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Criminal, First Amendment and Immigration Matters

By FindLaw Staff on March 11, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Newdow v. Rio Linda Union Sch. Dist., No. 05-17257, concerned an Establishment Clause action by the atheist parent of a student challenging the recitation of the pledge of allegiance by other students in the school at issue.  The court of appeals reversed an injunction in favor of plaintiffs, holding that the Pledge of Allegiance did not violate the Establishment Clause because Congress's ostensible and predominant purpose was to inspire patriotism and that the context of the Pledge--its wording as a whole, the preamble to the statute, and this nation's history--demonstrated that it was a predominantly patriotic exercise, despite its use of the words "under God."

Tijani v. Holder, No. 05-70195, concerned a petition for review of the BIA's denial of petitioner's asylum application.  The court of appeals granted the petition in part, on the ground that the court was required to remand to the BIA to address the questions of whether petitioner would be in danger of persecution on account of his religion or would be entitled to other relief.  However, the court of appeals denied the petition in part, holding that petitioner's credit card fraud in violation of Cal. Penal Code § 532a(1) constituted a crime of moral turpitude.

Newdow v. US Congress, No. 06-16344, involved an action claiming that the national motto of the United States, "In God We Trust," and its inscription on the Nation's coins and currency, violated the Establishment Clause and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.  The court of appeals affirmed the dismissal of the complaint, holding that the Ninth Circuit's prior decision in Aronow v. U.S., 432 F.2d 242 (9th Cir. 1970), foreclosed both claims.

In Stanley v. Schriro, No. 06-99009, a capital habeas matter, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of the petition in part where defense counsel's performance did not prejudice petitioner during the guilt phase of his trial.  However, the court reversed in part on the grounds that trial counsel rendered ineffective assistance during the penalty phase of trial by failing to investigate and present readily available mitigating evidence, and that failure was prejudicial.

Coyote Publishing, Inc. v. Miller, No. 07-16633, concerned a facial First Amendment challenge to restrictions on advertising by legal brothels.  The court of appeals reversed summary judgment for plaintiff, holding that the advertising restrictions targeted pure commercial speech, and there were strong reasons why the sale of sexual services, in particular, ought to be treated differently than other advertising bans on "vice" activities.

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