Recent Federal Court Decisions: What You Need to Know

Welcome to the most recent installment of Short Circuit, a weekly feature produced by Institute for Justice. In Oregon, agriculture regulators decided to enforce costly regulations on small dairies at the behest of large producers, despite the lack of health concerns on small farms. In a surprising turn, the Mexican government is alleging that U.S. gun manufacturers are smuggling weapons into Mexico, and a court has ruled in their favor. The “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli was convicted of antitrust violations and has been banned for life from the pharmaceutical industry. In Virginia, a mobile home park implemented a policy requiring proof of legal U.S. status for residents, which was challenged in a Fair Housing Act case. The Fourth Circuit ruled against the park, stating that they did not have to comply with federal anti-harboring laws. Additionally, in Maryland, a requirement for gun sellers to distribute suicide prevention information and pamphlets was challenged under the First Amendment. The Fourth Circuit upheld the requirement. In Dallas, a police officer allegedly falsely claimed that a bar patron shoved him, resulting in the patron being charged with felony assault. The charge was later dismissed, and the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of qualified immunity for the officer. In a Harris County, Texas case, a motorist who was shot and killed by an officer was also ruled to have occurred under qualified immunity. A Laredo, Texas journalist was arrested for asking a police officer about a developing story, a move that was upheld by the Fifth Circuit. Parental challengers to the FDA’s emergency-use authorization covering COVID-19 vaccines for children were dismissed by the Fifth Circuit. The Sixth Circuit ruled in favor of qualified immunity for Cincinnati officers involved in a high-speed chase that resulted in two deaths. The Seventh Circuit allowed a case to proceed against a Wisconsin prison doctor for alleged deliberate indifference to an inmate’s medical needs. The Ninth Circuit ruled against the FBI’s attempted civil forfeiture of items in a safe deposit vault in Los Angeles. A Tenth Circuit case involving a conviction in Indian country was reversed due to a lack of proof of essential elements of the crime. Lastly, in a Tenth Circuit case, a guilty plea was withdrawn due to misrepresentation about the right to a fair and impartial trial.