Infiltrating iPhones Will Become More Difficult
Apple Inc. will update the future version of its software to make it more difficult to gain unauthorized access to data on iPhones through the USB port.
Starting with iOS 12, the USB port on iPhones will not communicate with connected devices, unless the phone has been unlocked within the past hour.
Law enforcement personnel or others trying to gain access to iPhones will need to connect the device within an hour or revert to other means to unlock phones.
This feature is the subject of great debate. On one side, iPhone users’ data will be better protected from searches. On the other side, law enforcement officials will face greater challenges in unlocking data after tragedies, such as the San Bernardino shooting.
The software update also highlights the great debate about the future of data privacy. Should companies be allowed to create security features that allow only the owner of the data the ability to unlock it? If so, in response to court orders requiring production of information, companies could claim they lack capability to unlock the data without the user’s unique passcode.
Source: Christopher C. Shattuck, Practice Management Advisor (Practice 411™), State Bar of Wisconsin
By the Numbers
– The number of federal judicial vacancies, as of late June.
Forty-two of President Donald Trump’s appointments are confirmed, including four on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Eighty-eight of Trump’s nominees are pending, and on June 27, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement, setting the stage for another Trump appointment to the nation’s High Court and the political drama that is likely to unfold under that process.
“Kennedy’s long-rumored decision to step down July 31 will touch off a titanic battle between conservatives and liberals in the nation’s capital, on the airwaves, and in states represented by key senators whose votes will be needed to confirm his successor,” wrote USA Today’s Richard Wolf.
Wolf noted that Kennedy, 81, “has held the most important seat on the court for more than a decade” as the swing vote on many hot-button issues, including gay rights, abortion, and capital punishment.
Source: USA Today; U.S. Courts
From the Archives
Presidents’ Legacies Live
Christopher Rogers became the State Bar of Wisconsin’s 63rd president on July 1. Although the Wisconsin Bar Association was created in 1878, the integrated state bar was formed by order of the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1956, with Robert D. Johns as its first president. His predecessor, Alfred E. LaFrance, helped lay the foundation for the integrated bar, as did others before him.
In 2016-17, President Fran Deisinger laid a foundation for the State Bar’s work on Wisconsin’s disparate and mass incarceration problem. President Paul Swanson continued that effort during his 2017-18 term, resulting in policy positions to move the needle on legislative reform.
Rogers has vowed to continue work on mass and disparate incarceration. Yes, presidents come and go, but their legacies live on for decades.
On the Radar
The Third Branch and the Opioid Epidemic
America’s opioid epidemic continues, and a legal battle is brewing.
A consolidated, federal multidistrict litigation in the Cleveland-based Northern District of Ohio now includes more than 700 lawsuits by local and state governments, including almost every county in Wisconsin and Native American tribes.
According to the district’s online docket, plaintiffs allege that “the manufacturers of prescription opioids grossly misrepresented the risks of long-term use of those drugs for persons with chronic pain, and distributors failed to properly monitor suspicious orders of those prescription drugs – all of which contributed to the current opioid epidemic.”
At an initial hearing, U.S. District Judge Dan Polster said the legislative and executive branches “have punted” and now it’s up to the judiciary. He indicated his desire to reach a meaningful resolution, and fast.
“I did a little math,” Judge Polster said. “Since we're losing more than 50,000 of our citizens every year, about 150 Americans are going to die today, just today, while we're meeting.”
“People aren't interested in depositions, and discovery, and trials. People aren't interested in figuring out the answer to interesting legal questions like preemption and learned intermediary, or unravelling complicated conspiracy theories. So my objective is to do something meaningful to abate this crisis and to do it in 2018.”
Source: Wisconsin Public Radio; Reuters; The Plain Dealer
“The Gavels” are Winning World Cup-like Legal Competition
Alan Ball, a professor of history at Marquette University and a Wisconsin Supreme Court researcher, writes a blog called SCOWstats and manages the SCOWstats Fantasy League. The league is a competition between lawyers and law firms who argue cases at the state supreme court.
As of June 23, 2018, “The Gavels” – the State Public Defenders Office team – was in first place by 21 points, but “The Waivers,” a team of nine law firms, is still in a position to make a move. Ball said, “The Waivers” gained 11 points the week of June 18, with two firms picking up points for winning brief, oral argument, and amicus brief.
“You are not being realistic if you think there is no need for some kind of process to address whatever missteps may occur.”
– Chief Judge Diane Wood of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, discussing how the judges are not immune from workplace harassment claims.
Chief Judge Wood, who spoke at the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Annual Meeting and Conference in June, recently appointed a committee to review the Seventh Circuit’s policies on discrimination, harassment, and dispute resolution procedures. She said these policies have not been updated in many years.
“When you have a situation where there’s a tremendous disparity in power, … there is a risk of some abuse of that position,” Chief Judge Wood said.
Source: “The Appellate Process from the Other Side of the Bench,” State Bar of Wisconsin, 2018 Annual Meeting & Conference