U.S. Second Circuit - FindLaw

U.S. Second Circuit - The FindLaw 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Atheist Group's 'Cross at Ground Zero' Appeal Loses in 2nd Cir.

An atheist group has lost its appeal in the Second Circuit, where it sought to have "The Cross at Ground Zero" -- the well-known steel-beam cross from the World Trade Center wreckage in New York City -- removed from the September 11 museum.

"The Cross at Ground Zero" was a steel beam found among the debris of the World Trade Center after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that formed the shape of a Latin cross. It quickly became a rallying point.

After several years at the Ground Zero site, the cross was moved to a warehouse, where it remained with other artifacts from the site until it was moved to the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

Two cases closely watched by the tech industry are making progress through the Second Circuit. In the first case, Apple's e-book litigation may be coming to an end with a proposed settlement awaiting court approval, while the criminal case against Ross William Ulbricht, the alleged founder of Silk Road, is moving forward.

And if that's not enough and you want to try your hand at the judiciary -- well there's a job opening for that. Read on for details.

Another one bites the dust. Earlier this year J.P. Morgan and the DOJ reached a $13 billion settlement, and yesterday U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the DOJ and Citigroup have reached a settlement regarding federal investigations of mortgage securities.

The $7 billion settlement is much more than the $363 million Citi initially offered, and a bit more than half of the $12 billion the DOJ countered with, reports The Wall Street Journal. Let's take a look at the settlement in more detail.

Just call it the case that keeps going, and going. And going. Over two decades strong, what started out as a case to protect the indigenous people of the Amazon basin in Ecuador from the destruction resulting from oil exploration, has devolved into a RICO battle that will test the limits and applicability of the civil provisions of the statute.

Steven Donziger, now in the battle for his reputation, is appealing a district court's ruling against him.

We've been meaning to cover this case for a few weeks now, but with breaking new developments related to the Central Park Five settlement, and the at long last release of the "drone strike" memo, we were distracted. But now, we can now take a look at one of the most important Second Circuit Fourth Amendment cases to be heard this year.

And the court didn't stop there. It also gave district courts some suggestions on dealing with jurors' use of social media and the importance of jury instructions.

In 2011, the United States engaged in drone strikes in Yemen that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an al Qaeda leader, and al-Awlaki's son -- both U.S. citizens. The killing was authorized by a Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel memorandum ("OLC Memo"), examining the legality of such an authorized killing -- that is, how U.S. criminal law and Constitutional law applied to the killing of U.S. citizens abroad who are deemed "enemy combatants."

Two writers for The New York Times, along with the ACLU, each submitted Freedom of Information Act requests related to documents that authorized the killing of U.S. citizens by drone strike. The Second Circuit agreed that redacted copies of the memorandum should be released back in April, and the Government later sought rehearing en banc.

Yesterday, after years of waiting, the Second Circuit ordered the release, and released a redacted copy of the memo.

Growing up in the New York area in the 1980's, there were two cases that really made an impact on me, and the nation: Bernard Goetz's vigilante subway shooting, and the case of the Central Park Jogger. Bernard Goetz's enraged shooting was somewhat understandable, though over-reactive, on a visceral level. But the rape and near-fatal beating of a solitary woman jogger just boggled the mind. I can't go running to this day, without giving her a thought.

And while that case took place in 1989, the central park jogger case is still making headlines, as the wrongly convicted five men are now on the verge of reaching a settlement with the City of New York.

Earlier this month, the Second Circuit "tackled the tricky question of how to define originality in architecture," reports Architect Magazine. Though standard copyright theory applies, determining originality in architecture can be difficult for courts.

In finding its own path, the Second Circuit rejected the analysis of the Eleventh Circuit, and decided to go its own way.

Following the financial crisis of 2008, the S.E.C. has initiated many actions against banks and bank officers related to their conduct that led to the economic fallout. One such case was brought against Citigroup, where the S.E.C. alleged that Citigroups's investors suffered loss due to the bank's violation of Sections 17(a)(2) and (3) of the Securities Act of 1933.

When the S.E.C. and Citigroup sought approval of their settlement agreement before district court Judge Rakoff, he denied the consent order, and scheduled a trial date instead.

In April, the Second Circuit ordered the disclosure of a redacted Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel ("OLC") memo that essentially laid out the legal analysis that authorized the killing of U.S. citizens abroad by drone strike.

Last week, the Government submitted a motion seeking leave to file an ex parte and in camera motion for rehearing en banc of the court's April decision. The next day, the Second Circuit issued its ruling. Read on to see what the court decided.