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Child Abuse and the Confrontation Clause: Ohio v. Clark

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Teleforum March 02, 04:00 PMFederalist Society Teleforum Conference Call

The United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Ohio v. Clark on March 2. Two questions are presented to the Court: (1) Whether an individual's obligation to report suspected child abuse makes that individual an agent of law enforcement for purposes of the Confrontation Clause; and (2) whether a child's out-of-court statements to a teacher in response to the teacher's concerns about potential child abuse qualify as “testimonial” statements subject to the Confrontation Clause. On March 17, 2010, a Cleveland preschool teacher noticed injuries to a three-year-old student. When asked, the child indicated that her mother’s boyfriend, Darius Clark, had caused the injuries. Clark was arrested and convicted of child abuse after the teacher relayed her concerns to a child-abuse hotline, as required by state law. On appeal Clark claimed that the admission of the child’s out-of-court statements to the teacher violated his Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him. The Supreme Court of Ohio agreed, holding that because state law required the teacher to report suspected incidences of child abuse, the teacher was acting as an agent for law enforcement when inquiring about the child’s injuries. Therefore, the child’s out-of-court statements could only be admitted if the primary purpose of the teacher’s questioning was to address an ongoing emergency. Because the child was not in immediate danger of further injury, the out-of-court statement could not be admitted.

  • John C. Richter, Partner, King & Spalding

City of Los Angeles v. Patel: What is the Proper Structure of a Fourth Amendment Challenge?

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Teleforum March 03, 02:00 PMFederalist Society Teleforum Conference Call

On Tuesday, March 3, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in City of Los Angeles v. Patel. Los Angeles has an ordinance that requires hotels to maintain certain records about their guests and to produce those records for police officers upon request. The officer does not necessarily need a warrant or any particular suspicion. Hoteliers claim that this regime violates the Fourth Amendment. Interestingly, the hoteliers do not allege that any particular search was illegal. Is this kind of “facial” Fourth Amendment challenge to a statute or ordinance (as opposed to an “as applied” challenge to a particular search carried out under the statute) permissible? This issue raises fundamental questions about the constitutional structure of judicial review, with importance reaching far beyond the Fourth Amendment context.

  • Prof. Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Georgetown University Law Center

Obamacare Back in the Supreme Court: King v. Burwell

Administrative Law & Regulation Practice Group Teleforum March 04, 02:00 PMFederalist Society Teleforum Conference Call

On Wednesday, March 4, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in King v. Burwell, one of the most talked-about cases of this term. At issue is whether the Internal Revenue Service may permissibly promulgate regulations to extend tax-credit subsidies to coverage purchased through exchanges established by the federal government under Section 1321 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Those challenging the statute argue that tax-credit subsidies can only be legally extended to those purchasing insurance in state-run exchanges – fewer than 20 states have created such exchanges. Professor Jonathan Adler, widely regarded as one of the architects of this most recent challenge to the affordable care act, will attend the oral arguments and offer his thoughts to a live Teleforum audience.

  • Prof. Jonathan H. Adler, Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Florida Fisherman off the Hook for Sarbanes-Oxley Violation: Supreme Court decides Yates v. United States

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Teleforum March 05, 02:00 PMFederalist Society Teleforum Conference Call

In a 4-1-4 decision issued on February 25, the United States Supreme Court held that a federal criminal law prohibiting the destruction of corporate records and other “tangible objects” could not be used against a commercial fisherman who threw undersized fish overboard to avoid prosecution. The decision featured an unusual lineup of justices, wave after wave of fishing metaphors, and a citation to Dr. Seuss. Todd Braunstein covered the November oral arguments on a Teleforum conference call, and he will return to wade through the complicated decision.

  • Todd F. Braunstein, Counsel, WilmerHale

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