Manhattan DA Got Innocent People’s Google Phone Data Through A ‘Reverse Location’ Search Warrant – Gothamist

Civil liberties advocates and criminal defense attorneys said the Manhattan case was the first time they had ever seen the use of this surveillance technique in New York City.
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#ConstitutionalLaw #FourthAmendment #SearchAndSeizure #RightToPrivacy

SCOTUS Holds That The Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause Applies to the States

On February 20, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States in the case of Tyson Timbs v. Indiana, 586 U.S. ___ (2019), held that the Eighth Amendment’s excessive fines clause as contained in the United States Constitution is an incorporated protection applicable to the States under the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause.  The Court stated that the excessive fines clause (federal) protections is applicable to the States due to it being, “fundamental to our scheme of ordered liberty,” or “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition.”  McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 742, 767 (2010). The Court went on to explain that if a Bill of Rights protection is incorporated, there is no daylight between the federal and state conduct it prohibits or requires.  Hence, they are the same.

This area of law is a common legal issue in criminal or civil forfeiture proceedings that typically follow  criminal prosecution for drug trafficking, cultivation, and possession of drugs.  In this case, Tyson Timbs plead guilty in Indiana state court to dealing drugs and was sentenced to one year of home detention and five years of probation.  Timbs was also required to pay fees and costs totaling $1,203.  At the time of his arrest, the police seized Timbs’ vehicle, a Land Rover SUV purchased for $42,000 with the money he received from his father’s life insurance policy.  The Supreme Court ultimately found that the protection against excessive fines guards against abuses of government’s punitive or criminal-law-enforcement authority.

In arriving at their decision, the Court looked, in part, at the historical development (1600-1800) of “fines” and English law.  The Court found that the prohibition embodied in the excessive fines clause carries forward protections found in sources from the Magna Carta (1215) to the English Bill of Rights (1689) to state constitutions from the colonial era to the present day.  The Supreme Court noted that the protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history because such fines undermine other liberties.  They can be used to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies.  Browning-Ferris Industries of Vt., Inc. v. Kelco Disposal, Inc., 492 U.S. 257, 263, 267 (1989).  They can also be used as a source of revenue, rather than for legitimate penal purposes.  See also, Austin v. United States, 509 U.S. 602 (1993); Packingham v. North Carolina, 582 U.S. ___ (2017).

The Science of CTE | Concussion Legacy Foundation

CTE is a disease of the brain. To really understand the science of what’s going on, we’ll need some background on what the brain is like when it is healthy. A good place to start is by looking at our brain cells, or neurons. Brain Cells 101 If you’ve ever heard someone talking about how brains are wired, or if you’ve heard someone talking about getting their brains firing,
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Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Law That Requires Persons With Knowledge of Their HIV+ Status to Disclose to Another Prior to Engaging in Sex

In October 2017, the Supreme Court of Ohio in the case of State of Ohio v. (Orlando) Batista (2017), 151 Ohio St.3d 584, 2017-Ohio-8304, held that because ORC Section 2903.11(B)(1) — criminal felonious assault — regulates conduct, not speech, it does not violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and it is rationally related to the State’s legitimate interest in preventing the transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to sexual partners who may not be aware of the risk and, therefore, does not violate the Equal Protection Clauses of either the United States or Ohio Constitutions.

Defendant Batista maintained that ORC 2903.11(B)(1), which prohibits those persons with knowledge of their HIV status from engaging in sexual conduct with another person without disclosing that knowledge to the other person prior to engaging in the sexual conduct was a content based regulation that compels speech in violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  Batista also contended that the statute violated the Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 2 of the Ohio Constitution because there was no rational basis for a distinction between HIV positive individuals and individuals with other infectious diseases, such as Hepatitis C or between the methods of transmitting HIV.

The State of Ohio argued that the felonious assault statute prohibits only uninformed sexual conduct and any effect this prohibition has on speech is incidental.  The State further argued that the statute is narrowly tailored to that interest (preventing spread of HIV) because it neither prohibits an infected person from having sexual relations with another, nor compels public disclosure of a person’s HIV positive status.

Ultimately, the Supreme Court of Ohio held that although ORC 2903.11(B)(1) requires those who know they are HIV positive to disclose their status if they choose to engage in sexual conduct with another person, that the disclosure is incidental to the statute’s regulation of the targeted conduct.  Thus, the statute regulates conduct, not speech, and therefore does not violate the First Amendment right to free speech.

The Court also held that the federal Equal Protection Clause does not forbid classification, but it requires that different treatment be related to the purpose of the law and because there is some conceivable basis to support the legislative arrangement, the statute does not violate equal protection.  The Court further stated, “we cannot say that there is no plausible policy reason for the classification or that the relationship between the classification and the policy goal renders it arbitrary or irrational.”