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Our Daily Summary Writers have been hard at work, summarizing opinions from all Federal Circuit Courts and all fifty state supreme courts for Justia’s daily and weekly newsletters.  Below are some opinions of interest that they came across this past week.

In re Bacigalupo, California Supreme Court (8/27/12)
Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law
Petitioner was found guilty of the murders of two brothers. The trial court sentenced Petitioner to death. The Supreme Court affirmed. Petitioner subsequently filed a habeas corpus petition for relief from the judgment of death. The Supreme Court ordered an evidentiary hearing on Petitioner’s claim that the prosecution had failed to disclose evidence that would have supported a case in mitigation at the penalty phase that Petitioner committed the two murders because of a Colombian drug cartel’s death threats against him and his family. The referee found merit to Petitioner’s claim. The Supreme Court upheld the determination by the referee and granted Petitioner’s habeas corpus petition, holding (1) substantial evidence supported the referee’s determination, and (2) it was reasonably probable that Petitioner’s penalty phase jury would have returned a verdict of life imprisonment without parole had it heard the evidence withheld by the prosecution.

Read more:
California Supremes Overturn Death Sentence Based on Withheld Evidence; Prosecutor Is Now a Judge Continue reading →

Alabama Crimson Tide by David Smith (flickr/Diamondduste)Mary Cesar, the owner of Mary’s Cakes & Pastries in Northport, Alabama, received a cease-and-desist letter last week from Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC) ordering her to stop selling products decorated with the University of Alabama’s trademarks and logos. Specifically, the letter stated she must stop using, “trademarks, names, logos, colors, slogans, mascots, and other indicia associated with the university” with the sale of her baked goods.

However, Cesar states that the university itself, as well as its athletic and legal departments, has placed orders for these very same products. She stated that she thought that the university wouldn’t place such orders if she had been doing something illegally.
Continue reading →

Blue Spike, LLC filed a patent infringement lawsuit yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas naming 22 defendants, including Facebook. Blue Spike is a technology company owned by self-described inventor and steganographer Scott Moscowitz. Continue reading →

Yesterday, a Northern California jury announced their verdict in one of the most highly anticipated decisions of the high technology era: Samsung must pay Apple $1.05 billion in damages for patent infringement.

In that case, Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., both companies alleged numerous patent infringements by the other company. The jury’s verdict clearly indicates that it believed Samsung, not Apple, was the in the wrong here. So what happens next? Continue reading →

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled in Teesdale v. City of Chicago that a city’s legal argument in a civil proceeding does not constitute its official policy.

One of the threshold questions before a person or entity may sue another in federal court is one of judicial standing. When the person or entity is suing for prospective relief—that is, a court order preventing a harm that has not yet occurred, the threshold is particularly high. Under the Supreme Court case City of Los Angeles v. Lyons, a plaintiff seeking prospective relief must show that he or she is in immediate danger of sustaining some direct injury as the result of the challenged conduct, and the injury or threat of injury must be “real and immediate,” not “conjectural” or “hypothetical.” In Teesdale, the court found that Teesdale did not meet the standing requirement and thus could not go forward with his case against the City of Chicago. Continue reading →

On Wednesday, New York City unveiled a new surveillance system powered by Microsoft that would provide near-real-time analysis of camera footage across the city. In its press release, the City boasts that the system features “the latest crime prevention and counterterrorism technology.” The security-minded among us may cheer this development as providing heightened protections against terrorism and other planned acts of violence, but for those of us who are more interested in privacy, this announcement reeks of “Big Brother.” Continue reading →

ABA authors and Cybersleuth seminar speakers Carole Levitt and Mark Rosch have revised and updated their book, The Cybersleuth’s Guide to the Internet, now in its twelfth edition.

The Cybersleuth’s Guide provides both basic and advanced information for anyone wanting to do cost-effective investigative or legal research on the Internet. The new edition features many updates, additions, and revisions to keep up with the ever-changing Internet. In fact, this edition has over 100 pages more than the prior edition. Continue reading →

H-W Technology LC is suing Apple and 31 other companies for alleged patent infringement. It is not the first time this nearly unknown company has sued technology companies. The complaint alleges that the 32 companies violated Patent Number 7,525,955, which is described as “Internet protocol (IP) phone with search and advertising capability.”

The case was originally filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas in late March of last year. On July 27, 2012, the judge issued an order severing the complaint against Apple, finding that the company was improperly joined as a defendant. Instead of dismissing the claim altogether, as Apple requested, the judge transferred the complaint against Apple to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

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