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

January 2013 Archives

Officer's Qualified Immunity Doesn't Stop at the County Line

Amber Maughon allegedly got into a physical altercation with her ex-husband’s new girlfriend at her son’s baseball game. The girlfriend reported the incident to Officer Kevin Fuller of the Covington Police Department in Newton County. The victim’s statements corroborated by the scratches observed on her person as well as two witnesses’ accounts.

Fuller intended to obtain a warrant and arrest Maughon the following day. However, Georgia State Trooper Cal Burton (a friend of the victim), who was stationed in neighboring Walton County, contacted Maughon later that evening to relay that he had information on the case. After consulting with dispatchers and authorities in both counties, and discussing the matter with his supervisor, Maughon met an officer from Walton County at Maughon’s house to proceed with the arrest.

Aggravating Factors Don't Need to Be Charged in the Capital Case Indictment

Norman Mearle Grim, Jr. was convicted of first-degree murder and sexual battery of a woman and a jury unanimously recommended death. The court approved the jurors’ recommendation, finding that the State had proven three aggravating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt and that those circumstances outweighed any mitigating factors.

Grim exhausted all of his state remedies on direct appeal and collateral attack, to no avail. His petition for habeas corpus was denied, though he was issued a certificate of appealability to determine the following issues:

11th Circuit, Like Many 1Ls, Runs to Black's To Understand USSC Guidelines

Erica Hall worked in a health care office in Florida. Though her day job was as an office assistant, her side gig was stealing identifying information and passing that on to her lovely coconspirators. For her valiant efforts, she was to receive $200 per identifying information stolen and $1,000 if the information was successfully used to create a fraudulent account.

Alas, there is no honor amongst thieves. She only received $200 total, despite passing along an estimated 141 individuals’ information, 12 of which ended up being used for malicious purposes.

Battle of Atlanta Passes Through 11th With a Whimper, Twombly Citing

Unless you are from the ATL, you probably haven't heard of the Battle of Atlanta. Two parties, armed with pro bono lawyers from BigLaw firms, have battled for decades over the homeless. Earlier this week, the Eleventh Circuit may have ended the federal dispute by affirming summary judgment.

Before we get to the case, you need to know about the history of homelessness in Atlanta. According to the ABA Journal, the city of Atlanta has torn down nearly 4,700 public housing units, engaged in sweeps to arrest the homeless for trespassing, and now has set their sights on the Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless, a facility that houses between 500 and 700 men each night.

11th Circuit: Defendant May Be Sentenced Without Indictment

James McIntosh was sentenced to 120 months, the mandatory minimum sentence for his convictions on a drug-trafficking charge and a weapons charge. Due to a technical error in the original indictment, and a more substantial mistake by the government in handling that error, no indictment was pending against McIntosh at the time of his sentencing.

So McIntosh appealed, questioning the district court's power to sentence him at all.

According to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the district court retained the power to sentence McIntosh, and its exercise of that power did not violate any of his constitutional rights or run afoul of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

Michael Petite was arrested back in 2010 during an undercover drug bust in Florida. Both a gun and a small amount of cocaine were found in Petite's possession.

Since Petite had a number of prior convictions, the gun charge led to an enhanced sentence of 188 months under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). On appeal, Petite argued that his sentence should be reduced since his prior conviction for "simple vehicle flight" doesn't qualify as a "violent felony" under the ACCA.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals thought otherwise.