Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ohio Granted Waiver on NCLB

Back in February, we talked about Ohio (and several other states) requesting waivers from certain provisions of the No Child Left Behind law.  On Tuesday, the Obama administration granted the requests for waivers from Ohio and seven other states: Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island.

In order to qualify for waivers, states must show that they have a plan to improve student performance and have accountability for schools, teachers, and administrators.

This brings the total number of states receiving waivers to nineteen.  Seventeen other states and Washington, D.C. have also applied. 

Columbus Dispatch (and here)

Huffington Post

CNN



Friday, May 25, 2012

Retirement of Justice Stratton

Earlier this week, Ohio Supreme Court Justice and Moritz grad Evelyn Lundberg Stratton announced her retirement after 16 years on the court. According to a Columbus Dispatch article, Justice Stratton intends to focus her efforts helping military veterans caught up in the criminal justice system, particularly those dealing with mental health issues.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ohio Supreme Court Upholds Smoking Ban

Yesterday, the Ohio Supreme Court decided Wymsylo v. Bartec, upholding the Smoke Free Workplace Act (statute here), which requires proprietors of public places of employment to prevent smoking on their premises.

Columbus Dispatch

Toledo Blade

Business First

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"Jesus is Not a Homophobe" Case Settles

Last month we wrote about an Ohio school case in which a school district prohibited a high school student from wearing a t-shirt stating, "Jesus is not a Homophobe." The parties have reached a settlement allowing the student to wear the shirt and compensating him $20,000 for damages. See local coverage from the Dayton Daily News, national coverage from the Wall Street Journal, and the federal district court's judgment entry.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Supreme Court Wiretapping Case

In its next Term, the Supreme Court will review global wiretaps that are intended to monitor for terrorism, but may accidentally monitor Americans.

As Lyle Dennison explains at SCOTUSblog, this will be a very narrow review:

In a brief order, the Justices agreed to decide whether groups and individuals fearing that their sensitive conversations will be monitored have a right to go to court to challenge that program.  The constitutionality of the program itself is not at issue.
The case is Clapper v. Amnesty International USA.

The Washington Post

ABA Journal

Friday, May 18, 2012

Facebook Fever

Mark Zuckerberg rang the NASDAQ's opening bell this morning, marking Facebook's debut as a public company.  This transition could keep many a lawyer employed--think of SEC compliance alone.

Facebook's imprint on the law has taken many forms.  According to news reports, yesterday Senators Schumer and Casey unveiled legislation seeking to punish tax dodgers, inspired by cofounder Eduardo Saverin's recent move to Singapore, where there is no capital gains tax (see commentary on Business Insider).  Facebook has been sued by Yahoo for patent infringement, and it has figured prominently in divorce and defamation cases.  And, of course, we cannot forget the Winklevoss twins, who claim Zuckerberg stole their idea.  After settlement of their first suit, the twins unsuccessfully tried again (see commentary on Bloomberg).

Interested in learning more about Facebook and the law?  See John Browning's The Lawyer's Guide to Social Networking: Understanding Social Media's Impact on the Law, available at the Moritz Law Library.  Browning addresses many areas of law, including service of process, family law, criminal law, and personal injury law.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ohio Distracted Driving Bill Awaits Governor's Signature

We've written previously about Ohio's distracting driving bill, HB 99. Earlier this week the Ohio House concurred with Senate changes to the bill and sent it to Governor Kasich for his signature. See write-ups in the Columbus Dispatch and Cleveland Plain Dealer. The bill includes additional prohibitions for juveniles regarding the use of electronic devices while driving.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New CFR at Legal Information Institute

Cornell's freely available Legal Information Institute (Est. 1992) recently added a new version of the Code of Federal Regulations. Features include cross-reference links to LII's U.S. Code as well as links to the latest regulation updates in the Federal Register's e-CFR. See the announcement from LII.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

iPod Class Action Moves Forward

If you purchased an iPod from Apple between September 12, 2006 and March 31, 2009, you may soon be receiving notification of your involvement in a class-action lawsuit.  The three individuals who initially filed suit claim that Apple unfairly prevented iPods from playing songs purchased anywhere but iTunes.  In November of last year, the suit was given class action status.  Class members began receiving notifcations this week.

CNN

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Michelle Alexander on Colbert Report

Moritz professor Michelle Alexander was on the Colbert Report yesterday, talking about race and the war on drugs.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

New Study on Young Offenders in Ohio

Yesterday, the Children's Law Center released two publications on the young offenders in Ohio who are transferred to the adult system.  The report, Falling through the Cracks: A New Look at Ohio Youth in the Adult Criminal Justice System, is accompanied by In Their Own Words, highlighting the personal experiences of young people and their families.

Local coverage here.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Repledge - the anti-Super PAC

Last month, we linked to an article showing the enormous sums of money contributed by the top ten Super PAC donors. UCLA law professor Eric Zolt and others are leading an effort to remove at least some of the money from politics by establishing a website called Repledge. Currently in beta form, Repledge "attempts to connect individual contributors who agree to transform their political contributions into charitable donations if a supporter of the opposing political candidate matches the contribution." The political donations are essentially canceled-out and the money diverted to charity. According to Repledge, this increases the "social utility" of the donation. Repledge provides a brief video demo on its main page. The Federal Election Commission is currently considering Repledge's request for an advisory opinion on whether the site complies with federal election law. See additional coverage from The Washington Post, The Volokh Conspiracy, and the Center for Investigative Reporting's California Watch.

Friday, May 04, 2012

More on the Legal Status of Pit Bulls

Back in February, we wrote about the new dog law here in Ohio, ending the designation of pit bulls as inherently vicious.  But the status of pit bulls is still changing in other states, too. 

Last week, the Maryland Court of Appeals adopted "a strict liability standard in respect to the owning, harboring, or control of pit bulls and cross-bred pit bulls in lieu of the traditional common law liability principles that were previously applicable to attacks by such dogs."  The Court cited the "aggressive and vicious nature" of pit bulls, and the ruling has incited controversy in the state as owners, shelter workers, dog-bite victims, the Maryland SPCA, and others debate the ruling.

The Baltimore Sun (opinion round-up)

CBS Baltimore

Chicago Tribune

Reuters

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

SCOTUS and that 4-letter word

New York Times Supreme Court correspondent Adam Liptak reported earlier this week on the absence since 1993 of a certain 4-letter word from the Court's opinions. After the Cohen v. California case in 1971, the word apparently appeared in nine subsequent decisions over the next two decades or so, usually quoting a criminal defendant. In discussing the Cohen case, Liptak quotes Moritz professor Chris Fairman, "the nation's leading authority on the legal status of the word." See Fairman's 2007 law review article on the topic, titled . . .

The Oyez Project provides the oral argument audio of the Cohen case. As told in Liptak's article, listen for defendant's counsel Melville Nimmer uttering the word just over the 2:00 mark.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Alleged Beard-Cutter Must Pay for His Attorney

We have previously posted on the Ohio Amish men alleged to have cut the beards and hair of other Amish here and here.

Samuel Mullet, Sr., the alleged ringleader, was previously ruled indigent.  However, he recently received over $2 million from oil and gas leases, and now must pay for his own defense.  Prosecutors have also asked that Mullet remain in jail until trial, scheduled to begin on August 27.

The Plain Dealer

Huffington Post

CNN