Not all Expressions of Purported Religious Beliefs are Protected by the First Amendment, Cavanaugh v. Bartelt, Docket No. 4:14-cv-03183-JMG-CRZ Doc # 47 Filed: 04/12/16

By Eric Marcy |   Apr. 18, 2016

The Dismissal of Federal and State Civil Right Claims

Federal District Court Declines to Protect the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster [FSM]
In an entertaining, thoughtful, and well-reasoned decision the Honorable John M. Gerard, United States District Judge, for the District of Nebraska, has defined the limits of the First Amendment in the recognition of religion and the protections afforded by Federal and State constitutional and statutory provisions protecting the Free Exercise of Religious Beliefs. Judge Gerard wades into the murky waters of what defines a “true” religion that is worthy of protection. In this case, the court engaged in an analysis of the tenets of an inmate’s assertion of religious belief and dismissed a lawsuit brought by the inmate. The court concluded that the Church of FSM is “satire” and not worthy of consideration as a religion or the protections afforded religious belief under Federal and State law. This case demonstrates that the Federal judicial system will not hesitate to determine the legitimacy of the assertion of personally held religious beliefs. An inmate at a Nebraska State Penitentiary filed a lawsuit in the District of Nebraska advancing the Federal and State Claims which protect the free exercise of religious beliefs. The Plaintiff alleges violations of the religious freedom provisions of: Read More

Topics : Constitutional Rights, Civil Rights Litigation, prisoner rights, free exercise of religion, civil rights, first amendment | 0 Comments Read More

When are Supervisors Liable for the Actions of Subordinates in Federal Civil Rights and Police Liability Cases?

By Eric Marcy |   Nov. 20, 2015

Municipal Liability
When are Supervisors Liable for the Actions of Subordinates
in Federal Civil Rights and Police Liability Cases?

In Federal civil rights actions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, supervisors are frequently named as defendants, even in circumstances were the supervisor was not directly involved or did not even have knowledge of the actions of the subordinate that gave rise to the claimed deprivation of civil rights. Shift Commanders, Lieutenants, Captains, Deputy Chiefs and Chiefs of Police are commonly named in “shotgun pleadings” when there has been a claim of excessive force or other alleged violation of Federal or Constitutional law. Supervisors should know when their conduct exposes them to liability for the actions of their subordinates and when it does not.

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Topics : Litigation, Use of Force, Federal Civil Rights, Criminal Defense, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, police, Constitutional Rights, Criminal Law, Due Process, Eric Marcy, law enforcement, Police Misconduct, Civil Rights Litigation | 0 Comments Read More

The Limits to Ordering Computer Monitoring as a Special Condition of Supervised Release in the Federal Court System

By Eric Marcy |   Oct. 29, 2015

There are limits to when a Federal District Court Judge may order computer monitoring by United States Probation as a special condition of supervised release. While it can be argued that individuals on supervised release have a diminished expectation of privacy, wholesale unfettered access to a personal computer must still be balanced by assessing the nexus, proportionality, privileges, and the constitutional requirements that require that such intrusions be narrowly tailored.

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Topics : Community Supervision, Criminal Defense, Probation, Special Conditions of Supervised Release, Constitutional Rights, Criminal Law, Appeal, Due Process, Eric Marcy, NJ Criminal Justice Process, Parole, Federal Investigations, probation officer, probationer | 0 Comments Read More

PARENTS ARE ENTITLED TO DUE PROCESS

By Eric Marcy |   Sep. 11, 2015

IS IT TIME TO REIGN IN THE HEAVY HAND OF THE CHILD PROTECTION AND PERMANENCY AGENCY? (DCPP Formerly Known as DYFS)

Society’s interest in the protection of children is a significant and legitimate interest of the State. That interest still has to be balanced with the constitutional rights of those being investigated by child welfare agencies.

The Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP), formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS) has been granted broad powers both from State statute and the New Jersey Administrative Code. The question becomes whether agents of the State acting under those powers, exceed their scope, and violate the due process rights of those parents and families that they are meant to protect? The CPP’s investigatory broad power flows from the structure of statutes and administrative code. The overzealous application of such power, even if intended in good faith, can be intrusive and damaging to the family unit the laws were intended to protect.

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Topics : Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), Constitutional Rights, Criminal Law, Due Process, Domestic Violence, Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP), Family | 0 Comments Read More

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