Sunday, April 14, 2013

Leis v. Flynt case brief

Leis v. Flynt case brief summary
439 U.S. 438 (1979)

Petitioners, state judges and prosecutor, sought review of the judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit which upheld an injunction in favor of respondents, magazine and publisher, forbidding further prosecution of respondents until their attorneys were tendered a hearing on their application to appear pro hac vice, contending that the lawyers had no XIV Amendment due process right to appear pro hac vice.

OVERVIEW: Respondents, magazine and publisher, were indicted on charges of disseminating material harmful to minors in violation of Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 2907.31 (1975). Their attorneys, who were not licensed to practice in Ohio under Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 4705.01 (1977), sought to appear pro hac vice, but their application was denied. They filed a federal action to enjoin further prosecution until petitioners, state judges and prosecutor, permitted a hearing on the contested pro hac vice application. The district court granted the injunction and the court of appeals affirmed, ruling that the lawyers' interest in representing respondents was constitutionally protected.

On appeal, the court granted the petition for certiorari and reversed the judgment granting the injunction, holding that respondents' lawyers possessed no cognizable property interest within U.S. Const. amend. XIV because the constitution itself did not create property interests, but only extended procedural safeguards to interests stemming from independent sources, and there was no state or federal right for out of state attorneys to appear before the bar of the state.

OUTCOME: The court reversed the judgment upholding the injunction against petitioners, state judges and prosecutor, and in favor of respondents, magazine and publisher, holding that the right of an out-of-state lawyer to appear pro hac vice in an Ohio court was not an interest protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

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