3D-printed firearms and legal responsibility for police shootings

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3D-printed firearms and liability for police shootings

Petitions of the Week

By James Romoser


at 5:32 pm

This week we’re highlighting certification filings asking the Supreme Court to review, among other things, when an attorney general can be tried in another state and when a police officer is exempt from civil liability for the fatal shooting of a passenger in a fleeing car .

Grewal v Defense Distributed is a dispute between the New Jersey attorney general and a Texas company developing digital files for the manufacture of 3D printed weapons. In 2018, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal sent a cease and desist letter to Defense Distributed warning that distributing such files to New Jersey residents over the internet would violate New Jersey law. In response, the company sued Grewal in federal court in Texas. It sought an injunction preventing Grewal from taking enforcement action against the company that it claimed violated the first and second amendments.

The Texas District Court dismissed the lawsuit after determining that it had no personal jurisdiction over Grewal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit reversed and ruled that the case could continue. Grewal argues in his petition for certification that the decision of the 5th district contradicts the case law of the Supreme Court on personal jurisdiction. He also claims that the 5th circuit created a circuit split over whether state officials in other states submit to jurisdiction by simply sending cease and desist letters across state lines.

The town of Hayward versus Stoddard-Nunez is created by the fatal shooting of a passenger in a fleeing car by a police officer. In 2013, an officer in Hayward, California attempted to stop a car on suspicion of drunk driving. After the driver initially stopped in a parking lot, he refused to get out of the car. Instead, he drove past the officer’s patrol car and fled the scene. The officer who testified that the car was fleeing towards him fired nine shots at the car, killing one passenger. The passenger’s next of kin sued the officer and the city under 42 USC § 1983 on the grounds that the officer violated the passenger’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from improper seizure.

The District Court dismissed the lawsuit, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reinstated it and concluded that a reasonable jury could determine that the officer fired the fatal shot after the car drove past him was and had hardly threatened the officials or the public officials. The officer and the city are asking the Supreme Court to take the case to resolve two issues: (1) the degree of generality by which the courts should judge whether an officer has broken the “clearly established law” decide whether it does so The officer is entitled to qualified immunity and (2) whether a shooting of a passenger in these circumstances will be considered a seizure under the Fourth Amendment.

These and other petitions of the week are listed below:

Brown versus Polk County, Wisconsin
20-982
problem: Whether the fourth amendment allows prison officials to conduct a physical, penetrative search of the vagina and / or anus of a detainee without an arrest warrant, probable cause, or urgent circumstance, including in cases of individuals incarcerated for minor non-violent non-drug offenses, such as z shoplifting.

Grewal vs. Defense Distributed
20-984
problem: Whether a non-resident civil servant in another forum state submits to personal jurisdiction when sending a single cease and desist letter to a single resident of that state.

Smith v. Tyson
20-988
Problems: (1) Whether the review below is required Section 2254 of the Act against Terrorism and the Effective Death Penalty of 1996 and Cullen v. Pinholster is violated by relying on a “some ambiguity” standard used by the US Circuit Court of Appeals to determine a breach of due process without giving both defense counsel and the court the necessary benefit of doubt ; (2) Whether the decision of the 3rd Circle to exonerate habeas on the basis of allegedly incorrect instructions of the jury in a state accomplice murder trial was flawed because of the precedent of the Supreme Court in Waddington v. Sarasaud;; and (3) whether the 3rd Circuit, by ignoring entire parts of the court’s indictment to the jury in relation to accomplice’s liability and failure to comply with the trial record, wrongly concluded that there was a material and unjust case – a conceivable one Probability of another outcome.

England v. Hard
20-991
problem: Whether the “objective investigation” of Davis versus United States because the assertion of the right to legal advice can be based on subjective factors.

Dominguez versus United States
20-1000
problem: Whether attempted robbery under the Hobbs Act qualifies as a “violent crime” which means that it “has as an element the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another”.

City of Hayward, California v. Stoddard-Nunez
20-1006
Problems: (1) whether a suddenly accelerating fleeing driver deprives an endangered shooter of qualified immunity; and (2) whether an unintentional victim passenger of a fleeing vehicle will be “seized” for purposes of the fourth amendment.

Shinn v. Ramirez
20-1009
problem: Whether the application of the just rule has been announced by the Supreme Court in Martinez versus Ryan renders the Terrorism Act and the Effective Death PenaltyThis prevents a federal court from examining evidence outside of the state court in examining the merits of a request for habeas relief when a prisoner or his attorney has not carefully developed the factual basis of the motion in a state court, suggesting the merits of a federal court review of a claim to habeas relief is not applicable.

Rranxburgaj v. Mayorkas
20-1010
problem: Whether these decisions result in legal decisions that precede the agencies’ discretionary decisions to initiate proceedings, to decide cases or to execute deportation orders 8 USC § 1252 (g)which provides that “no court shall have jurisdiction to investigate any cause or claim made by or on behalf of an alien arising out of the US Attorney General’s decision or action to initiate proceedings, rule cases, or deportation orders against an alien according to this chapter to be enforced. “

Louisiana Real Estate Appraisers Board v Federal Trade Commission
20-1018
[Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to SCOTUSblog in various capacities, is among counsel to the petitioner in this case.]
problem: Whether and under what conditions orders denying public institutions immunity against state measures can be challenged immediately according to the doctrine of the security order.