want to go to trial or even move to suppress it could mean 12+ months in jail as opposed to the current 3-4 they have served and getting out right away).

    It is a sorry state of affairs for criminal law, but really looking at it from an administrative level, I don't know how the system would work without most cases ending in a plea deal. Society would have to invest a huge amount of resources in the system if say plea deals were not routinely used. And I don't think we are going to make such an investment any time soon.

  • David Nieporent||

    It is a sorry state of affairs for criminal law, but really looking at it from an administrative level, I don't know how the system would work without most cases ending in a plea deal. Society would have to invest a huge amount of resources in the system if say plea deals were not routinely used. And I don't think we are going to make such an investment any time soon.

    There would have to be many fewer prosecutions. (This is a feature, not a bug.)

  • LordSega||

    Question on the "Indiana law makes it a felony to acquire, receive, sell, or transfer the "tissue, organs, or any other part of an aborted fetus,""

    Without arguing about abortion, who owns the fetus before, during, and after the abortion?

    If it's owned by the mother (as I would think) then wouldn't the abortion doctor "acquire, receive, or transfer" the fetus by taking and disposing of the fetus in a medically safe way after the abortion? Even if the mother signs off on that, then wouldn't she be breaking the law as well? Does the law as written require the mother keep and/or personally dispose of the fetus to stay within the law?

    I know the law was written for stopping abortion doctors giving / selling to outside 3rd party, but it sounds like it would apply the same (because of the broad language) to mother to abortion doctor, unless there are exceptions written into the law.

    Also, what if the mother wants to keep it, i.e. for burial or mantle urn, etc? Is that allowed under health and safety laws?

    Just some random thoughts from a non-lawyer.

  • jph12||

    According to the law,

    "(c) This section does not apply to the proper medical disposal of fetal tissue."

    That's probably why this lawsuit was brought by medical researchers rather than obstetricians.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    "Also, what if the mother wants to keep it, i.e. for burial or mantle urn, etc? Is that allowed under health and safety laws?"

    It's probably state by state, and I can speak for Texas. My wife had two miscarriages, both at between 4 and 5 months. At the time of the first one, while we were still in shock and we were at the hospital for her D&C and events were moving faster than our brains, the thought occurred to us - do we want to have a funeral? Turns out that it was a moot point, as Texas law mandated that the remains be treated as medical waste and besides, given the nature of the procedure, the remains were gonna be hard to sort out, anyway.

    A couple of legislative sessions ago there was a bill in the Texas Ledge that was intended to be another virtue signal against abortion that was gonna mandate that all fetuses (feti?) would be given a mandated burial whether the result of a miscarriage or an intentional abortion (obligatory fuck those assholes for that one) but I don't remember if it actually passed and became law.

  • James Pollock||

    Meh. Burial at sea just offshore should take care of that.

  • Eddy||

    "Without arguing about abortion, who owns the fetus before, during, and after the abortion?"

    I wish you well in your attempts to square that circle.

  • ||

    Well, given the law, the fetus is obviously enslaved by the State -- after all, slavery is the proper term for ownership of a human being.

  • JonFrum||

    "DeKalb County, Ga. deploys 36 officials—some wearing army fatigues and masks—to launch an unannounced, profanity-laced raid on . . . a strip club."

    Given the number of clubs in DeKalb, I think we can assume that this was a matter of bribes not paid. Or else someone was pissed a dancer wouldn't put out.

  • croaker||

    Miami: How about some mention of the retaliatory arrest for asserting his rights under the 4th Amendment? Resisting or Obstructing an Officer Without Violence? Bullshit.

  • Bill Poser||

    The police officer only decelerated after seeing both that the motorcycle was rapidly approaching him from the rear and that there were vehicles in the oncoming lane. If he had not decelerated, the motorcyclist would very likely have tried to go around him and crashed into the oncoming vehicles, not only killing himself but very likely injuring or killing the the people in the oncoming vehicles. In this situation, it seems to me that the police officer would be justified in deliberately causing the motorcyclist to crash since he was doing so in order to protect the oncoming vehicles.

  • Jimmy the Dane||

    This forwards a good argument for adopting more stringent "no chase" policies once it hits a certain danger level especially in jurisdictions that can monitor a fleeing motorist from the air. My law enforcement friends don't like this idea because they say if they can't get the bad guy or it comes out in court that there is a certain threshold where they will cut off pursuit hardened criminals will just push the chase to that level every time. I don't discount this just wonder if the balance of interests isn't best served by tipping it toward public safety.

  • DeleteGrossLiberals||

    From Scott v. Harris:

    But wait, says respondent: Couldn't the innocent public equally have been protected, and the tragic accident entirely avoided, if the police had simply ceased their pursuit? We think the police need not have taken that chance and hoped for the best. Whereas Scott's action—ramming respondent off the road—was certain to eliminate the risk that respondent posed to the public, ceasing pursuit was not. First of all, there would have been no way to convey convincingly to respondent that the chase was off, and that he was free to go. Had respondent looked in his rear-view mirror and seen the police cars deactivate their flashing lights and turn around, he would have had no idea whether they were truly letting him get away, or simply devising a new strategy for capture. Perhaps the police knew a shortcut he didn't know, and would reappear down the road to intercept him; or perhaps they were setting up a roadblock in his path. Cf. Brower, 489 U. S., at 594. Given such uncertainty, respondent might have been just as likely to respond by continuing to drive recklessly as by slowing down and wiping his brow.

  • ||

    Some dated history of my state has come to my attention concerning the Montana Sedition Act of 1918-1919. The was a loosely written adventure in patriotism that equated profane language with actual violence or sabotage against America. In fact, no Montanans would be prosecuted under the Federal anti-Sedition acts, because the A.G. in our area thought the law was bonkers, but the state law resulted in 39 men and 1 woman being imprisoned at the penitentiary in Deer Lodge by Feb. 1918.

    One of these prisoners was Josef Hocevar of Butte, convicted of dropping the F-bomb on Woodrow Wilson's name in a tavern for going to war with Germany. For this crime miner Hocevar, an Austrian-American citizen since 1888, received a sentence of 6-8 years at hard labor.

    Most of the other convictions were also involving verbal defiance that was construed to be unpatriotic by local juries.

    By 1923 the fervor had subsided and all these people were paroled, but the damage had been done to their lives.

  • ||

    Deputy A.G. for the N.W,; The 39 were imprisoned in Deer Lodge (my hometown) by Feb. 1919. One of the authors of the state law was a model for a character in the classic book about Montana's unusual rate of volunteers for W.W.I,-- A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT. My great aunt of Miles City, once a red haired beauty who roamed the dirt roads of the West in a model T attending rural dances, in her late old age showed me a faded thick packet of letters from France from the Powder River Boys, Montana cowboys keeping company with rats in the trenches and thinking of a faraway redhead.

  • ||

    "Nay nay. There is no freestanding right to perform an abortion, only the right of a woman to obtain one. Because this law affects only the former, no one is forced to sacrifice constitutional rights to obtain funding, and the law stands."

    That's a terrifying viewpoint, since it would allow them to rule that making it illegal to manufacture, import, transport, export or sell any part of a firearm would not violate the 2nd amendment's right to own a firearm.

    There must be a right (for others) to provide that which you have the right to obtain, or there is no right to obtain it.

  • ||

    Yes, but the upper class elites have the right to obtain "safe" products like Gordon's gin and outlaw bathtub gin for the masses for their own good. Your right to obtain or enjoy anything can be so manipulated as to fade away as a right at all, whether it be a gun, a good cigar, or a gal (who can consent, change her mind at a much later date, and ruin you.)

  • FlameCCT||

    The main difference between the two is the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is a Constitutional Right while the right to an abortion is a Legal By Law right.

    I would also note that your example is horrid and changes the wording which changes the meaning; aka a strawman.

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