The Circuit: The Blog for Legal and Court Technology

A Forfeiture of Rights: For-Life Ankle Monitoring Upheld by the 7th Circuit

Is legal punishment meant to deter future bad behaviors, punish the bad actor, or rehabilitate the bad actor?  Every law student in his or her first week of law school is posed that question, although it seems that no law professor can give a straight answer.  In an interesting, and maybe even surprising, decision, the 7th muddied the waters even further.


In Belleau v. Wall, Michael Belleau challenged the constitutionality of his Wisconsin sentence requiring him as a civilly committed sex-offender to wear an ankle monitoring device after his release in addition to registering as a sex-offender.  The federal district court ruled that this was an invasion of Belleau’s privacy.  Wisconsin appealed that decision to the 7th Circuit.  The 7th Circuit overruled the district court’s decision holding that the burden on privacy is balanced against the gain to society as the test for such a monitoring program to stand.  The Court reasoned that Belleau’s own actions had already severely curtailed” his privacy; thus, the requirement of the ankle monitor was not unduly burdensome.


For more information, click here.

LegalTech New York 2015—An Exhibition of the Latest in Legal Technology

Last week New York City hosted LegalTech New York 2015, an exhibition of legal technology. The exhibition featured over 100 exhibitors of legal technology products for law firms. For highlights of key products and descriptions of how many of the new and updated products will impact the future of legal practice and legal technology, visit

California Lawmaker Proposes Warrant Requirement for Digital Data Access

This week a California lawmaker is set to introduce a bill, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (CalECPA), that, if passed, would provide warrant protection for electronic communications, location information, and metadata. This bill would extend digital privacy rights for Californians, and if passed, California would join 15 other states that have passed similar measures. To read more about the proposed bill, visit

2014 E-Discovery Year in Review

Though management and discovery of electronic information continued to pose challenges for the legal community in 2014, courts continued “to endorse the use of technology to improve the efficiency and accuracy of document review management.” Among the many court holdings of 2014 were that litigation hold notices were possibly discoverable, failure to comply with electronic evidence preservation obligations may result in sanctions, and that text messages and social media were discoverable information that must be preserved. For more information on these topics, see

The Internet of Things and Its Impact on Legal Proceedings

This article explores how the so-called “Internet of Things” is going to revolutionize future litigation, most notably through the process of e-discovery and evidence presentation. The “Internet of Things” or IoT refers to the integration of web-connected devices into our daily lives. Through our electronics, we (and others who seek to obtain information about us) can track a vast array of information regarding our whereabouts, routines, preferences and communications. From a legal perspective, this has blown open an entire new wealth of information on potential parties and witnesses to law suits. For example, defendants in a criminal trial may be convicted or saved based on GPS data from their iPhones or other trackable devices. The information we can obtain from IoT can similarly further civil litigation proceedings and the process of e-discovery as well. For more information visit!/article/1731952994.

The Implications of the “Uberization” of Legal Services

As freelance based services such as Uber arise in markets like taxi-driving and renting rooms, traditional law firms and legal professionals are starting to become concerned with encroachment on their own territory.  So called “NewLaw” providers are springing up, creating broad implications for both individuals (law students and new practitioners) as well as established institutions.  Combine this with the new global ease of access, and this may be the beginning of a new paradigm in the practice of law.  You can read more at:

McGlothlin Courtroom in Classroom Mode

CLCT  produced a brief eight-minute video explaining how to operate the technology in the McGlothlin Courtroom in classroom mode. Intended primarily as a training tool for William & Mary Law School faculty, staff, and graduate students, the video also serves as an overview of the extraordinary range of advanced multimedia tools available in the world’s most advanced courtroom and classroom.

Click here to read a plain text transcript of the classroom mode video.

DC Circuit Court of Appeals Hears Challenge to NSA’s Metadata Collection Program

Earlier this month, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in a case regarding the NSA’s collection of telephone metdata. The appeal stems from last year’s lower court decision in Klayman et al. v. Obama et al., which ordered the NSA to stop its collection program and destroy any data collected as a result of this program. For more information on the case, see

Public Disclosure Requests Threaten to Shut Down Plan to Equip Seattle Police with Body Cameras

Seattle is about to launch a pilot program outfitting 12 officers with body cameras, a first step in a plan designed to equip more than 1,000 officers with cameras by 2016. However, that program might be in jeopardy due to broad reaching public-disclosure requests. These requests would have a significant financial and labor impact on the city, enough so that they could lead the city to shut down the program before it ever gets off the ground. For more information, see the full story in The Seattle Times (

Stricter Requirements on “Stingray” Use by Police

Police in Pierce County, Washington have long been using authorized pen registers as a legal basis for using a cell-site simulator known as a Stingray, unbeknownst to the judges authorizing those pen registers. Rather than using the registers to require cellphone companies to turn over an individual’s phone records, police are using the Stingray to collect that information themselves. However, one concern related to the use of the Stringray is that it picks up more than the target’s information. In tracking a suspect’s cellphone, it also picks up cellphone data from innocent third parties who happen to be nearby. Since information about the use of the Stingray came to light, judges in Pierce County have changed the way things are done, now requiring police to ask for specific permission to use the Stingray. For more information, see the full story in The News Tribune (