We wrapped up the firm’s first 9th Circuit oral argument on Friday. If you want to watch, take look here.

Our claims center around a pre-trial civil detainee at Washington’s Special Commitment Center who faces arbitrary restrictions on his constitutional rights, particularly his First Amendment rights. If he were a convicted prisoner doing time, he would have less restrictions and, more importantly, less arbitrary restrictions on those rights. Because he is not yet had a trial and is not a prisoner, he is in purgatory. And purgatory cannot be worse than Hell. Jones v. Blanas, 393 F.3d 918, 933 (9th Cir. 2004).

Appellate work is work for nerds (we mean that in a good way). Briefing and oral arguments allow narrow, and sometimes not-so-narrow, issues to be worked out. A healthy background of caselaw helps to give trial judges guidance on specific issues that can make trials and litigation much more streamlined. Plus, it’s just fun. It’s rare to be able to get into technical legal issues during the average case.

For now, we are awaiting a decision in our case. We’re hopeful the court will return a positive decision to give Washington’s Special Commitment Center guidance on how to handle the rights of their detainees and to make clear that they cannot make capricious decisions regarding constitutional rights.

If you need help with a difficult case or have an appellate issue you would like to discuss, call us at 208-741-5024 or email at info@baldaufmasser.com.