Legal Briefs: What’s Happening in the Law

December 8, 2014

Each week, we bring you updates on the legal world.

Looking ahead…

The Supreme Court will hear a case from Texas on whether controversial vanity license plates featuring the Confederate flag should be allowed into production by the state government. Texas denied a citizen’s application for the special plate, in turn, leading the person to accuse the state of infringing on free speech. (USA TODAY)

Iran has charged a Washington Post journalist with unspecified crimes. The journalist, Jason Rezaian, has been held in the country since July. It’s unclear whether in future court proceedings the nature of the specific charges will be made public. His detention location in Iran is also unknown. (New York Times)

An appeals court in New York will be hearing a case involving habeas corpus rights and chimpanzees. How is that possible? One man believes that the law should protect the habeas corpus of four chimpanzees held in captivity. He argues that they should be released from “solitary confinement in a small, dank, cement cage in a cavernous dark shed.” Expect an decision in the next few months. (Above the Law)

And in case you missed it…

The government has released data regarding the Pentagon’s distribution of retired arsenal to local and state government law enforcement agencies. Police have received small aircrafts, night vision goggles, sight guns, and tactical trucks. In the past, the program has come under fire for its secrecy. (The Marshall Project)

Rolling Stone set off a national conversation on rape on college campuses with its article detailing one female student’s account of a gang-rape at a campus fraternity. This past week, that article has been discredited by the Washington Post, with suggestions that parts of the female accuser’s account doesn’t stand up to basic fact-checking. Rolling Stone issued an apology. (Washington Post)

A California court struck down a law that required law enforcement to conduct a cheek swab for DNA collection from every person arrested with suspicion of committing a felony. The court ruled that the policy constituted an unjust invasion of privacy. (Sacramento Bee)

Image: Photo Pin via Mike Smail