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Supreme Court issues six key rulings

Criminal evidence, patents among them
Posted: 1:49 PM, Jun 20, 2016
Updated: 2016-06-20 19:51:43Z

The Supreme Court released a number of rulings from their current session on Monday, most notably issuing a stays in cases that challenged assault weapons bans in both Connecticut and New York. Below is a synopsis of six other rulings issued by the High Court on Monday.

Police Evidence
In a 5-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that crime evidence obtained illegally by police officers may still be used at trial. The ruling stems from a Salt Lake City, Utah case where police illegally stopped a man on the street and found that he was carrying meth.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that "While Officer Fackrell's decision to initiate the stop was mistaken, his conduct thereafter was lawful," according to the AP.

In her dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that the ruling could allow police officers to “violate your Fourth Amendment rights.”

Prosecuting Drug Robberies
The government can prosecute robbery of drug dealers under federal law without showing that the drugs were intended to be sold across state lines, according to a 7-1 ruling released Monday.

The ruling upheld the conviction of a Virginia man who robbed two houses in Virginia while trying to steal marijuana. He was tried under the Hobbs Act, which prohibits attempted robbery affecting interstate commerce, which he argued meant he could not be prosecuted.

Challenging Patents
The Supreme Court unanimously issued a blow to Patent Trolls on Monday, upholding a new appeals process used to cancel patents.

Patent Trolls are companies that license thousands of broad patents and collect licensing fees. Critics say these companies stifle creativity and small businesses.

The Supreme Court’s ruling upholds the cancellation of a patent for speedometer displays in cars formerly held by Cuozzo Speed Technologies, LLC.

Overtime Pay
The Department of Labor must further explain a law regarding overtime pay, and what kinds of employees must be paid overtime hours.

In a 6-2 ruling, the Supreme Court asked a lower court to look at the law and determine whether federal law required overtime pay for service advisers at autoshops.

Encino Motors, a California auto dealerships, claims that service advisers are similar to car salesmen and mechanics, who are both exempt from overtime pay.

Class-action smokers’ suit
The Supreme Court rejected to hear an appeal from a group of Illinois smokers seeking a class-action lawsuit against cigarette maker Phillip Morris.

The case stems from a 2003 suit, which awarded $10.1 blillion to hundreds of thousands of Illinois smokers who claimed Phillips Morris deceptively marketed “light” cigarettes as a healthier option. The case was overturned by the Illinois Supreme Court in 2005. Plaintiffs appealed their case in 2014, and a state appeals court again sided with the plaintiffs before the Supreme Court overruled them in November.

European Union lawsuit rejected
According to the Supreme Court, the European Union cannot pursue a lawsuit against tobacco company R.J. Reynolds in U.S. courts.

The EU was seeking to charge R.J. Reynolds with a scheme that laundered money through New York-financial institutions and sponsored cigarette-smuggling in Europe. However, the Court ruled 4-3 that the would “unjustifiably” allow European citizens to bypass legal systems in their own countries.

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.