Saturday, April 4, 2009
Litigating With The Sopranos, Take 3: Supreme Court Of New Jersey Creates Forfeiture By Wrongdoing Exception
I have written two previous posts (here and here) about State v. Byrd, 923 A.2d 242 (N.J.Super.A.D. 2007), an opinion by the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division, in which the court refused to graft a forfeiture by wrongdoing exception onto the New Jersey Rules of Evidence because "such a change in the Rules of Evidence should be accomplished by our Supreme Court in accordance with the procedure prescribed in N.J.S.A. 2A:84A-38 and -39, rather than by judicial opinion...." In my post on Byrd back in January, I noted that "[w]e should have the response of the Supreme Court of New Jersey shortly." Well, on Thursday we got it. And the New Jersey Supremes created such an exception, pending a New Jersey Senate and General Assembly joint resolution signed by the Governor.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Confrontation Invitation: Court Of Appeals Of Ohio Finds Invited Error In Response To Confrontation Clause Appeal
The recent opinion of the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Ninth District in State v. Moorer, 2009 WL 818945 (Ohio App. 9 Dist. 2009), is an interesting opinion that involves statements falling under both Davis v. Washington, 547 U.S. 813 (2004), and Hammon v. Indiana. The problem for Moorer, however, was that while the admission of statements falling under Hammon v. Indiana ordinarily would have violated his rights under the Confrontation Clause, the Court of Appeals instead found that they fell under the invited error doctrine.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
How 'Bout Them Cowboys: Dallas Cowboys Win Summary Judgment In Trademark Action Against America's Team Property, Inc.
Who is America's Team? Well, I did a Google search, and the first thing that came up was the Wikipedia entry for America's Team, which starts with the sentence, "The term America's Team is a popular nickname in American sports that most often refers the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League." The second thing that comes up is the official website of the Dallas Cowboys. And now, unsurpisingly, a judge in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas has (partially) agreed.
In Dallas Cowboys Football Club, Ltd. v. America's Team Property, Inc., 2009 WL 819394 (N.D. Tex. 2009), a Minnesota company called America's Team Properties owned rights to a 1990 registered trademark covering the use of the phrase "America's Team" on clothing. In 1999, the company began nudging the Cowboys to buy the registered mark. It ran an ad in USA Today, claiming it planned to hold an auction to sell the mark, with bids beginning at $500,000. It later contacted the Cowboys in 2003, offering to sell the mark for $400,000 and began sending cease and desist letters to Cowboys licensees. The Cowboys and NFL Properties, LLC responded, not by buying the mark, but by bringing an action alleging that the defendant's actions infringed their common law rights in the trademark and their state trademark registration.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
April Fool's: California Court Of Appeal Finds Harmless Error In Horribly Misguided April Fool's Day Appeal
Last December, I posted an entry about a horribly misguided opinion of the Court of Appeals of Texas. In that opinion, the court found that the erroneous admission of the defendant's confession was harmless error because the alleged victim identified him twice. There was no forensic evidence linking the defendant to the crime, no eyewitnesses, no other confessions by the defendant. Instead, the Court of Appeals reached the indefensible conclusion that the defendant's confession was no more damaging that the victim's identifications. This was probably the worst harmless error ruling I had ever seen until I read the recent opinion of the California Court of Appeal, First District in People v. Cooper, 2009 WL 792355 (Cal.App. 1 Dist. 2009). In my mind, Cooper almost seems like an April Fool's Day joke of circular logic.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Dismissed With Prejudice, Take 2: Recent Maryland Opinion Reveals That The Terrpain State Precludes Jury Impeachment Based Upon Allegations Of Juror Racism
In my forthcoming article, Dismissed with Prejudice: Why Application of the Anti-Jury Impeachment Rule to Allegations of Racial, Religious, or Other Bias Violates the Right to Present a Defense, I cite to a number of state court opinions precluding jurors from impeaching their verdicts through allegations of juror racial prejudice during deliberations. In the article, however, I did not cite to any opinions from Maryland, but the recent opinion of the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland in Dorsey v. State, 2009 WL 809451 (Md.App. 2009) reveals that the Terrapin State precludes jury impeachment on these grounds as well.
Monday, March 30, 2009
Eleven Angry Men: Northern District Of Illinois Rejects Section 2255 Petition Alleging Missing Juror During Deliberations
The recent opinion of the United States District Court for the Nothern District of Illinois in United States v. Webster, 2009 WL 779806 (N.D. Ill. 2009), contains one of the more interesting jury impeachment questions that I have ever seen: What happens when twelve angry men becomes eleven angry men? For the Northern District of Illinois, the answer was "nothing," at least when the petitioner seeks relief based upon alleged juror misconduct.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
You're Gonna Get Out In Forever And A Day: Kentucky District Court Precludes Jury Impeachment In Capital Habeas Appeal
Last November, I posted an entry about United States v. Jackson, 2008 WL 4901375 (5th Cir. 2008), in which death-sentenced David Jackson moved for a new trial, alleging, inter alia, that the jury erroneously believed that even if Jackson were sentenced to life without parole, it was still possible he could be released before the end of his life, despite the district court's explicit instruction to the contrary. The Fifth Circuit denied Jackson's motion, finding that the jurors could not impeach their verdict through evidence of a misunderstood jury instruction. The recent opinion of the United States District Court for the Wester District of Kentucky in Matthews v Simpson, 2009 WL 722073 (W.D. Ky. 2009), is cut from a similar cloth.