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

November 2009 Archives

Hunter v. Ferrell, No. 08-16597

In habeas proceedings arising from a murder and robbery prosecution, dismissal of the habeas petition as untimely is vacated where petitioner's evidence, while not sufficient to establish definitively that the filing deadline should be equitably tolled, was sufficient to raise a factual issue as to whether a causal connection existed between his mental impairment and his ability to file a timely petition.

Read Hunter v. Ferrell, No. 08-16597

Appellate Information

Filed November 18, 2009

Judges

Per Curiam

Hart v. Hodges, No. 09-12257

In an action against prosecutors and prison officials for violating plaintiff's constitutional rights by having him transferred from federal to state custody at the end of his federal sentence, judgment on the pleadings for defendants is affirmed in part where: 1) some of the alleged conduct by defendants was directly related to and intimately associated with the state trial court's sentence and their role as advocates regarding the court's sentence; and 2) the determination of absolute prosecutorial immunity depended on the nature of the function performed, not whether the prosecutor performed that function incorrectly or even with dishonesty.  However, the judgment is reversed in part where: 1) defendants were not absolutely immune for their alleged statements to the press; and 2) certain defendants were not entitled to absolute immunity for actions taken in their roles as state corrections officials.

Read Hart v. Hodges, No. 09-12257

Appellate Information

Filed November 16, 2009

Judges

Per Curiam

US v. Livesay, No. 08-14712

In a case arising from the huge accounting fraud conspiracy at HealthSouth Corporation, defendant's securities fraud sentence is vacated on appeal by the government where the purely probationary sentence imposed by the district court was patently unreasonable in light of defendant's role in the massive corporate fraud at issue. The court of appeals further rules that any sentence of probation would be unreasonable given the magnitude and seriousness of defendant's criminal conduct, and only the imposition of a meaningful period of incarceration will achieve Congressional sentencing goals.

Read US v. Livesay, No. 08-14712

Appellate Information

Filed November 16, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Dubina

Corey Airport Servs., Inc. v. DeCosta, No. 08-15845

In an action by an advertising display company claiming that defendants conspired to ensure that a competing bidder on a municipal project would be awarded the contract, even though acceptance of plaintiff's bid would have been in the best interest of the city, denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity is reversed where the Supreme Court's broad statement that the unequal application of facially neutral law with the intent to discriminate may violate the Equal Protection Clause, in and of itself, did not offer defendants fair warning that their treatment of plaintiff was unconstitutional.

Read Corey Airport Servs., Inc. v. DeCosta, No. 08-15845

Appellate Information

Filed November 16, 2009

Judges

Per Curiam

US v. Brown, No. 07-13007

Defendants' drug conspiracy convictions are affirmed where: 1) the fact that there was no evidence that defendants sold drugs to each other was not dispositive of the conspiracy issue; 2) due to the repeated nature of the transactions and the large quantities involved, a rational trier of fact could infer a corresponding conspiracy to distribute the cocaine; and 3) one defendant's prior convictions were relevant to show intent.

Read US v. Brown, No. 07-13007

Appellate Information

Filed November 10, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Alarcon

Pardo v. Sec'y., Fla. Dept. of Corr., No. 08-14053

In a capital habeas matter, the denial of petitioner's petition is affirmed where: 1) the trial court was not required to hold a sua sponte hearing on petitioner's competence to testify, because petitioner expressly declined the trial court's offer to hold a competency hearing, his attorney stipulated to his competence, and four mental health experts testified that he was competent; 2) there was no evidence submitted to the trial judge of any physical ailments suffered by petitioner which would have affected his competence; and 3) based on five experts' testimony that petitioner was competent, defense counsel made a reasonable investigation of petitioner's mental state.

Read Pardo v. Sec'y., Fla. Dept. of Corr., No. 08-14053

Appellate Information

Filed November 10, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Birch

US v. Brown, No. 08-17244

Defendant's conviction for failing to register in accordance with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) is affirmed where: 1) sex offenders with pre-SORNA convictions, like defendant, had a duty to register even if the jurisdiction in which the offense occurred had not implemented SORNA; 2) defendant's guilty plea waived his right to claim that he was physically unable to register under SORNA; and 3) defendant had adequate notice of his duty to register.

Read US v. Brown, No. 08-17244

Appellate Information

Filed November 5, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Birch

Hammond v. Hall, No. 08-11108

In a capital habeas matter, denial of the petition is affirmed where: 1) a witness's testimony about her criminal history was literally accurate; 2) it was unclear what evidence petitioner claimed was suppressed by the state; 3) the district court's finding that the prosecutor did not bully petitioner into testifying was not clear error; 4) there was no evidence that the prosecutor received exculpatory test results and hid them; and 5) certain suppressed evidence was not material, given the overwhelming evidence of petitioner's guilt.

Read Hammond v. Hall, No. 08-11108

Appellate Information

Filed November 4, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Carnes

US v. Harris, No. 08-15909

Defendant's firearm possession sentence is affirmed where a conviction for eluding the police under Section 316.1935(3)(a) of Florida's penal code qualified as a "crime of violence" for the purposes of U.S.S.G. section 2K2.1(a)(4)(A).

Read US v. Harris, No. 08-15909

Appellate Information

Filed November 3, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Marcus

Norfolk Southern Rwy. Co. v. Groves, No. 08-15418

In an action by a rail carrier against a warehouseman for penalties assessed for the undue detention of rail cars, summary judgment for defendant is affirmed where a freight re-loader cannot, without notice, be made a consignee by the unilateral action of a third party.

Read Norfolk Southern Rwy. Co. v. Groves, No. 08-15418

Appellate Information

Filed November 2, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Fay