Current list of cases pending before the courts in which CJLF has filed an amicus curiae brief.
San Francisco v. Sessions / Santa Clara v. Sessions
Nos. 17-17478 & 17-17480
9th Circuit Court of Appeals
On January 25, 2017, the President directed the Attorney General and the Secretary of Homeland Security to withhold government grants from jurisdictions that refuse to comply with a federal law regarding the immigration status of jail inmates. The order was expressly limited "to the extent consistent with law," and the Department of Justice subsequently issued an interpretation that the limitation was restricted to law enforcement grants conditioned on certifying compliance with federal law, consistent with the interpretation of the law governing those programs issued during the Obama Administration. Despite this, a federal district judge interpreted the order to cover all federal grants and then declared the order with this bloated interpretation to be unconstitutional. CJLF entered the case to argue that this interpretation is contrary to well-established principles. The Department of Justice interpretation is correct, and as so interpreted the order is unquestionably valid.
People v. Cervantes
No. S241323
California Supreme Court
California Supreme Court case to review whether Proposition 57 applies retroactively to juvenile cases that had been directly filed in adult court prior to it being passed in the November 2016 election. Alexander Cervantes was 14 years old when he committed horrific sex crimes against a 13-year-old girl. He was directly charged as an adult and convicted by a jury on all charged substantive offenses. During the pendency of Cervantes’ appeal, California voters passed Proposition 57, which eliminated the statutes that required or permitted prosecutors to directly file charges against a minor in adult court. A California Court of Appeal found that Cervantes’ attorney had been ineffective at trial and partially reversed the judgment and remanded the case for retrial. The Court of Appeal further held that Proposition 57 gives Cervantes the ability to have his case retried in juvenile court. CJLF joined the case to argue that Proposition 57 only applies prospectively. Because Cervantes’ case was lawfully initiated in adult criminal court all proceedings from that point occurred as if he were an adult and it must remain in that court on remand for retrial and re-sentencing.
Johnson v. Ferguson
No. 16-1697
Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals
Federal Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals case to review lower court decisions that would allow Dorian Johnson, the 22-year-old companion of Michael Brown, to sue the city and Officer Darren Wilson for violating his rights. In August 2014, Officer Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, who had just robbed a convenience store when Officer Wilson saw the pair walking down the middle of a street in Ferguson, Missouri. Johnson claims that when Officer Wilson ordered them to the sidewalk, he had unlawfully seized him in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Although both federal and grand jury investigations of the incident found that Johnson had lied about the events leading up to the shooting and the shooting itself, motions to dismiss the lawsuit have been rejected by the federal district court and a divided Eighth Circuit panel. When the circuit agreed to reconsider the panel's ruling en banc, CJLF joined the case on behalf of the National Police Association arguing that by Johnson's own admission he was not ordered to stop or prevented from leaving, which he did when he eventually ran. Citing its 1991 U. S. Supreme Court victory in California v. Hodari D., CJLF argues that the facts Johnson describes, of his encounter in the middle of the street with Officer Wilson, do not constitute a seizure. Because of this, the lawsuit should be dismissed.
Hays v. Vogt
No. 16-1495
U.S. Supreme Court
U. S. Supreme Court case involving a civil lawsuit filed by a police officer against his former employer for money damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Matthew Vogt was employed by the City of Hays Police Department. While interviewing for a new job with the City of Haysville Police Department, Vogt disclosed that he had kept a knife he acquired during an investigation while working as a Hays officer. During a subsequent investigation, Vogt was required to report on the circumstances of this incident. Later, Haysville withdrew its job offer and Vogt was charged with two felony counts relating to the knife. Vogt’s statements and the evidence collected were introduced as evidence at a probable cause hearing. Due to a lack of probable cause, the trial court dismissed the two felony counts. Vogt then filed a civil suit against Hays alleging that his Fifth Amendment right to be free from self-incrimination was violated when his statements about the knife and the evidence collected were introduced against him at the probable cause hearing. The district curt granted Hays’ motion to dismiss, concluding that Vogt did not establish a valid Fifth Amendment claim. The Tenth Circuit reversed in part, holding that a probable cause hearing is part of a “criminal case” as that term is used in the Fifth Amendment. CJLF joined the case to argue that the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination has been interpreted more broadly than the words of the amendment provide. Neither the use of Vogt's statements to locate additional evidence about the knife, nor the introduction of that derived evidence in the probable cause hearing violated the Fifth Amendment.