U.S. First Circuit

U.S. First Circuit - The FindLaw 1st Circuit Court of Appeals News and Information Blog

Terry stops allow a police officer to briefly detain someone if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the suspect is, or was recently, involved in criminality. An officer can conduct a Terry frisk if he has reason to believe the suspect is armed and dangerous.

The purpose of a Terry stop is to confirm or deny the officer's reasonable suspicion. Against that backdrop comes United States v. Arthur. Two black men wearing dark clothing robbed a Metro PCS store in Maine. Police responded to the silent alarm and attempted to find the culprits. About five minutes after the robbery, police found two black men wearing pea coats walking away from the scene. On their way, they saw no one else matching the suspects' description.

Thomas Locke was in quite a catch-22. Locke, an employee at Logan International Airport in Boston, was given one more chance to be good after he was found stealing soda, beer, sandwiches, soap, and toilet paper from airplanes. He couldn't, however, because his employer, US Airways, refused to issue him a new badge, his old badge having been lost during the investigation.

Locke sued, alleging that the airline acted in bad faith by preventing him from returning to work, as he couldn't even go to his job without a security badge. The district court granted summary judgment to U.S. Airways and the First Circuit affirmed.

What counts as a "success on the merits" for purposes of attorney fee-shifting in an ERISA claim? Diahann Gross' employer, Sun Life Insurance, denied her disability leave claim for numbness and fibromyalgia. In an earlier appeal, the First Circuit said that Sun Life's insurance plan contained an incorrect standard for evaluating disability claims. The court remanded to the insurance plan's administrator for further review.

In this appeal, Gross is asking for attorneys fees. Sun Life says she's not entitled to them -- at least at this point -- because she hasn't succeeded at anything yet. The First Circuit agreed with Gross, 2-1.

The First Circuit is making moves into the 21st Century as it is updating the mechanics for accepting filing fees.

Read on as we give you an outline on everything you need to know about the new filing requirements.

Trying to get access to motions and court orders in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's trial for allegedly committing the Boston Marathon bombing is not easy because most of the documents are sealed. But, there are a few documents that the public has access to.

After reviewing these court papers and related news accounts, our first reaction is this: you just can't make this stuff up. The flurry of motions must be keeping Judge O'Toole busy, and the trial, though not scheduled to start until November, already has the makings of a television drama.

Slocking. It's nothing new. Rappers Kool G and Tupac referenced padlocks in socks years ago. And if softcore adult films on Netflix are your cultural reference points of choice, [spoiler alert] Red got slocked by Vee in the penultimate episode of the second season of "Orange is the New Black."

Take a prison-issued padlock. Put it in a sock. Beat your fellow prisoners. It's ingenious and not altogether unheard of. And that's these two prisoners' point: Why are prisons still handing out padlocks? The two slocking victims argue that ignoring the obvious problem is tantamount to cruel and unusual punishment.

A little more than a month after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down a Massachusetts abortion buffer-zone law, Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick signed a new law limiting protests outside of abortion clinics.

No sooner than the law was signed, opponents and Archbishop of Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley spoke out against it.

Here's what you need to know about the new law, and what lawmakers have to say about it:

Robert George was a criminal lawyer turned criminal lawyer. At a Dunkin' Donuts one day (this was Boston, after all), he happened to run into an ex-felon whom he once represented, Ronald Dardinski. Dardinski had gone to prison after pleading guilty in a scam in which he "sold" repossessed cars that weren't his, then kept $750,000 from unwitting victims.

George had initially represented Dardinski, but Dardinski found a different lawyer. George casually asked what happened with the money. Dardinski replied that he had "a bunch of it hidden." Then George -- a lawyer, mind you -- offered to launder the money for him. Dardinski agreed, and then contacted a DEA agent for whom he had been an informant in the past. George started laundering the money, Dardinski recorded all their conversations, yadda yadda yadda, and now George is in federal prison for money laundering and conspiracy.

George appealed his conviction to the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed his conviction in a very entertaining opinion.

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Residents of Massachusetts might remember that in October 2011, a surprise "nor'easter" swept across New England, downing power lines, closing roads, and -- most importantly -- depriving cable customers of "Sopranos" reruns. A scant month later, four plaintiffs filed a suit in state court against Charter Communications, their cable company, because their cable service was down for nine days.

Charter removed the case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act, then moved to dismiss on the grounds that the plaintiffs' case was moot, as they had already received a credit on their bill for the time the service was down. The district court granted Charter's motion to dismiss.

Last week, in Cooper v. Charter Communications, the First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed class certification, but reversed the district court's motion to dismiss.

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The trial of Azamat Tazhayakov, better known as one of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's friends, began earlier this month, and a mere two weeks later, the jury has deliberated and found him guilty.

Let's take a closer look at the details surround the criminal trial.