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

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These are my favorite kinds of opinions, the ones that base their reasoning completely on the plain text of a statute. They're the easiest to read, easiest to understand, and they always make you wonder: how did this get all the way to the appeals court?

Florida had a voter purge in 2012, first in the primary, then in the general election. The program used DMV data to compile a big list of suspected ineligible voters, which was later whittled down from around 180,000 to 198. Ultimately, approximately 85 voters were removed. For those 85 names, the Florida Division of Elections spent $92,500 in legal fees, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Two cases. Both involve abortion protests. Both have time/place/manner restrictions via a buffer zone, keeping protestors away from their intended location. One law, content-neutral, survives. The other? We'll see.

Therein lies the lesson, municipalities -- mask your ordinances in content-neutral draperies, and they're far more likely to survive.

Gay marriage advocates aren't skipping a beat in the Eleventh Circuit, as the ACLU has filed suit on behalf of eight gay couples challenging Florida's refusal to acknowledge out-of-state gay marriages.

According to a press release, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit on Thursday, naming Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi as defendants in seeking to have the Sunshine State recognize legal same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Will this gay marriage challenge be much different than those in other circuits?

The United States is basically a two-party system. Republicans versus Democrats. Before that, there were Whigs, Federalists, and a few others, but for the most part, there has never been a true third party.

Is it tradition? Popular preference and/or apathy? Or is it a matter of ballot access?

Since the last election, we've seen lawsuit, after lawsuit, after lawsuit, most brought by the Libertarian Party, regarding access to the ballot. Today's lawsuit: fighting Alabama's odd requirements for having one's party label affixed to candidates' names.

In November of last year, we were shocked to hear that Roger Shuler, the blogger that broke the rumors of a conservative Eleventh Circuit judge's full-frontal porn past, had been jailed for exercising his free speech rights. A court found him in contempt after he refused to comply with an injunction that required him to take down posts discussing salacious rumors about Robert Riley, Jr., the son of a former two-term governor, and a lobbyist, Liberty Duke.

With powerhouses like the ACLU and the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press lining up behind him, and against the prior restraint of free speech via a sealed court case, you'd think that he'd be released by now, especially considering the "trial" on defamation already concluded.

Roger Shuler, the man behind the Legal Schnauzer blog which broke the rumors about Eleventh Circuit Judge William Pryor's alleged gay porn past, has been sitting in a jail cell for the past few weeks for violating a court order, one which many are arguing is an unconstitutional restraint on speech.

Shuler wrote a series of posts about an alleged affair between a local Republican political figure Robert Riley Jr. (the son of former two-term Alabama Gov. Bob Riley) and a lobbyist, Liberty Duke. The pair brought a libel suit against Shuler, and a local court ordered him to remove the offending posts from his website. He refused, and is now in jail on contempt charges.

Ludicrosity. Sheer and utter ludicrosity.

Amanda Cruz fiddled with her seatbelt at a stoplight, placing the shoulder strap behind her body, and neglecting to return it before taking off. Trooper Andy Page, ever worrisome about drivers' safety, pulled her over for the seatbelt violation, and when he ran her information through the system, a warrant for Amanda Cruz appeared.

Alleged Criminal Cruz has tattoos, light red hair, is 5'1" and was born on November 18, 1979. Cruising Cruz, showed the officer her arms and legs to prove that she had no tattoos. She also has dark brown hair, is 4'8", and as noted on her driver's license, was born on February 7, 1978.

This is not the same person! (Duh.)

They beat "youthful offenders" with broken broomstick handles. They allowed inmates to box one another, and beat them when they tried to quit or didn't use proper technique. Corrections Officers Butler, McQueen, and Griffin were all allegedly involved in the beatings, while a fourth C.O., Dawkins, sat by idly and watched.

The brutality can't be understated. At one point, after an inmate sucker punched his boxing opponent, McQueen beat the inmate with a broomstick before Griffin choked the inmate until he passed out. At least five inmates were beaten by the officers, yet even when reports were filed, they made no mention of violence involving the prisoners.

Man With Dementia Beaten Severely, Still Not Enough for 1983 Claim

The Eleventh Circuit agreed with the court in a case that ruled against a 67-year-old man sufferning from dementia, granting the defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The issue in the case was whether or not the defendant’s were subjectively aware of a substantial risk of serious harm to the plaintiff, which the district court found that they were not. Plaintiff’s complaint had failed to allege that the Sheriff Department custom or policy was actually the cause of plaintiff’s injuries.

Bruce Goodman, who suffered from a stroke and began showing signs of dementia, was arrested when he tried to enter a house that wasn’t his. He was also arrested nine months later after being confused on a night walk and entered a trailer, again not his.

11th Cir: 100 Marijuana Plants, But Search Still Illegal

Despite the defendant being convicted of growing more than 100 marijuana plants at a warehouse in Deerfield, the Court held that the search that led up to it was not valid, and that this evidence should therefore be suppressed.

Valerio first became under suspicion during an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in July 2011, after he was seen making a purchase at Green Touch Hydroponics -- which was likely to be used in growing marijuana. Valerio was spotted back at Green Touch a couple weeks later, and agents followed him out and behind his car, as well.