U.S. Fourth Circuit - The FindLaw 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

November 2014 Archives

4th Cir. Denies Stay for S.C. Gay Marriage Ruling

There must have been some degree of pearl-clutching from gay marriage opponents on Tuesday, as the Fourth Circuit denied South Carolina's request to stay last week's federal ruling against the state's gay marriage ban.

When U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel had struck down the Palmetto State's prohibition on gay marriage, he placed on automatic stay on the ruling that's set to expire November 20. For those keeping score at home, that's tomorrow, and it appears that the Fourth Circuit isn't going to step in before gay marriages begin.

But is the Fourth Circuit the last word on South Carolina's same-sex marriage ban?

Teen's Controversial Penis Pic Prosecution Spawns Defamation Suit

This was already one of the most ridiculous criminal cases to ever come out of Virginia, and now, it has spawned an equally ridiculous civil lawsuit.

Regular readers might recall the case from earlier this year, where Virginia police obtained a warrant to bring a teen to a hospital and photographed his erect penis, using an injection to induce the erection if necessary. The ridiculous warrant was part of an equally ridiculous prosecution of a 17-year-old kid who sent a picture of his penis to his 15-year-old girlfriend. Both send nude pics, but only he was charged.

S.C.'s Same-Sex Marriage Ban Struck Down by Federal Court

So that makes how many now? Notwithstanding what the Sixth Circuit thinks, Judge Richard Gergel of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina has come to the now-unsurprising conclusion that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

In a referendum approved by 78 percent of voters, South Carolina amended its constitution in 2006 to prevent the state from recognizing any marriage other than that between one man and one woman. Gergel's order makes his the 52nd court to strike same-sex marriage bans since U.S. v. Windsor, according to Freedom to Marry.

4th Cir. Rules Against Army Dad in Int'l Child Custody Dispute

What's an international custody dispute doing at the Fourth Circuit? Quite a lot. Mark and Daniela Smedley got married in Germany in 2000. Mark was a member of the U.S. Army. They had two kids, in 2000 and 2005, and continued to live in Germany until Mark got transferred to North Carolina. Daniela and the kids came along.

"At this point, the parties' stories diverge," said the court, putting it mildly. If you believe Daniela, she was already unhappy when they lived in Germany. She got homesick for Germany and told Mark she was going back to live there permanently, and she was taking the kids. He said okey-dokey-sure. They agreed she would take a month to reconsider, so she bought round-trip tickets; if she decided to stay, Mark would try to move there, too.

Fed. Judge Won't Dismiss No-Fly List Case on State Secrets Ground

In 2009, U.S. citizen Gulet Mohamed went to the Middle East to study Arabic. He visited to several countries, including Yemen and Somalia. Then he moved to Kuwait. In 2010, he tried to renew his visitor's visa but was instead handcuffed, blindfolded, and held in detention for a week while being tortured.

And you thought renewing your driver's license was hard.

Kuwaiti officials tried to deport him, but it turned out that Mohamed's name was on a No-Fly List, so he can't return to the United States. While being held incommunicado in Kuwait, he was interrogated by FBI agents, who threatened more interrogation and criminal charges if he didn't speak to them.