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

May 2013 Archives

Florida Battery a Violent Crime for Immigration Sentencing

The Eleventh Circuit ruled that a district court judge did not err in sentencing a defendant by applying the modified categorical approach in determining his prior crime committed was violent. By finding his crime violent, the court upheld the district court using a higher sentencing guideline under the federal statutory scheme for an illegal reentry of a deported alien.

Pedro Diaz-Calderone was sentenced to 48 months imprisonment according to the guidelines, but he argues that the guidelines should have been much lower. He argued that the crime set out by the Florida statute can be committed in a non-violent way, so his prior crime should not be considered violent either.

Court Rejects Mass Killer John Ferguson's Stay of Execution

Death Row inmate, John Errol Ferguson, one of Miami's most notorious mass murderers lost his appeal this Tuesday. Ferguson is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection as early as Tuesday evening.

Ferguson's attorney, Chris Handman, represented him in his appeal from the Florida Supreme Court decision. Handman argued that capital punishment by lethal injection to a schizophrenic is "cruel and unusual punishment." The Florida Supreme Court rejected Ferguson's arguments of incompetency.

Summary Judgment Reversed in Another Kosher Prison Meal Case

Florida has dabbled in kosher cuisine. From 2004 to 2007, seven prisons administered kosher meals to inmates under the Jewish Dietary Accommodation Program (JDAP). For unknown reasons (likely budgetary), the program was discontinued. In 2010, they tried a pilot program, though it only existed at one prison in South Florida.

Bruce Rich is an Orthodox Jew serving time at the Union Correctional Institution in Florida. He filed a claim under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), arguing that his right to practice his religion was violated because he was denied a strictly kosher diet, and seeking both injunctive relief and monetary damages. Somehow, his case was tossed via summary judgment.

11th Cir Judicial Conference: Sequester? Budget Cuts? GOLF!

Faced with the “devastating impact” of the $85 billion in sequestration cuts on the federal judiciary, the Eleventh Circuit did what any responsible circuit facing budget cuts would do:

PARTY!

O.K., that’s not a completely fair assessment of the situation, but it is certainly a valid perception of the Eleventh Circuit’s Judicial Conference, which took place recently at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa, where “Southern charm meets modern luxury.”

Case Remanded for Sentencing; 'He Did it' Isn't Good Enough

Gary Washington participated in a credit card scheme. Along with his cohorts, the group purchased stolen credit card numbers off of the internet and imprinted new cards with those numbers. They then used them or sold them to third parties.

There's not really a dispute as to his guilt - he did plead guilty, after all. What is currently in dispute is the appropriate sentence. USSG §2B1.1(b)(2) provides for the following sentencing enhancements: