Justices Say Facebook Posts Can’t Be Threats Without Intent

June 11, 2015 Leave a comment

Justices Say Facebook Posts Can’t Be Threats Without Intent

http://www.law360.com/appellate/articles/630067/breaking-justices-say-facebook-posts-can-t-be-threats-without-intent?es_p=529815

By Allison Grande

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that an online musing cannot be considered threatening if the author claims he didn’t intend for the posting to be perceived that way, striking down the conviction of a man who made violent remarks about his wife, law enforcement officials and others over Facebook.

In a 7-2 decision, the high court reversed the Third Circuit’s September 2013 ruling that held that the test for determining whether a statement can be deemed a true threat hinges on how a reasonable observer would view the message, rather than whether the speaker intended for the posts to be threatening.

“Such a ‘reasonable person’ standard is a familiar feature of civil liability in tort law, but is inconsistent with ‘the conventional requirement for criminal conduct — awareness of some wrongdoing,'” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority decision. “Having liability turn on whether a ‘reasonable person’ regards the communication as a threat — regardless of what the defendant thinks — ‘reduces culpability on the all-important element of the crime to negligence,’ and we ‘have long been reluctant to infer that a negligence standard was intended in criminal statutes.'”

Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas both attacked the majority’s decision, saying it didn’t go far enough to provide guidance to lower courts on how to assess intent on the part of the speaker.

“The court’s disposition of this case is certain to cause confusion and serious problems,” Justice Alito wrote in an opinion dissenting in part. “The court holds that the jury instructions in this case were defective because they required only negligence in conveying a threat.  But the court refuses to explain what type of intent was necessary.”

Because the majority opinion failed to address questions such as whether it was enough that Elonis knew his words conveyed a perceived threat or whether recklessness was enough to be culpable under the statute, “attorneys and judges are left to guess,” creating “regrettable consequences,” according to Alito.

Thomas in his full dissent also took issue with the majority leaving lower courts to “guess at the appropriate mental state for culpability” and skirting the recklessness question, in addition to its refusal to weigh the question of whether the First Amendment requires a particular mental state for threat prosecutions.

“Our job is to decide questions, not create them,” Justice Thomas wrote. “Given the majority’s ostensible concern for protecting innocent actors, one would have expected it to announce a clear rule — any clear rule.  Its failure to do so reveals the fractured foundation upon which today’s deci­sion rests.”

As a result of the majority decision, the justices vacated the conviction of defendant and peitioner Anthony Elonis, who in multiple Facebook posts discussed killing his wife with a mortar launcher and blowing up FBI agents, although they did remand the case to the lower court in order to give prosecutors an opportunity to retry the case based on the intent standard.

Arrested in 2010, Elonis was indicted on five counts of making threatening communications. A jury eventually convicted him on counts involving threats to his wife and threats to an FBI agent, and he was sentenced to 44 months in prison.

In appealing the conviction to the Third Circuit, Elonis contended that, based on the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Virginia v. Black, the jury was misled on the true threat standard through instructions that depended on how a reasonable person would see the statement.

According to Elonis, the Black case established the requirement of a subjective intent to threaten, and Elonis asserted that he didn’t mean for his Facebook posts to be threatening.

But the three-judge Third Circuit panel rejected that view of the decision and said a statement falls within the true threat exception to the First Amendment based on what a reasonable speaker would believe, maintaining its finding in the 1991 case of U.S. v. Kosma.

The appellate court’s decision led Elonis to the Supreme Court, which in June agreed to hear the case.

During oral arguments in December, the justices grilled representatives for the government and Elonis over how far prosecutors must go to prove that a violent message posted online falls within the true threat exception to the First Amendment.

While the government pushed for the high court to uphold the standard established by the Third Circuit and the petitioner advocated for a higher bar that would require prosecutors to prove subjective intent on the part of the poster, several justices searched for a compromise that would punish threatening posts without weeding out protected speech, such as legitimate rap lyrics and protest activities.

“We typically say that the First Amendment requires a kind of a buffer zone to ensure that even stuff that is wrongful may be is permitted because we don’t want to chill innocent behavior,” Justice Elena Kagan said. “So I guess the question is: Shouldn’t we allow some kind of buffer zone here past the sort of reasonable-man negligence standard that you are proposing?”

Deputy Solicitor General Michael R. Dreeben responded that moving away from the reasonable observer standard set by the Third Circuit would be dangerous because it would allow people who are consciously aware of the impact of their statement to hide behind an alleged lack of intent to cause that reaction.

John P. Elwood of Vinson & Elkins LLP, who argued the case on behalf of Elonis, countered that eliminating the poster’s intent from the equation completely would wrongly sweep up teenagers “who are essentially shooting off their mouth” and create a “five-year felony liability” any time there is a disagreement between the understanding of the speaker and the understanding of the listener.

Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the opinion of the court, in which Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined. Justice Samuel Alito filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part. Justice Clarence Thomas filed a dissenting opinion.

Elonis is represented by John P. Elwood of Vinson & Elkins LLP and Ron Levine and Abe Rein of Post & Schell PC.

The government is represented by Deputy Solicitor General Michael R. Dreeben.

The case is U.S. v. Elonis, case number 13-983, in the Supreme Court of the United States.

–Additional reporting by Martin Bricketto. Editing by Philip Shea and Rebecca Flanagan.

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New Law allows smart phone insurance cards

June 11, 2015 Leave a comment

New Law allows smart phone insurance cards

Many readers may not be aware that on May 7th, Governor Christie signed A3905 into law. The bill amends NJSA 39:3-29 to allow drivers to use electronic copies of their insurance cards via smart phone or other electronic devices.

The May 7, 2015 amendment to NJSA 39:3-29 reads as follows:
The insurance identification card may be displayed or provided in either paper or electronic form. For the purposes of this section, “electronic form” means the display of images on an electronic device, such as a cellular telephone, tablet, or computer, if the images displayed contain the insured name, mailing address, carrier name, policy number, and the inception and expiration date of the policy as provided on an insurance identification card in paper form.

The use of a cellular telephone, tablet, computer, or any other electronic device to display proof of insurance does not constitute consent for a police officer or judge to access any other contents on the device. Any police officer or judge presented with an electronic device pursuant to this section shall be immune from any liability resulting from damage to the device.

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Florida First District Court of Appeal Says Scammed Customers Cannot Be Forced into Arbitration

December 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Court Says Scammed Customers Cannot Be Forced into Arbitration

December 10, 2014

By Aidan O’Shea
Communications Specialist

In a case regarding a car dealership that misrepresented and marked up a fee in its contracts with customers, the Florida First District Court of Appeal has now written a thorough opinion outlining the reasons why those customers taking part in a class action suit against the dealership cannot be forced into arbitration. This follows a ruling to that effect earlier this year.

“This opinion clarifying why there was no agreement to arbitrate will be helpful to fellow consumer rights attorneys working to preserve access to civil justice for people who are cheated,” said Public Justice Executive Director Paul Bland, who argued the case before the court in early 2014.

While there are some situations in which the FAA overrides state laws that create defenses to arbitration agreements, in this case the Court held that there was no agreement to arbitrate in the first place. The court explained the key point that under the FAA, “challenges to formation or existence of a contract are resolved by the court.”

In this case, under Florida law, no agreement to arbitrate had ever been formed because of the way the defendant wrote the documents. “HHH Motors is being held to the language of its own concurrently-signed documents”, said the court. “If it intended for credit buyers to be subject to the arbitration clause, then it could have said so in the RISC, but did not.”

For at least four years, Florida car dealership conglomerate HHH Motors scammed its customers by misrepresenting a vendor’s fee for making a required government filing as the government’s fee, then drastically marked up that fee and pocketed the profits. HHH’s customers have filed a class-action lawsuit under Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, which prohibits sellers from overcharging customers for government fees in an attempt to squeeze additional profits. The plaintiffs seek reimbursement and injunctive relief.

But HHH refuses to defend its conduct in court and is fighting to force its wronged customers into individual arbitration, where they could not be part of a class action. Without a class action, almost no consumers would bother to sue and those who did would be unable to find a lawyer who could afford to fight the case for recovery of about $100. HHH charged buyers $100 or in some cases more, for a fee that’s actually about $12, attorneys said.

“The defendants made a lot of money from a phony electronic funds transfer fee,” Brian W. Warwick, attorney for the plaintiffs, said. “It’s deceptive because the dealer made the fee look like it’s a government required fee, like a sales tax, but in fact it’s almost all profit. There’s no question that the consumers deserve to get their money back.”

Warwick is a partner with Florida law firm Varnell & Warwick. The case is Jenny Lee Holt and Kristopher Holt, etc. v. HHH Motors LLP., d/b/a/ Hyuandai of Orange Park, etc. 

The trial court denied HHH’s Motion to Compel Arbitration because the contracts its customers signed did not reflect a legally valid agreement to arbitrate. HHH has appealed that denial in Florida’s First District Court of Appeals, arguing that the Federal Arbitration Act calls for an arbitrator, and not the court, to decide whether there is an agreement to arbitrate.

Paul Bland successfully defeated the defendant’s argument that the Federal Arbitration Act essentially preempts the normal rules of state contract law relating to the formation of contracts. On May 27, 2014, the Florida First District Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s decision that the car dealership could not enforce an arbitration clause and class action ban that appeared in its Retail Purchase Agreement where a second agreement to finance the car did not contain an agreement to arbitrate.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Janet Varnell, of Varnell & Warwick, emphasized the rare and precious nature of this spring’s victory for consumers in consumer contracts that involve an arbitration clause.

“Paul Bland was masterful in his argument, but it was his leadership and tenacity in educating and encouraging consumer protection lawyers to properly identify the last vestiges of opportunity amid the tsunami of pro-mandatory-arbitration opinions,” Varnell said. “Lawyers facing these same overreaching arguments about FAA preemption of state contract law should watch the video recording of Paul Bland’s oral argument in this case.”

The appellate court’s decision upheld the critical Florida precedent set in Duval Motors Co. v. Rogers (2011), which states that an agreement to arbitrate is only valid when the arbitration clause is in the particular document at issue in the case. In Holt, the challenged fee was in the financing agreement that contained an integration clause, while the agreement to arbitrate was in a separate purchase agreement. Had the appellate court done away with the Duval precedent, Varnell said, it would have left scammed Florida consumers with little hope of defeating arbitration challenges on the basis of contract formation, one of the last remaining lines of defense available to consumer attorneys.

“As it stands, the Plaintiffs in Holt now have the increasingly rare opportunity to bring a class action and to prove they were cheated in court,” she said.

– See more at: http://www.publicjustice.net/content/court-says-scammed-customers-cannot-be-forced-arbitration#sthash.pazcf5tb.dpuf

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Fannie, Freddie Give Some Relief to Foreclosed Homeowners

December 3, 2014 Leave a comment

Fannie, Freddie Give Some Relief to Foreclosed Homeowners

Agencies Will Allow Homeowners in Foreclosure to Buy Back Properties at Market Value

Mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will allow homeowners who have been foreclosed upon to repurchase their homes at market value even if they owe more, reversing a policy that prohibited such transactions.

The change comes as Melvin Watt, the director of Fannie and Freddie’s regulator, has come under increasing pressure from some groups to use the companies to provide more relief to struggling homeowners.

“This is a targeted, but important policy change that should help reduce property vacancies and stabilize home values and neighborhoods,” said Mr. Watt, the chief of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Previously, someone who lost a home through foreclosure and wanted to buy it back from Fannie or Freddie needed to pay the full amount owed on the mortgage, even if the market value of the home was less. That was intended to take away the motivation for homeowners to intentionally default in order to get the balance of their mortgages reduced.

In effect, that meant Fannie and Freddie had two standards where they would be willing to sell properties they owned to a new buyer at market prices when they wouldn’t do so for the former homeowner.

“There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be willing to sell a home to these borrowers on the same terms that you’re willing to sell it to someone else,” said Laurie Goodman, center director of the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute.

The old policy drew the ire of some politicians and nonprofit groups, which argued that it encouraged homes to stay vacant and hurt neighboring property values. In June, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley sued Fannie and Freddie, alleging that the policy violated a Massachusetts state law that allowed market-value sales to foreclosed-upon homeowners in some circumstances. That lawsuit was dismissed in October.

On Tuesday, Ms. Coakley said the change “is encouraging news for homeowners in Massachusetts and across the country” while adding that she hoped the regulator would move further to reduce mortgage debt for some homeowners.

Elyse Cherry, chief executive of Boston Community Capital, a nonprofit group that provides financing to foreclosed-upon homeowners to buy their homes back, called the new policy “an encouraging step in the right direction. It makes sense for homeowners and it makes sense for neighborhoods.”

However, the impact of the change could be limited. It will only apply to the 121,000 homes that Fannie and Freddie have already foreclosed on and own, a provision that’s intended to curtail any incentive for borrowers in good standing to default. That narrow scope is unlikely to quiet the drumbeat for the FHFA to make bigger changes intended to help a larger number of borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth.

Foreclosed-upon borrowers will also still need to find the cash or financing to buy the old home back at market value, a tall order for those with tarnished credit histories.

“This is a ‘feel-good’ type of policy. It’s directionally helpful to a small number of homeowners that ran into trouble, but at the end of the day, I don’t look to this to have a major policy impact,” said Clifford Rossi, a finance professor at the University of Maryland.

Since Mr. Watt took office in January, many politicians and nonprofit groups have asked that he allow Fannie and Freddie to reduce the principal of mortgages for borrowers who owe more than their homes are worth, a step that he has so far avoided taking.

At a Senate Banking Committee hearing last week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) criticized Mr. Watt for not allowing principal reduction. Mr. Watt at the hearing said that principal reduction was “the most difficult issue that I’ve faced as director.”

The new policy in effect reduces mortgage principal, albeit for a small number of foreclosed-upon borrowers. Some nonprofit groups said that Fannie and Freddie would be better served to reduce the borrower’s principal before a foreclosure.

“It would make more sense to do a mortgage modification with principal reduction earlier in the process and prevent foreclosure in the first place,” said Kevin Whelan, national campaign director for the Home Defenders League, a nonprofit that has advocated for widespread principal reduction.

A Fannie Mae spokesman declined to comment beyond Mr. Watt’s statement.

“Our ongoing practice has been to sell homes at current market price to minimize losses to Freddie Mac and maximize opportunities to stabilize home prices in communities while fostering homeownership opportunities,” said a Freddie Mac spokesman.

Supreme Court case tests limits of free speech on Facebook

December 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Supreme Court case tests limits of free speech on Facebook

National Constitution Center

Next Monday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case originating near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, that asks the Justices to decide when violent posts on social media are protected by the First Amendment.

In Elonis v. United States, 30-year-old Anthony Elonis is challenging a 44-month prison sentence he received for Facebook posts that appeared to threaten his ex-wife with violence.

One such post said, “If I only knew then what I know now … I would have smothered you’re [sic] a** with a pillow. Dumped your body in the back seat. Dropped you off in Toad Creek and made it look like a rape and murder.” Another declared, “Revenge is a dish that is best served cold with a delicious side of psychological torture.” (You can read more examples in the government’s brief.)

“I felt like I was being stalked,” his wife testified in district court. “I felt extremely afraid for mine and my children’s and my family’s lives.”

But as Constitution Daily reported in September, the case is complicated by Elonis’ claim that he is simply “an aspiring rapper” who liberally quoted from songs by Jay-Z, the Notorious B.I.G. (not to be confused with the Notorious R.B.G.) and Eminem on his Facebook profile.

“Art is about pushing limits,” Elonis wrote in one post. “I’m willing to go to jail for my constitutional rights.”

He may indeed get his wish. But first, the Supreme Court will have to decide whether it is enough that a “reasonable person” would view Elonis’ comments as a serious threat—the standard used to convict him—or if prosecutors have to prove that Elonis’ “subjective intent” was really to make threats.

Specifically, the Court will answer two questions: whether the federal law under which Elonis was convicted requires proof of subjective intent to threaten, and whether the First Amendment, especially in light of Virginia v. Black (2003), requires such proof as well.

The federal law in question, 18 U.S.C. § 875(c), says, “Whoever transmits in interstate or foreign commerce any communication containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to injure the person of another, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”

And in Black, three Virginia men were convicted of burning crosses on their neighbors’ property. They were all convicted under a state law that prohibits the burning of crosses altogether without regard to intent. On appeal at the Supreme Court, however, their convictions were overturned and the Virginia law was struck down as unconstitutional for assuming the act of burning a cross must be an act of intimidation in all cases.

The attorneys for Elonis answer both questions with resounding affirmation. The plain language of 875(c), they argue, as well as its legislative history and case law, together indicate that subjective intent must be considered. They also point out that, if intent is not considered, what amounts to simple “negligent speech” would be criminalized, leading to a violation of the First Amendment.

As you might expect, attorneys for the government take precisely the opposite positions, arguing that the statutory text only requires a “reasonable person” standard—that is, would a reasonable third-party observer find the speech threatening?—and that prohibiting such threats does not chill speech.

How the Supreme Court will ultimately rule is uncertain. Under Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court has apparently championed the First Amendment. But upon a second look, the record is not so clear.

Nicandro Iannacci is a web strategist at the National Constitution Center.

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The Truth about The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions

November 26, 2014 Leave a comment

Contrary to much of the media hype and the nay-sayers who cannot find a positive word to say about the President’s Executive actions, I humbly and respectfully suggest that they actually read the documents. The following is a summary of the actions.
• The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive actions will help secure the border, hold nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable and ensure that everyone plays by the same rules.

• Acting within his legal authority, the President is taking an important step to fix our broken immigration system.

• These executive actions crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes as they register to temporarily stay in the US without fear of deportation.

• These are commonsense steps, but only Congress can finish the job. As the President acts, he’ll continue to work with Congress on a comprehensive, bipartisan bill—like the one passed by the Senate more than a year ago—that can replace these actions and fix the whole system.

• For the past half century, every president—Democratic or Republican—has used his legal authority to act on immigration. President Obama is now taking another common sense step.

Taking Action to Help Increase Accountability and Ensure Everyone Plays by the Rules:

Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration at the Border
• The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally today will be caught and sent back. Continuing the surge of resources that effectively reduced the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally this summer, the President’s action will also centralize border security command-and- control to continue to crack down on illegal immigration.

Deporting Felons, Not Families
• The President’s actions focus on the deportation of people who threaten national security and public safety. He has directed immigration enforcement to place anyone suspected of terrorism, violent criminals, gang members, and recent border crossers at the top of the deportation priority list.

Accountability – Criminal Background Checks and Taxes
• The President is also acting to hold accountable those undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for more than five years and are parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents. By registering and passing criminal and national security background checks, millions of undocumented immigrants will start paying their fair
share of taxes and temporarily stay in the US without fear of deportation for three years at a time.

Finishing the Job:

• As the Administration implements these executive actions, Congress should finish the job by passing a bill like the Senate bill, which:
o Continues to strengthen border security by adding 20,000 more Border Patrol agents;
o Cracks down on companies who hire undocumented workers;
o Creates an earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who pay a fine
and taxes, pass a background check, learn English and go to the back of the line, and;
o Boosts our economy and keeps families together by cutting red tape to simplify our legal immigration process.

Toplines:
• The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive actions will help secure the border, hold nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants accountable and ensure that everyone plays by the same rules.

• Acting within his legal authority, the President is taking an important step to fix our broken immigration system.

• These executive actions crack down on illegal immigration at the border, prioritize deporting felons not families, and require certain undocumented immigrants to pass a criminal background check and pay their fair share of taxes as they register to temporarily stay in the US without fear of deportation.

• These are commonsense steps, but only Congress can finish the job. As the President acts, he’ll continue to work with Congress on a comprehensive, bipartisan bill—like the one passed by the Senate more than a year ago—that can replace these actions and fix the whole system.

• For the past half century, every president—Democratic or Republican—has used his legal authority to act on immigration. President Obama is now taking another common sense step.
Taking Action to Help Increase Accountability and Ensure Everyone Plays by the Rules:

Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration at the Border
• The President’s actions increase the chances that anyone attempting to cross the border illegally today will be caught and sent back. Continuing the surge of resources that effectively reduced the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally this summer, the President’s action will also centralize border security command-and- control to continue to crack down on illegal immigration
• Specifically, the President announced the following actions:
o Shifting resources to the border and recent border crossers. Over the summer, DHS sent hundreds of Border Patrol agents and ICE personnel to the border, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) reordered dockets in immigration courts to prioritize removal cases of recent border crossers. This continued focus will help keep our borders safe and secure.
o Streamlining the immigration court process. DOJ is announcing a package of immigration court reforms that will address the backlog of pending cases by working with DHS to more quickly adjudicate cases of individuals who meet the new DHS- wide priorities and closing cases of individuals who are low priorities. DOJ will also pursue regulations that adopt best practices for court systems in an effort to use limited court hearing time as efficiently as possible.
o Protecting victims of crime and human trafficking and workers. The Department of Labor (DOL) is expanding and strengthening immigration options for victims of crimes (U visas) and trafficking (T visas) who cooperate in government investigations. An interagency working group will also explore ways to ensure that workers can avail themselves of their labor and employment rights without fear of
retaliation.

Deporting Felons, Not Families
• The President’s actions focus on the deportation of people who threaten national security and public safety. He has directed immigration enforcement to place anyone suspected of terrorism, violent criminals, gang members, and recent border crossers at the top of the
deportation priority list.

• Specifically, the President announced the following actions:
o Focusing on the removal of national security, border security, and public safety threats. To better focus on enforcement, Secretary Johnson is issuing a new DHS- wide memorandum that makes clear that the government’s enforcement activity should be focused on national security threats, serious convicted criminals, and recent border crossers. These are the highest priorities for removal and DHS will direct all
of their enforcement resources to pursing priority individuals.
o Implementing a new Priority Enforcement Program. Effectively identifying and removing criminals in state and local jails is a critical goal but it must be done in a way that sustains the community trust. To address concerns from Governors, Mayors, law enforcement and community leaders which have undermined cooperation with DHS, Secretary Johnson is replacing the existing Secure

Communities program with a new Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) to remove those convicted of criminal offenses. DHS will continue to rely on biometric data to verify individuals who are enforcement priorities, and they will also work with DOJ’s Bureau of Prisons to identify and remove federal criminals serving time as soon as possible.

Accountability – Criminal Background Checks and Taxes
• The President is also acting to hold accountable those undocumented immigrants who have lived in the US for more than five years and are parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents. By registering and passing criminal and national security
background checks, millions of undocumented immigrants will start paying their fair
share of taxes and temporarily stay in the US without fear of deportation for three years at a time.

• Specifically, the President announced the following actions:
o Requiring certain undocumented immigrants to pass a background check and pay taxes. In order to promote public safety, DHS is establishing a new deferred action program for parents of U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents who are not enforcement priorities and have been in the country for more than 5
years. Individuals will have the opportunity to request temporary relief from deportation and obtain work authorization if they come forward and register, submit biometric data, pass criminal and national security background checks, pay taxes, and show that their child was born before the date of this announcement. By providing individuals with an opportunity to come out of the shadows and work legally, we will also help crack down on companies who hired undocumented workers, which
undermines the wages of all workers, and ensure that individuals with deferred action are playing by the rules and paying taxes.
o Expanding DACA to cover additional DREAMers. Under initial DACA guidelines, young people who had been in the U.S. for at least five years, came as children, and met specific education and public safety criteria were eligible for temporary relief from deportation so long as they were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2007. DHS is expanding DACA so that individuals can apply if they entered before January 1,
2010, regardless of how old they are today. Going forward, DACA relief will also be granted for three years.

• The President’s actions will also streamline legal immigration to boost our economy and promote naturalization by:
o Providing portable work authorization for high-skilled workers awaiting green cards and their spouses.
o Enhancing immigration options for foreign entrepreneurs.
o Strengthening and extending on-the-job training for STEM graduates of U.S
universities.
o Streamlining the process for foreign workers and their employers, while protecting
American workers.
o Reducing family separation for those waiting to obtain LPR status.

o Ensuring that individuals with lawful status can travel to their countries of origin.
o Issuing a Presidential Memorandum on visa modernization.
o Creating a White House Task Force on New Americans.
o Promoting Citizenship Public Awareness.
o Ensuring U.S. Citizens Can Serve.
Finishing the Job:

• As the Administration implements these executive actions, Congress should finish the job by passing a bill like the Senate bill, which:
o Continues to strengthen border security by adding 20,000 more Border Patrol agents;
o Cracks down on companies who hire undocumented workers;
o Creates an earned path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who pay a fine
and taxes, pass a background check, learn English and go to the back of the line, and;
o Boosts our economy and keeps families together by cutting red tape to simplify our legal immigration process.
###

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New SCOTUS Case

November 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Annucci v. Vincent

Pending petition

Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
14-360 2d Cir. TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD

Issue: (1) Whether a convicted offender has a clearly established constitutional right – sufficient to defeat qualified immunity – to separate judicial pronouncement of mandatory post-release supervision; and (2) whether, absent a definitive ruling from this Court, a federal court of appeals’ habeas ruling could clearly establish such a right without regard to contrary rulings by state courts of coordinate jurisdiction.

SCOTUSblog Coverage

Date Proceedings and Orders
Aug 8 2014 Application (14A186) to extend the time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari from August 21, 2014 to September 25, 2014, submitted to Justice Ginsburg.
Aug 13 2014 Application (14A186) granted by Justice Ginsburg extending the time to file until September 25, 2014.
Sep 25 2014 Petition for a writ of certiorari filed. (Response due October 29, 2014)
Oct 20 2014 Order extending time to file response to petition to and including November 28, 2014, for all respondents.
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