July 22, 2014

Tenth Circuit: No Right of Privacy in Airplane Hanger or Former Residence; Evidence from Both Properly Admitted

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in United States v. Ruiz on Tuesday, January 10, 2012.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. Petitioner conditionally pled guilty to possessing with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. He reserved his right to appeal the district court’s denial of his motions to suppress evidence. On appeal, he contends the district court erred in refusing to suppress evidence seized from a rented airplane and from his former residence.

The Court agreed with the district court’s analysis. The Court found that even if were assumed that Petitioner had an expectation of privacy in the hangar, akin to that of a houseguest, the owner of the hanger could nevertheless admit law enforcement officials into the hangar, at which time the drug-sniffing dog could have identified Petitioner’s plane as containing drugs. Additionally, the district court properly found that when Petitioner terminated his lease, he effectively abandoned his rental house. “As a result, he did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the house at the time the police searched it upon request of the owner.”

Tenth Circuit: Injunction Upheld Preventing Certification of Amendment Banning Consideration of Sharia Law

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in Awad v. Ziriax on Tuesday, January 10, 2012.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. “On November 2, 2010, Oklahoma voters approved a proposed constitutional amendment that would prevent Oklahoma state courts from considering or using Sharia law [or international law]. Before the amendment can become effective, the Oklahoma State Election Board must certify this election result. The Board members [asked the Court] to review whether a federal district court abused its discretion when it granted a preliminary injunction to prevent them from certifying the result.

The Court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion. To obtain a preliminary injunction, Respondent must show that four factors weigh in his favor: “(1) [he] is substantially likely to succeed on the merits; (2) [he] will suffer irreparable injury if the injunction is denied; (3) [his] threatened injury outweighs the injury the opposing party will suffer under the injunction; and (4) the injunction would not be adverse to the public interest.” Respondent has established all of these elements.

The proposed amendment was found to discriminate among religions, by presenting strong, impermissible “explicit and deliberate distinctions” among religions. Even though Petitioners argue there is no discrimination because the amendment bans all religious laws from Oklahoma courts and Sharia law is named only as an example, “that argument conflicts with the amendment’s plain language, which mentions Sharia law in two places,” and bans only one form of religious law—Sharia law. Petitioners could not “identify any actual problem the challenged amendment seeks to solve. Indeed, they admitted at the preliminary injunction hearing that they did not know of even a single instance where an Oklahoma court had applied Sharia law or used the legal precepts of other nations or cultures, let alone that such applications or uses had resulted in concrete problems in Oklahoma.” As such, under the Establishment Clause, the injunction was upheld.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 1/10/12

On Tuesday, January 10, 2012, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued two published opinions and six unpublished opinions.

Unpublished

Shiplett v. Astrue

Hansraj v. Holder, Jr.

Whitmore v. Hill

Gordon v. Franklin

Smalls v. Stermer

Whitmore v. Hill

No case summaries are available for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.