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

June 2016 Archives

A unanimous Supreme Court tossed out the criminal corruption conviction of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell yesterday. McDonnell and his wife had been convicted of bribery after they pulled a few favors for a Virginia businessman who had given them $175,000 in gifts, loans, and more. But those favors were relatively commonplace in the political world: setting up meetings, hosting events, or making phone calls on a constituent's behalf.

Such routine politicking does not constitute an "official act" in exchange for payment as required to sustain a federal bribery conviction, the Court ruled in an opinion certain to make corruption prosecutions more difficult in the future.

The Price of Cell Phone Convenience? Your Privacy and Liberty.

The recent ruling by the Fourth Circuit should raise the neck-hairs of everyone keeping track of mobile device-privacy issues and government overreach into our lives and pockets. In the case of USA v. Graham, the Fourth Circuit, sitting en banc, found that law enforcement does not require a search warrant when asking a cellphone carrier for tracking information because the consumer under scrutiny had no reasonable expectation of privacy.

It's a result that's a consequence of flawless application of logic -- and it should scare the bejeezus out of you.

Transgender Bathroom Case Likely on SCOTUS Track

This Tuesday, the Fourth Circuit ruled that it would not rehear the case of Gavin Grimm, the Virginia high school student who sought to use the boy's bathroom until a furor rose with parents threatening to vote out the school board unless Grimm was barred from using the boy's bathroom. The Circuit's refusal to rehear the case en banc, which essentially obligates Gavin's school to let him begin using the boy's bathroom again -- or it will at least guarantee that this fight will move up to the Supreme Court.

It was a bit of a tall order wanting all fifteen judges of the Fourth Circuit to hear the case. As it stands, some of the most controversially charged states regarding this issue are now obligated to allow persons who choose to use restrooms inconsistent with their biological sex do so.