States brief ~ CA Supreme Court rules workplace sex can harass other employees

[JURIST] Leading Monday's states brief, the California Supreme Court ruled [PDF text] today that a boss's sexual affairs with subordinates may result in the sexual harassment of other employees in violation of the state's Fair Employment and Housing Act [PDF text]. In the case, two former state prison employees alleged that the warden was having affairs with several women who were treated in a favored manner. The Supreme Court stated that when such sexual favoritism is widespread it may constitute a hostile work environment. The decision reversed the Court of Appeals, which had affirmed the lower courts grant of summary judgment in favor of the Defendants. AP has more.

In other state legal news ...

  • The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled [PDF text] Monday that man's right to a fair trial was not violated during the prosecutor's closing arguments in which the prosecutor said the defendant deserved to die for his involvement in a car crash which killed three people. The opinion stated that the comment "improperly appealed to jurors' passions and emotions," but did not require a new trial. An appeals court had ordered a new trial [opinion, PDFt] after finding the comment to be an improper appeal to jurors' emotions. AP has more.

  • The Texas House of Representatives has passed legislation banning the government's use of eminent domain for private economic-development projects. The bill [text] prohibits state and local governments as well as the corporations created by them from condemning land for economic-development, if it aids a private party or "is for a public use that is merely a pretext to confer a private benefit on a particular private party." The legislation was passed in response to the recent US Supreme Court decision in Kelo v. New London [JURIST report]. The House has already passed a constitutional ban [text] on such use of eminent domain that is currently being debated in the Senate. Texas's Dallas Morning News has local coverage.

  • Effective Monday, Illinois police departments will be required to record all interrogations in homicide cases. The requirement is meant to ensure that police do not obtain false confessions through torture or promises of leniency, and will also allow jurors to see the interrogations. Steven Drizin, the legal director of Northwestern University's Center for Wrongful Convictions [center website], called the requirement "one of the most important safeguards in the criminal justice system in the last 40 years." The law was enacted in 2003 and makes Illinois the third state with such a requirement. The Chicago Sun-Times has local coverage.

 

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