City Wins One, Loses One in Supreme Week

It's rare for a city to be involved in one case before the U.S. Supreme Court, let alone two. By refusing to hear Long Beach-related appeals this week, justices handed the city one loss and one victory.

After serving nearly 14 years in state prison for a 1988 child rape, Leonard McSherry of Santa Monica had his conviction overturned in 2001 thanks to DNA evidence. The state compensated him $500,000, but in a lawsuit McSherry accused two Long Beach police officers of fabricating their case against him.

The Innocence Project includes the McSherry case on its website. But a federal appellate court ruled in October 2009 that he can't sue Long Beach police for allegedly fabricating the evidence against him. With the Supremes refusing to hear McSherry's case, that appellate ruling stands.

He would seem to have bigger problems to deal with: McSherry is serving a life sentence for a new child molestation case.

In the second case before the nation's highest court, it was the city that was hoping the Supremes would look at a federal appeal.

After Long Beach imposed local limits on independent campaign expenditures, the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce sued the city. Groups, usually political action committees, can raise and spend unlimited amounts as long as they are not tied to nor have contact with a particular candidate's campaign.

In May, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Chamber's PACs can receive contributions of any amount to fund their independent campaign expenditures in city elections, such as for mayor and City Council. The Supremes' failure to hear the city's case allows the appellate ruling to stand.

For more, check out this piece.

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