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September 2014 Legal Report Resources

​Deadly force. In a new ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court has expanded the authority of police to use deadly force to stop high-speed chases on streets and highways. In its opinion on Plumhoff v. Rickard, the Court ruled that police may start shooting at a fleeing vehicle and continue shooting until they are satisfied that the threat to safety is over.

Privacy. A federal appeals court has ruled that tracking Americans’ movements using data from their cell phones without a warrant violates their Fourth Amendment rights. In its ruling on United States v. Davis, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that the government’s warrantless gathering of an individual’s cell phone site location information violated his reasonable expectation of privacy.

Defense. The House of Representatives has passed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2014. Along with funding the Department of Defense (DoD), the act (H.R. 1960) institutes new provisions for biometrics funding, provisions on Guantanamo transfers, and military whistleblower protections.

Communications. The House of Representatives has passed a bill (H.R. 4289) that would create policies and directives to achieve and maintain interoperable communications within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The bill is called the DHS Interoperable Communications Act and would charge the DHS undersecretary for management with developing policies and maintain interoperable communications among all of the components of the department.

Firearms. Sen. Edward J. Market (D-MA) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) have introduced bicameral legislation to fund research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on firearms. The measures (H.R. 4707 and S. 2373) would allocate $10 million each year from 2015 to 2020 to conduct or support research on firearms safety and gun violence prevention under the Public Health Service Act.

License plates. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has approved legislation that will place restrictions on license plate data. The measure (formerly S.B. 192) will prohibit law enforcement agencies from using captured plate data unless the agency has a legitimate law enforcement purpose. The new law goes into effect on October 1, 2014.

Terrorism. The United Kingdom has enacted a new law that allows the government to strip terrorism suspects of their citizenship, even it makes the suspect stateless. The new law is part of the greater Immigration Act of 2014. It expands existing laws that allowed the nation to revoke citizenship and its associated rights from dual citizens if they are suspected or convicted of acts of terrorism or disloyalty.

Privacy. A federal appeals court has dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit filed by Redbox customers in California. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held in Sinibaldi v. Redbox Automated Retail, LLC, that the kiosk retailer, which rents out DVDs and video games for $1 per day, did not illegally ask for customers’ ZIP codes. Instead, the court ruled that Redbox’s credit card transactions, which require customers to enter their ZIP codes, does not violate California law because the transactions are used as deposits in case customers do not return rented products.

Worker’s compensation. The California Court of Appeal upheld a decision to deny an application for workers’ compensation benefits brought by the dependents of a correctional officer killed in an automobile accident while driving home from work. Before the accident, the officer was held over from his scheduled shift and required to work the next shift as the prison’s watch commander. The court upheld the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board’s decision in Lantz v. WCAB to deny worker’s compensation benefits because the hold-over shift was assigned in accordance with established procedures and did not “dramatically change” the officer’s activities.

Hacking. A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a British stunt double for actress Angelina Jolie, who claimed News Corp. hired private investigators to tap her mobile phone’s voice mail for information for news stories while she was living and working in Los Angeles. In his opinion ofHuthart v. News Corp, U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald wrote that while the stunt double “suffered a grotesque invasion of her privacy…she must obtain her relief from the courts of England and Wales.”​