On August 3, 2017, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a federal civil rights lawsuit victims filed against Ross Township, Pennsylvania officials. The victims sought recovery for their injuries and the deaths of their family members when Township resident Rockne Newell opened fire on innocent bystanders attending a  2013 Supervisors meeting. Three people were…

The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled in Fields v. City of Philadelphia that the 1st Amendment protects your right to film police officers. Judge Ambro wrote the decision and  began his opinion by referencing the Rodney King beating by the LA Police Department. He noted that with advances in technology and the widespread ownership…

Joseph De Ritis was an Assistant Public Defender for Delaware County, Pennsylvania. To explain a perceived demotion to judges, other attorneys, and county officials, De Ritis circulated a rumor he had heard that he was being punished for taking too many cases to trial. After the Public Defender fired De Ritis for those statements, De…

Is EZ-Pass really so easy? You’ve seen the infomercials. Buy “mighty putty,” the “GLH Hair System” or the “thigh master” for just 15 or more “easy” payments of $9.99.  It is so easy separating the consumer from his money. Toll booth authorities, no doubt taking a cue from Saturday morning TV, created the EZ-pass system, a…

There is a growing consensus among federal appeals courts that law enforcement can request tracking data from a user’s cellphone without a warrant and without violating the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure. The Supreme Court just decided this past Monday (6/5/17) in Carpenter v. USA to answer the question whether the Fourth…

On June 1, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Bauer v. Becerra, that a fee on firearms transfers to fund enforcement efforts against illegal firearm purchasers did not violate the Second Amendment. The California program, established in 2001, enforces California’s prohibitions on firearm possession by identifying “persons who have ownership or possession…

On Tuesday, May 30, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court set aside a multi-million dollar verdict in a California shooting case. LA police had burst into a shack without a search warrant and grievously shot two people. At issue in County of LA v. Mendez was the 9th Circuit’s “Provocation” Rule which allows claims against officers…

The Trump administration is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to reject a 2nd Amendment claim that would restore the right to own a gun by two Pennsylvania men who were convicted more than 20 years ago of nonviolent crimes. The case is Sessions v. Binderup. Judge Gardner from Allentown wrote the opinion at the District…

School police did not violate 4th Amendment by Searching Student’s Bag The Ohio Supreme Court unanimously held on May 11, 2017 that a warrantless school search of a high school student’s unattended book bag was not an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment. The court held that such searches are justified by a school’s obligation…

“Copwatch” Case heard by 3rd Circuit The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals heard argument on May 9, 2017 on the question of whether there is a 1st Amendment right to film on-duty police officers. The case is Fields v. City of Philadelphia and a video of the argument can be viewed from this link. The…