- Teacher killed in the crosswalk, with the light. NYPD: “The victim behaved recklessly by crossing the street.” [StreetsBlog]
- North Carolina not among the 13 states in which legal standards require prosecutors to turn over evidence of innocence that they learn of after a conviction [Radley Balko, AP]
- Fail to stop daughter’s 20 year old boyfriend from raiding beer in fridge, go to jail [Washington Post on Maryland lawmakers’ enactment of criminal penalties following car-crash injuries for parents who tolerated alcohol consumption]
- “First, only terrorists had to hand over their phones. Now it’s people involved in traffic accidents, too” [@reuvenim on the proposed New York law discussed here] “In a bid to get around the Fourth Amendment right to privacy, the textalyzer allegedly would… ” [ArsTechnica] But see Scott Greenfield (law “not a particularly effective one” in helping to fix blame, but “just not that big a deal.”)
- Inmates’ contact with family is revenue source for prison, sky-high phone rates just the start [Scott Greenfield]
- Federal oversight of local departments enables weak, reform-averse local pols: “Washington Can’t Fix Broken Policing” [Tim Lynch, Cato]
Query: If you’re not the driver of a car, can you be held liable for a collision that occurs when the recipient reads and responds while driving?
Answer: Quite possibly, yes.
Lawyer/blogger Eric Turkewitz has been covering this issue of lawsuits against persons on the other end of a negligent driver’s text conversation for a while and now reports on a Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas decision in a case called Gallatin v. Gargiulo.
“All you really need to know about New York Senate Bill S6325A is that it would create a law named after a person (this one would be ‘Evan’s Law’), since any law named after a person is almost always a terrible idea. (See, e.g., ‘Caylee’s Law,’ a terrible idea in 2011.) If the law were a good idea, they wouldn’t need to try to generate support by manipulating people’s emotions.” But the law — which would empower police to demand inspection of your cellphone after any auto collision, for the stated purpose of seeing whether the recent use of it had distracted you, and would provide for automatic license suspension if you refused — is in fact a very bad idea. [Lowering the Bar]
A bad idea, seen previously in proposals in New York and elsewhere, won’t go away: “The measure recently introduced by General Assembly member Pamela Lampitt (D) would ban walking while texting and bar pedestrians on public roads from using electronic communication devices that are not hands-free. Violators would face fines of up to $50, 15 days imprisonment or both, which is the same penalty as jaywalking.” While no states appear to have passed such enactments yet, New Jersey isn’t the only state where they’re being floated: “For instance, a bill pending in Hawaii would fine someone $250 for crossing the street with an electronic device.” [Bruce Shipkowski, AP/Washington Post]
“In the lawsuit, the Coalition Against Distracted Driving and Stephen L. Joseph, as an individual, seek an injunction against Apple, Samsung, Google, and Microsoft, requiring those companies to pay $1 billion annually to fund an ‘effective and ongoing national public education campaign’ to educate drivers on the dangers of using smart phones and smart watches while driving.” The suit seeks to define the behavior at issue as a nuisance under California law. [Jared McClain, Washington Legal Foundation]
In a case raising some of the same issues as the dispute over forcing Apple to unlock the San Bernardino killer’s iPhone, a federal magistrate judge in New York has ruled that the All Writs Act does not empower courts to order the unlocking of an alleged drug dealer’s phone. The legal issues are complex, but — I argue in a short piece at Ricochet — belie the notion that originalism in judicial interpretation is going to fade away with Justice Scalia no longer on the Supreme Court. More background: Sarah Jeong.
“Can Apple be forced to hack its own iPhones? … This week, the FBI obtained a court order demanding Apple’s help breaking into the iPhone used by [San Bernardino terrorist] Syed Rizwan Farook.” My Cato colleague Julian Sanchez has an introduction to the case at the New York Post. More: Nicholas Weaver/LawFare, Brad Reed/BGR, Sanchez Cato podcast.
- Constitutional right to teach children in a foreign language: the story of Meyer v. Nebraska, 1922 [Dave Kopel]
- Court to address Indian law issues in three cases this term: right of counsel in tribal courts, conditions of removal from tribal to federal courts, tax authority on former tribal land [Daniel Fisher]
- As constitutional conservatives go, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are at odds on Lochner. Why that’s important [Roger Pilon]
- 2013 Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell decision hasn’t killed off Alien Tort cases, especially not in Ninth Circuit [Julian Ku/Opinio Juris on rejection of certiorari in Doe v. Nestle, background John Bellinger/Lawfare]
- Textbook-resale case from 2013 term, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, is coming back for a ruling on fee award standards in copyright cases [ArsTechnica]
- High court will review federal court’s jurisdiction to resuscitate denied class certification [Microsoft v. Baker, Ninth Circuit ruling; Fisher]
- “Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh: If You Don’t Want To Be Tracked, Turn Off Your Phone” [Motherboard/Vice on stingray surveillance]
- Government as source of product misinformation [David Henderson notes my City Journal discussion of NY AG Eric Schneiderman’s crusade on herbal supplements]
- “Under Armour is suing pretty much every company using the name ‘Armor'” [Washington Post]
- Maryland police unions defend LEOBR (“bill of rights”) tenure laws [my Free State Notes, Ed Krayewski, Scott Greenfield]
- Someone uses an iPhone to transact Islamic State business; could a court find Apple liable for providing material support for terrorism? [Benjamin Wittes, Zoe Bedell, Lawfare]
- Maybe green-lighting a union for tax collecting staff wasn’t such a hot idea in the first place [Washington Post]
- Seventh Circuit: “Appeals court apologizes for literally misplacing case for five years as lawyers wondered what was taking so long” [Jacob Gershman, WSJ Law Blog]
- For the sake of professional dignity, in future employ authorized methods only: “Italian lawyer steals French tourist’s wallet” [The Local, Italy]
“Jdate’s parent company, Spark Networks, discreetly filed a lawsuit late last year against Jswipe, the ‘Tinder for Jews’ dating app, claiming intellectual property over the letter “J” within the Jewish dating scene (the company refers to the branding as the ‘J-family’). … [But there are] more Jewish apps that start with the letter ‘J’ than New York school closings on Rosh Hashanah.” [Gregory Ferenstein]