Law News Digest – Week of April 19, 2015


Columbia University student accused of rape was cleared of the charge during a college disciplinary hearing. But then accuser famously carried a mattress around the school in protest. Now the accused is suing Columbia college for “encouraging” accuser to brand him as a rapist.

Tennessee enacts law allowing handgun owners to carry their weapons in parks throughout the state.


Former CIA Director and retired General David Petraeus sentenced to 2 years probation and $100,000 fine for sharing classified material with his mistress.

Some law enforcement officers still don’t know (or don’t care) that as long as you don’t interfere with police work you have a right to record the police in public. On Sunday, a U.S. Marshall in South Gate, California smashed a woman’s cell phone after she tried recording him. Luckily a bystander caught that encounter on camera.

AIG agrees to pay $40 mil to settle claims that it should not have offered employees to invest their retirement savings in company stock as the company nearly collapsed during the 2008 recession.


San Francisco bans performances by wild animals, such as in the circus, or TV & movies.

Judge rules that 1st amendment requires NYC to allow ad on its buses that shows a Muslim man saying “Killing Jews is Worship that draws us close to Allah.” The ad is from the American Freedom Defense Initiative, and had previously run in SF and Chicago.

Supreme Court rules that when police have completed a routine traffic stop, they can’t then use drug-sniffing dogs to check for drugs in the car unless there is “reasonable suspicion” that drugs will be found.

A British man is believed to be the main contributor in 2010 “flash crash” on Wall Street, reducing the Dow Jones by 600 points in just minutes, and leading to almost $800 billion loss (the market quickly recovered). He gained almost $1 mil out of it. He has now been charged with several crimes in Illinois, was arrested in London, but is now free after paying over $7 mil bail. He is scheduled to stand trial May 26.

NFL agrees to settle lawsuits over player concussions. The settlement means NFL could pay out as much as $1 billion over 65 years, depending on what conditions players develop, including Alzheimer’s, dementia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, or Parkinson’s.


Asian-American rock band The Slants chose its name as a way of reclaiming the racial slur. But a court ruled today that they can’t trademark the name because it’s disparaging.

FBI used deceptive methods to get evidence on illegal gambling by a hotel guest in Vegas, including disrupting his internet and posing as repairmen to get access to his room. Can they legally do that? Apparently not. A court ruled last Friday that it’s unconstitutional, violating the 4th amendment protection against unreasonable searches.

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