U.S. Eleventh Circuit

U.S. Eleventh Circuit - The FindLaw 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


Last year, denizens of the Eleventh Circuit were shocked to learn that U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller had been charged with battery after his wife made a 911 call from a hotel.

Fuller was formally charged with battery, but that was just the start of his problems. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reassigned his cases and suspended him from receiving new ones. Both of Alabama's senators called for his to step down. Now, though, at least the criminal component of this saga is over: The battery charge against him has been dismissed.

A company making USB drives discovered that honesty isn't just the best policy -- it's the only policy that the SEC likes. Following some questionable press releases and financial disclosures, the SEC investigated the company and its PR firm, then filed a civil action against them.

A jury found in favor of the SEC at trial. On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the judgment in this case of a fairly ham-handed scheme to boost stock prices by lying (and not doing it very well).

A Georgia CEO will not escape his jail sentence after being found guilty of violating the U.S. trade embargo on Iran, the Eleventh Circuit held today. Mark Alexander, who manufactured and sold industrial machines, had been found guilty of trading with Iranian businesses.

The U.S. has imposed sanctions on Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and currently forbids virtually all trade with the country. At trial, Alexander claimed the government case against him was a "scam" and that he had been pressured to sell the goods by colleagues.

The State of Indiana is getting flack for passing a "religious freedom restoration act" (RFRA) that critics say would allow businesses to legally discriminate against gays and lesbians.

Indiana joined a significant minority of states (20 with laws actually on the books) in enacting such a law, including all three states in the Eleventh Circuit. Are these states' laws significantly different?

Given the success that John Oliver's HBO show "Last Week Tonight" had influencing the net neutrality conversation, maybe the private probation system will have some luck, too.

Thanks in part to Oliver, and to the Department of Justice report on Ferguson, Missouri, the nation knows that local police departments often charge defendants fines and fees well in excess of the original fines. These fees often include making a defendant pay for his own probation, and the proceeds usually go straight to the private probation company.

A federal class action complaint in Georgia, filed last week, wants to challenge that arrangement.

In Graham v. Florida, the U.S. Supreme Court said that the Eighth Amendment didn't allow for sentencing juvenile offenders to sentences of life without parole (LWOP) for non-homicide offenses. That's all well and good, but what about "de facto LWOP" sentences of 90 years, which would, in the case of one 17-year-old offender, get him out of prison at the ripe old age of 107?

Last week, the Florida Supreme Court issued opinions in four such juvenile life sentence cases, concluding that courts can't sentence juveniles to very long prison terms for non-homicide offenses.

A routine vehicle stop in Miami became anything but routine after a police officer shot a suspect in the groin -- for no apparent reason. Det. Carl Rousseau pulled over a car and reportedly saw the passenger, Robert Valderrama, throw something out the car window that turned out to be a crack pipe.

Even though Valderrama appeared to be compliant during the stop, Rousseau shot him in the groin (refer to the Eleventh Circuit opinion for more of the grisly details). Rousseau talked about the incident for three minutes with his partner, Sgt. Yasima Smith, before Smith called an ambulance, but she said only that there was "a laceration."

Just when you thought it was safe to get a same-sex marriage in Alabama, the Alabama Supreme Court -- and not just Chief Justice Roy Moore -- issued a 148-page opinion yesterday ordering some of the state's probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

The petition for a writ of mandamus was brought by the State of Alabama, along with another probate court judge, and asked for "a clear judicial pronouncement that Alabama law prohibits the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples."

Same-sex marriage remains a thorny issue in Alabama, where on January 23, U.S. District Judge Callie V.S. Granade found Alabama's same-sex marriage prohibition unconstitutional. In response, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore went on a memoranda rampage, first opining that Granade had no authority to override Alabama state law.

In a second memo issued earlier this week, Moore flat-out ordered state probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Some judges complied with Granade's order, but many more complied with Moore's by refusing to issue any marriage licenses to anyone at all, under the guise of awaiting further guidance.

Generally, when you want to rely on amateur legal interpretations promising that you'll be "arrested" if you try and do such-and-such things, you're in the realm of some online forum or chain email from Aunt Hilda complaining about how the Obama administration is arresting people who put up Christmas decorations.

But what happens when it's actual lawyers who are making this crazy advice?