Tag Archives: Fifth Circuit

circuit split on sex toys

Well, the 5th Circuit (Texas) has just said that Texas’s anti-sex-toy-law (memorably mocked by Molly Ivins in this video, available at youtube via pandagon) is unconstitutional, relying heavily on Lawrence (or so I hear, via pharyngula); I haven’t read the case yet).

This looks like a pretty clear Circuit split with the 11th Circuit (Georgia, Alabama, etc.), which only a couple of years ago found a similar Alabama law to not violate the Constitution (PDF, Williams v. Atty General of Alabama, 11th Cir. (2004)); the Supreme Court denied cert on that one. (See Michael C. Dorf discussion at FindLaw for an overview that discusses this case with respect to the various standards in Constitutional Law.)

I really wish that we could have a penumbra of no stupid laws.

that wacky 5th circuit

Unbelievable:

At times the federal appeals court has been unfathomable to its critics. Last December, for instance, it considered the last-minute appeal of Billy Frank Vickers, scheduled to die for the killing of a grocer in 1993. With the inmate already given his last meal, the judges deliberated until 9 p.m. and announced they were leaving, with no decision. Bewildered state prison officials allowed the death warrant to expire, granting Mr. Vickers a delay. He was executed six weeks later.

In October, a Houston federal judge granted a last-minute stay to Dominique Green, but the state appealed. The Fifth Circuit then gave defense lawyers less than half an hour to file their response, Professor Dow said. A rushed brief was e-mailed to the court and turned down. The Supreme Court also rejected a stay, and Mr. Green was executed that night.

— Adam Liptak & Ralph Blumenthal, Death Sentences in Texas Cases Try Supreme Court’s Patience [NYT 12/5]

info cases

privacy:

copyright:

  • Compaq v. Ergonome, 5th Cir., 10/5. The 5th Circuit affirmed a $2.7 million award of attorney’s fees to the alleged infringer.

    On July 11, 2001, after a seven-day trial, the jury concluded that any copying by Compaq was de minimis and constituted fair use according to 17 U.S.C. &sec; 107. The district court subsequently held that the doctrines of laches and equitable estoppel also barred Ergonome’s claim. Based on these findings, the district court awarded Compaq its attorneys’ fees of $2.7 million.

    The 5th Circuit reviewed only the fair use finding, which it affirmed. In combination with Diebold‘s DMCA 512(f) slap at silly claims, the backlash against copyright misusers’ seems to be going full speed ahead.