Governmental Invasion of Privacy: Warrantless Cellphone Tracking

Author: Maxel Moreland, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

Cell phone use is now an essential part of daily life. Individuals use cell phones for entertainment, business, and as their main source of communication. The Stored Communications Act (“SCA”) allows a court to issue an order compelling third-parties to disclose stored electronic records to the government so long as the government reasonably believes that the records are relevant to a criminal investigation.[1] However, the standard for securing a traditional warrant—probable cause—is markedly higher than the SCA’s reasonable belief standard. Continue reading “Governmental Invasion of Privacy: Warrantless Cellphone Tracking”

 Deflated Again: The Court Got It Wrong in “Deflategate”

Author: Gabriel Fletcher, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) of 2011, the National Football League (NFL) Commissioner, Roger Goodell, has the power to punish players for conduct detrimental to the integrity of the game of professional football. The NFL accused Tom Brady, the quarterback of the New England Patriots, of being generally aware that his team’s equipment staff engaged in deflating footballs below the NFL’s specified football inflation range. The deflated footballs were said to give Brady and the Patriots a competitive advantage because deflated footballs are “easier to catch, grip, and throw;” particularly in inclement weather.[1] Continue reading ” Deflated Again: The Court Got It Wrong in “Deflategate””

Limits on Judicial Elections: A Thing of the Past?

Author: Andrea Flaute, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

From basic speech restrictions to an outright prohibition on personally solicited campaign funds, judicial candidates, prior to the decisions in Republican Party of Minnesota v. White and Williams-Yulee v. Florida Bar, lacked the basic leeway given to every other candidate to control their campaign.[1] In the wake of White, candidates in judicial elections are now permitted to speak freely about disputed legal and political issues.[2] However, the Supreme Court decision in Williams-Yulee maintained that those same judicial candidates are still barred from personally soliciting campaign funding.[3] Continue reading “Limits on Judicial Elections: A Thing of the Past?”

Defining Lawful Activity in a State Employee Lifestyle Anti-Discrimination Statute

Author: Stephanie Scott, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

With many states legalizing marijuana for both medical and recreational use, employers have been faced with the difficult question of whether they can fire an employee for legally engaging in marijuana use. Employers generally have the right to fire employees for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all.  However, many states, including Colorado, have passed lawful activity statutes conferring broad protection to its citizens from termination. Colorado also passed a state-constitutional amendment (Amendment) allowing citizens to engage in medical marijuana use, in contradiction with federal law, and its citizens have relied on that protection.[1] Continue reading “Defining Lawful Activity in a State Employee Lifestyle Anti-Discrimination Statute”

Criminalization of HIV in Ohio

Author: Jordie Bacon, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.1 million Americans are living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).[1] In Ohio alone, there are 19,352 people who have been diagnosed with HIV.[2] In response to the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Crisis of the 1980s, many states enacted HIV criminalization statutes as a public health precaution.[3] Proponents of criminalizing HIV non-disclosure argue that it deters transmission between those who know they are infected and any sexual or drug use partner, Continue reading “Criminalization of HIV in Ohio”

The FTC and Cybersecurity: Unfair Business Practices or Unfair Business Expectations

Author: Brooke Logsdon, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

National Cybersecurity, or the lack thereof, has frequently been front and center in our national news these days. Despite the recent increase of cyber-attacks on corporate entities such as Target, Ashley Madison, and Anthem,[1] Congress has yet to pass an adequate cybersecurity bill that would protect our government, our infrastructure, and our private sector from cybersecurity attacks.[2] When Wyndham Hotels fell victim to cyber-attacks in 2008, it decided to fight the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) authority to declare business practices “unfair.” Continue reading “The FTC and Cybersecurity: Unfair Business Practices or Unfair Business Expectations”

Ohio’s Marijuana Oligopoly Concerns

Author: Maxel Moreland, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

This November, Ohioans will have the opportunity to vote on Issue Three, a proposed state constitutional amendment legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Ohio would only be the fifth state to legalize recreational marijuana and the first Midwestern state to do so. Potential marijuana producers, processors, and retail storeowners have the opportunity to mold this emerging market, but Issue Three limits the number of marijuana producers. Continue reading “Ohio’s Marijuana Oligopoly Concerns”

A Real Life Monty Brewster: Can You Spend $30 Million To Escape From the IRS?

Author: Dan Stroh, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

A current circuit split poses an imperative question: Can a hypothetical multi-millionaire, like Monty Brewster, spend his millions frivolously without fear of a tax penalty following him through bankruptcy?[1] The United States Bankruptcy Code generally allows debtors to discharge all debts arising prior to filing of bankruptcy.[2] One exception to this general rule prohibits a debtor from discharging any tax debt “with respect to which the debtor made a fraudulent return or willfully attempted in any manner to evade or defeat such tax.”[3] However, the Ninth and Tenth Circuits disagree on the debtor’s degree of culpability required to deny a discharge of indebtedness under this exception.[4] Continue reading “A Real Life Monty Brewster: Can You Spend $30 Million To Escape From the IRS?”

“Admitting Privileges” Requirements for Abortion Providers Possibly Up for Review by the Supreme Court

Author: Rebecca Dussich, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

Since the Supreme Court’s decision granting women the constitutionally protected right to seek and obtain abortions in Roe v. Wade,[1] various individuals, organizations, and government bodies have pushed back against the ruling through legislation and additional lawsuits. Although many of these attempts have been successful, a recent Fifth Circuit decision, Currier v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, may signal an impending shift in the battle to maintain access to reproductive rights across the country.[2] Although the decision in this case is explicitly narrow, affirmance by the Supreme Court could establish a standard in which laws that totally eliminate all clinics within the borders of a state violate Roe by abdicating a state’s constitutional responsibilities to another, neighboring state.[3] By reinforcing constitutional rights that have been weakened over time, such a change could represent a tremendous leap forward for women’s rights across the country. The Court is expected to decide on the appellant’s petition for certiorari soon and should review and affirm the lower court decision, affirming once again that reproductive care is not merely a convenience but a constitutionally protected right. Continue reading ““Admitting Privileges” Requirements for Abortion Providers Possibly Up for Review by the Supreme Court”

Defining “Public Disclosure” Under The False Claims Act: How Loud Must The Whistle Be Blown?

Author: Collin L. Ryan, Associate Member, University of Cincinnati Law Review

The term “whistleblower,” in general, refers to someone who informs on another’s illegal activities. The False Claims Act (FCA), for example, is one of several federal statutes that encourage individuals to disclose to the government their knowledge of another’s illegal activities, i.e., to blow the proverbial whistle.[1] Under the FCA, private individuals can receive large sums of money for blowing the whistle on fraud committed against the government. But once a whistle is blown, the FCA’s “public disclosure bar” prevents subsequent whistleblowers from obtaining rewards for the previously-disclosed fraud.[2] The issue, therefore, is in what manner must the whistle be blown in order for the FCA’s public disclosure bar to go into effect. For a majority of circuit courts that have addressed the issue, the public disclosure bar is not triggered unless the whistle is blown loud enough for the general public to hear it.[3] The Seventh Circuit, however, holds the whistle needs to be blown only loud enough for it to reach the ears of “a competent government official,” regardless of whether the public hears it.[4] Because the Seventh Circuit’s interpretation aligns more with the purpose of the FCA’s whistleblowing provision, it is more persuasive and should be followed by other courts.

Continue reading “Defining “Public Disclosure” Under The False Claims Act: How Loud Must The Whistle Be Blown?”