Legal Issues Range from Sovereign Immunity to First Amendment
SPOKANE, Wash. – As a part of the Gonzaga University School of Law’s Centennial Celebration, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in three cases in the Law School’s Barbieri Courtroom starting at 1 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 3. The hearings are open to the public at no cost. The Law School is located at 721 N. Cincinnati St.
An appellate panel made up of Judges Alex Kozinski, Paul J. Watford, and Morgan Christen will have a docket of three cases from the Western District of Washington: United States v. Sin, Slater v. Clarke, and Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign v. King County (Washington) – addressing issues ranging sovereign state immunity to First Amendment issues.
United States v. Sin: Case #11-30378. Seong Sin, former captain of the cargo ship MV STX DAISY, appeals the district judge’s order affirming his 2010 conviction (following a jury trial presided over by a magistrate judge) of misdemeanor operation of a vessel while under the influence of alcohol. He was originally arrested near Port Angeles, Wash.
Slater v. Clarke: Case #11-35699. Massachusetts state officials appeal the district court’s denial of their motion for absolute immunity from a suit alleging they were responsible for the premature release of prisoner Daniel Tavares from the Massachusetts Department of Corrections. Tavares subsequently shot and killed Beverly and Brian Mauck in the couple’s home in Pierce County, Wash. An investigation revealed the MDOC could have deducted an additional 689 days of “good time” from Tavares due to disciplinary proceedings against him while incarcerated in Massachusetts, which would have postponed his release. Plaintiffs allege defendants were liable for Tavares’ premature release, for their subsequent
investigation of his whereabouts in the state of Washington, and for their refusal to apprehend him and return him to Massachusetts.
Slater v. Clarke raises interesting and complex procedural and constitutional issues, many of which are studied in first-year and upper-level classes at Gonzaga Law School, said Vickie Williams, Gonzaga’s associate dean of academic affairs.
“For example, the court was required to perform a complex personal jurisdiction analysis, a staple subject of first-year civil procedure (class),” Williams said. “The case also raises issues of sovereign immunity for state officials, a major topic of interest in the upper-level constitutional law, federal jurisdiction and civil rights classes. Oral argument on the case should be of great interest to our students.”
Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign v. King County: Case #11-35914. Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign appeals a district court’s summary judgment in its action alleging King County violated plaintiff’s First Amendment rights when Seattle Metro refused to display SeaMAC’s advertisement on Metro buses. SeaMAC, a nonprofit organization that aims to call attention to Israeli-Palestinian relations, proposed to display a message opposing the U.S. government’s support for Israel. The district court found that the exterior of the buses was a limited public forum and that King County’s restrictions were reasonable. In a cross appeal, case 11-35931, the county appeals from the district court’s order granting SeaMAC’s request for a jury trial.
The U.S. Court of Appeals is divided into 13 circuits. The 9th Circuit, based in San Francisco, is the largest of the courts of appeals with 29 active judgeships. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit hears cases from 13 district courts (from the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington) and two territorial courts (Northern Mariana Islands and Guam).
All individuals wishing to attend must present government-issued photo identification; no large bags or backpacks will be allowed in the Barbieri Courtroom. Arguments in each of the three cases will last approximately 30-40 minutes with 10-minute breaks between each case.
This year marks Gonzaga Law School’s 100th Anniversary (Centennial) and Gonzaga University’s 125th anniversary. Many events are planned throughout the year to mark the anniversaries. More information can be found at the following website.
For more information, please contact Andrea Parrish, digital media specialist at Gonzaga University School of Law, at (509) 313-3771 or via e-mail. For more information about the cases, contact David Madden at (415) 355-8800.