Apr 18, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon

Court Ruling

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11Joshua Ceasar’s Lawsuit Involving Alleged Cannibal Alex Kinyua Will Move Forward

A lawsuit filed by a man who was attacked by a Morgan State University student who went on to kill and cannibalize another victim will be moving forward, after a motion to dismiss the suit was denied on Monday.

Joshua Ceasar is suing MSU for negligence after Alex Kinyua beat him with a baseball bat. Kinyua later killed and dismembered a man and reportedly ate his heart and part of his brain.

Judge Videtta A. Brown ruled that there was potential for "foreseeability" on the part of the school that "something bad was going to happen," said Steven D. Silverman, Ceasar's attorney.

"Obviously, you can't have foreseeability that there would be a murder involving cannibalism," he said. "But certainly when you look at the totality of the events, the totality of the actions and bizarre behaviors of Kinyua over the six months preceding the attack on Josh, there was foreseeability that something bad was going to happen."

He added: “We are suing the university for its negligence on failing to exercise ordinary care and extract Kinyua from the campus. We’re not suing Kinyua, so we’ve taken it a step further.”

Prior to the incident, Kinyua had wielded a machete on campus and left various satanic rants on social media sites.

"Mr. Kinyua's attack of Plaintiff Ceasar was not the first warning sign to Morgan State that Mr. Kinyua was violent, suffering from severe mental health issues and posed a threat," the lawsuit states. "Despite the warning signs, Morgan State failed to act to protect students and visitors on campus."

Ceasar is permanently injured from the attack, CBS Local reported.

“I’m blind in my left eye right now and the doctors aren’t optimistic that I’m going to get my vision back,” he said.

The lawsuit seeks $75,000 on each of three negligence counts.

Sources: CBS Local, The Baltimore Sun

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11NY Court: Government Can Only Track Employees With GPS During Work Hours

Four years ago, state investigators became convinced that a New York Labor Department official was stepping out when he was supposed to be working, so they put a GPS tracking device in the wheel well of his car and tracked him for a month.

After being terminated from his job for 11 misconduct charges, Michael Cunningham is moving closer to getting his job back as the state’s high court ruled the Inspector General’s Office overstepped its boundaries by tracking Cunningham’s movements at night, weekends and on vacation.

“Where an employer conducts a GPS search without making a reasonable effort to avoid tracking an employee outside of business hours, the search as a whole must be considered unreasonable,” wrote Court of Appeals Judge Robert Smith regarding the case.

The Court of Appeals did say that the government can use GPS devices to track employees, but only during work hours, the New York Daily News reported. 

“Before this decision, the government was claiming the authority to use GPS devices 24-7,” said New York Civil Liberties Union senior attorney, Corey Stoughton. “The government cannot pry into the private and personal lives of its employees.”

He added: "This very clearly establishes the principle that the government cannot engage in GPS surveillance of public employees unless they are confident they can limit it to times the employee is on the clock.”

The GPS device revealed, among other things, that Cunningham was visiting his secretary’s apartment when they were both supposed to be at work. When Cunningham, a 28-year veteran of the department, was let go, he was making $115,000 annually.

Sources: The New York Daily News, The Wall Street Journal

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11California Supreme Court Says Cities Can Ban Pot Dispensaries

The Supreme Court of California ruled this week that cities in the state can ban marijuana dispensaries.

The ruling comes 17 years after California became the first state to legalize the medical use of marijuana. The court decided that local governments are allowed to regulate land use and that exercising that sort of authority does not conflict with a resident’s right to possesses marijuana.

Although California residents are protected from arrest for possessing marijuana, Justice Marvin Baxter said that does not give them a “right of convenient access.” More than 200 local governments currently prohibit dispensaries within their borders. This ruling could cause more cities to enact similar bans.

According to Amanda Reiman of the Drug Policy Alliance, the current system "leaves a lot of patients without access.” She added, “We hope this (ruling) will be a sign to the state that it's time to pass medical marijuana regulation."

Whether the state will attempt to establish an agency to enact statewide rules about marijuana remains to be seen. It’s also possible that many cities will simply choose not to deal with dispensaries altogether because of the legal headaches involved with them.

"Only cities as liberal as Los Angeles will attempt to regulate," said Los Angeles Special Assistant City Atty. Jane Usher. "Unless you are a city that enjoys being in the litigation business, I think bans will become the order of the day."

The ban case reached the state Supreme Court after a medical marijuana collective in Riverside, Calif., challenged the city's ban, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The ruling is another major blow to medical marijuana supporters. In 2008, the state court ruled that employers have the right to fire workers who tested positive for marijuana that they had used for medical reasons outside the workplace.

Sources: San Francisco Chronicle, The LA Times

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