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

July 2013 Archives

Incontinence and Incompetence: Diarrhea Leads to 3 Convictions

"The relevant question is not whether he purposefully defecated his pants, but whether he willfully spread his feces all over the bathroom resulting in a nuisance, hazard, and damage. Moreover, the refusal of the CSO to let Strong use the restroom before passing through security may have given Strong motive to soil the restroom."

Yeah, that just happened. Ronald Strong was approaching the security checkpoint at a Federal courthouse when nature came a callin'. He informed the officer of the urgency, but was required to go through the checkpoint before proceeding. His bowels, however, would not wait and he defecated in his pants at the checkpoint before being escorted to the restroom, "intermittently trailing feces on the floor" along the way.

Lest you think we're being gratuitous with the details, we assure you -- they are of vital importance to the outcome of the case. You'll soon understand why.

The Fourth Amendment forbids warrantless searches with few exceptions — one of them being consent. But, what happens when consent is given based on false claims made by law enforcement? Is the resulting warrantless search legal?

In United States v. Vasquez, the First Circuit Court of Appeals offers clarity on this fuzzy situation.

Airport Body Scanner Lawsuit Moot After Software Upgrade: 1st Cir.

In the realm of airport body scanner lawsuits, pro se plaintiff-appellants Jeffrey H. Redfern and Anant N. Pradhan filed a constitutional claim against the TSA’s use of Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) body scanners and enhanced pat-downs.

But the case has been tossed as moot by the First Circuit Court of Appeals because of a software upgrade.

Due to the upgrade, the AIT scanners used at passenger screening checkpoints no longer generate the TMI images of passengers’ bodies that spawned this lawsuit; instead, they have been displaying a generic outline of a person for all passengers.

Zipcar Late Fees Are OK Under Massachusetts Law, Says 1st Circuit

A Zipcar customer lost her late-fee lawsuit against the car-sharing company. Again.

The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed U.S. District Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton’s decision that Naomi Reed could not assert a claim that Zipcar’s automatic late-fee charge constituted an unlawful penalty under Massachusetts law.

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter penned the opinion.

Political Activism Not Enough to Overturn BIA Decision: 1st Cir.

Ming Chen, a political activist and citizen of the People's Republic of China, entered and stayed in the U.S. illegally. In 1998, Chen submitted an application for asylum and withholding of removal, but an immigration judge denied the application. Yet somehow, Chen managed to stay in the U.S. for another nine years ...

... until he resurfaced in 2011 to file a motion to reopen his removal proceedings.

In what may have been the quickest seven minutes today, a bored-looking Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleaded not guilty to 30 charges in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing. It was Tsarnaev's first public appearance since his arrest April 19, The Associated Press reports.

Of the 30 charges, 17 carry the possibility of the death penalty or life imprisonment, according to the Boston Herald. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will decide whether to pursue capital punishment if he is convicted. The charges include the use of weapons of mass destruction, as well as carjacking and killing a police officer.

It's still early to say how things will go in this case, but emotions will definitely run high. Let's take a look at some factors that will impact the case.

1st Cir Sides With FDIC: Default on Your Loans, You Lose

In a case that should remind us all of our loan obligations, the First Circuit affirmed that if you fail to pay your loans, despite your financial circumstances, the default is on you.

FDIC v. Estrada-Rivera had the Court sizing up a claim that a bank later taken over by the FDIC was somehow complicit in destroying a third party deal that left the appellants with no money to pay their loans.

¡Qué escándalo!

Drug Convict to 1st Cir: Didn't Understand 'Intent' In Plea

The First Circuit ruled on Monday that a Puerto Rican federal court did enough to inform a drug defendant of the nature of his plea bargain before he accepted it, despite his confusion about the specific intent of the crime.

Plea colloquies are often the subject of appeals, but the Court in U.S. v. Ramos-Mejia gives the government a break in just how much a defendant needs to know.