Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No baseball caps. The Second Circuit has upheld a District Court decision, dismissing an action by an attorney who was ordered not to wear a baseball cap and casual attire when appearing in Court. The attorney had asserted claims under the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. The Second Circuit held that the restriction was content neutral (which the plaintiff acknowledged) and was appropriate to support the legimate goal of maintaining decorum in Court proceedings. Assuming that a constitutionally-protected liberty interest in one's personal appearance existed, the Court held that such a right was not "fundamental" and the restriction was not subject to strict scrutiny. Since there was a rational basis for the restriction, that claim was properly dismissed.

The decision in Todd v. Katz can be found here.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Defaulted. Defendant was charged with murder. The jury was hung on his first trial. On his second trial, the testimony of a state's witness at the first trial was admitted without informing the jury at the second trial that the witness had since recanted his testimony. The Defendant sought habeas corpus relief from the district court, which was granted. On appeal, however, the Second Circuit held that the issue had not been raised and preserved before the trial court and was procedurally defaulted under New York law.

The decision in Whitley v. Ercole can be found here.
Waiving Penalties. The Second Circuit has held that only the Attorney General, not a district court, has the authority towaive all or part of any delinquency or default penalties properly assessed under 18 U.S.D. 3612(g) for failure to pay restitution.

The decision in United States v. Lauersen can be found here.