Transgender Texas Wrestling Star Raises Difficult Questions Over Competition Rules For Students On Steriods

Transgender Texas Wrestling Star Raises Difficult Questions Over Competition Rules For Students On Steriods

by jonathanturley

JONATHAN TURLEY / 2017-02-28 01:11

There is an ongoing controversy over the new wrestling champion of Euless Trinity High School, Mack Beggs, 17. Beggs was born a girl but is now a transgender boy taking testosterone as part of his treatment. However, the UIL Wrestling State Tournament officials decided that Beggs would still compete as a girl despite the fact that he is taking steroids that have bulked him up in a way that would be normally a banning offense.

Beggs is 110 pounds and has been met by some boos by those who view the decision as unfair to the girls who have to play against someone who has added considerable muscle through doses of testosterone. The decision however was not Beggs but the state’s governing body which requires him to compete as a girl. The result is a lawsuit seeking to ban Beggs from competition as a girl next year.

The more than 600 Texas school district superintendents voted last year to determine gender by birth certificate — a decision that contradicts NCAA policy and International Olympic Committee guidelines.

The decision on how to handle transgender athletes has presented difficult issues for schools. It seems that the one clearly wrong answer is to force girls to compete against a player who is taking steroids and bulking up as a transition to a male. This seems pretty unfair to the female competitors. That leaves a couple of choices. One would be to require competition as a boy in such cases. However, there is also the questions raised when a boy transitions as a girl and thus has more physical muscle mass. Likewise, you could prevent any students from competing while taking steroids for any purpose or at least high levels of steroids. Yet, such exclusion rules can make will make if clearly more difficult for transgender students who are seeking to participate in sports and clubs as part of their new identity.

What do you think?

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Federal Court Tells ATF It Can’t Just Help Itself To Cell Phone Data Seized By Another Law Enforcement Agency

Federal Court Tells ATF It Can’t Just Help Itself To Cell Phone Data Seized By Another Law Enforcement Agency

by Tim Cushing

Techdirt. / 2017-02-27 11:36

The good news is the Supreme Court’s Riley decision forces law enforcement to obtain warrants before searching cell phones. The bad news, apparently, is everything else. To begin with, particularity remains a problem. As the Supreme Court pointed out in its decision, people’s entire lives are contained in their cell phones. When searching for what’s relevant to the suspected criminal activity, the government is pretty much free to dig through these "lives" to uncover what it needs to move forward with prosecution.

The lack of strict parameters (perhaps an impossibility given the nature of digital communications/data) leads to fishing expeditions operating under the cover of Fourth Amendment adherence. There’s no way to prevent trolling for evidence of unrelated criminal activity. The only recourse is to challenge it after it happens. Sometimes the courts find the government has gone too far. Other times, courts say the evidence would have been "inevitably discovered" in the course of the search and prevent it from being suppressed.

Then there are decisions like the one reached by a federal court in South Dakota — one that says just because one law enforcement agency deployed a warrant to image the contents of a cell phone doesn’t mean other law enforcement agencies can take a look at it without obtaining a warrant of their own.

Volokh Conspiracy’s Orin Kerr snagged the decision and added some brief analysis. A cell phone seized by local police was also apparently of interest to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), which was running its own investigation on the same subject. The local cops were looking for counterfeiting evidence, while the ATF was interested in firearms-related evidence.

The locals obtained a warrant and imaged the phone’s contents. In the course of its investigation, the ATF pulled up the suspect’s file and noticed the recent arrest and seizure of the suspect’s cell phone. The Huron (SD) police department helpfully informed the ATF that it had a copy of the cell phone’s contents that the ATF could take a look at. The ATF accepted the offer, but did not perform the crucial step of obtaining a warrant. That misstep cost the ATF its evidence.

According to the government, all evidence seized — even if unrelated to the investigation at hand — should be accessible to any law enforcement agency without obtaining another warrant. Because teamwork. The court disagrees [PDF], pointing out that the government’s asking the court to grant it an open-ended fishing license for all electronic devices seized with a warrant:

The government argues that this conclusion is “impractical and is contrary to the nature of police investigations and collaborative law enforcement among different agencies.” The government’s position, however, overlooks the ultimate touchstone of the Fourth Amendment: reasonableness. Riley, 134 S. Ct. at 2482.

According to the government, law enforcement agencies can permanently save all unresponsive data collected from a cell phone after a search for future prosecutions on unrelated charges. If the government’s argument is taken to its natural conclusion, then this opens the door to pretextual searches of a person’s cell phone for evidence of other crimes. Under the government’s view, law enforcement officers could get a warrant to search an individual’s cell phone for minor infractions and then use the data to prosecute felony crimes. No limit would be placed on the government’s use or retention of unresponsive cell phone data collected under a valid warrant.

The court also disagrees with the government’s plain view defense. In order for the "plain view" exception to work, there has to be justification for the "view" itself. In this case, the ATF had no justification for viewing the contents of a cell phone seized by another agency for an unrelated investigation.

The government also argued that the exclusionary rule shouldn’t be applied to the evidence it obtained without a warrant. The court again disagrees, pointing out that the government will suffer minimally from the exclusion of evidence it apparently wasn’t planning to introduce anyway. In addition, a failure to enforce the exclusionary rule in cases like these would just result in more governmental fishing trips.

Here, the cost of applying the exclusionary rule is minimized because the evidence is peripheral in nature and not directly related to the firearms offense. The government’s actions also suggest the evidence is not necessary for a conviction. Prior to Agent Fair’s search of the iPhone data, the government was ready to proceed with trial on January 3, 2017. Minutes before voir dire, the parties addressed a late discovery issue, and the court granted a continuance. If the issue had not come before the court, the government would have tried its case, and the iPhone data would not have been used.

In contrast, the benefits of applying the exclusionary rule in this case are clear. If the exclusionary rule is not applied, law enforcement agencies will have carte blanche authority to obtain a warrant for all data on a cell phone, keep the unresponsive data forever, and then later use the data for criminal prosecutions on unrelated charges—erasing the protections specifically contemplated in Riley.

All well and good as far as it goes for upholding Fourth Amendment protections, but as Orin Kerr points out, the court seems to be balancing the government’s losses against the plaintiff’s rights before arriving at this conclusion.

As I have written before, I don’t think it works to do this kind of case-by-case cost/benefit balancing when applying exclusionary rule precedents. But if the evidence isn’t important, the government isn’t going to file an appeal of the decision granting the motion to suppress. This decision is likely the end of the road in terms of judicial review of the Fourth Amendment issue.

They don’t call the exclusionary rule a RULE for no reason. When rights are violated, exclusion is the proper remedy. Whether or not it damages the government’s prosecution should be a distant secondary concern.

D.Alaska: Handcuffing def to take to FBI office for interview an arrest, no matter what the policy says

D.Alaska: Handcuffing def to take to FBI office for interview an arrest, no matter what the policy says

by Hall

Fourth Amendment / 2017-02-25 11:00

Handcuffing the defendant and transporting him to the FBI office was an arrest under Kaupp v. Texas. The fact that’s policy is irrelevant. “The fact that it is FBI policy to handcuff defendants being transported in FBI vehicles is irrelevant. Kaupp, 538 U.S. at 632. The test for whether, and to what extent, a defendant has been seized under a Fourth Amendment analysis is objective. See Michigan v. Chesternut, 486 U.S. 567, 574, 108 S. Ct. 1975, 100 L. Ed. 2d 565 (1988). The Fourth Amendment does not bend to ‘law enforcement practices—even practices set by rule.
Virginia v. Moore, 553 U.S. 164, 172, 128 S. Ct. 1598, 170 L. Ed. 2d 559 (2008).” United States v. Saelee, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22867 (D. Alaska Feb. 15, 2017).

Teens were bored so they built a backyard roller coaster

Teens were bored so they built a backyard roller coaster

by Carla Sinclair

Boing Boing / 2017-02-24 13:22

When two Wisconsin high school boys – sophomore JT Nejedlo and freshman Aidan Deaven – found themselves bored one summer, they decided to build a backyard roller coaster.

"We decided to build a roller coaster because it would be fun," said JT Needle.

As you can imagine, it was easier said than done. But with a dad who used to be a physics professor, they were given the green light to try, and try, and try.

In fact, they tried for a few years – and finally succeeded. Although classmates teased them about it and teachers were skeptical, the boys – Nejedlo now a freshman at the University of Wisconsin and Deaven set to go there in the fall – recently finished their project with an awesome-looking coaster. They were honored by the school board on Tuesday. Sometimes boredom ain’t such a bad thing.

Read the full story here.

Bye Bye, French Bread & Pasta—There’s a Fungal Outbreak Killing Europe’s Wheat Crops « Invisiverse

https://img.invisiverse.com/img/53/18/63623476011361/0/bye-bye-french-bread-pasta-theres-fungal-outbreak-killing-europes-wheat-crops.1280x600.jpg

Bye Bye, French Bread & Pasta—There’s a Fungal Outbreak Killing Europe’s Wheat Crops

We may not fully appreciate all the important roles wheat plays in our lives until it’s gone—or at least, when it’s in very short supply. What would a world be like without bread, cakes, cereal, pasta, or wheat beer? If the dire warnings about an impending stem rust fungus come to pass, we may know all too soon. When a massive wheat stem rust infection broke out in Sicily between April and June 2016, farmers and scientists immediately became worried that spores would spread the infection to ot…

https://www.invisiverse.com/news/bye-bye-french-bread-pasta-theres-fungal-outbreak-killing-europes-wheat-crops-0176240/