U.S. Seventh Circuit - FindLaw

U.S. Seventh Circuit - The FindLaw 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


A Wisconsin law requires convicted sex offenders who have been released from civil commitment to wear a GPS ankle bracelet all day, every day, for the rest of their lives. And that is not an unconstitutional violation of their privacy, the Seventh Circuit ruled recently.

The ankle monitor sends daily reports of the offender's movements to the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, who can then use the information to connect offenders to reported sexual assaults.

A Putnam County, Indiana, sheriff's deputy who was convicted for excessive force won't get off with just a 14-month sentence, the Seventh Circuit ruled last Thursday. Calling the sentence "light," when compared to similar cases, the court demanded that sheriff's deputy Terry Joe Smith be resentenced.

Smith was convicted following a series of violent episodes in 2012, characterized by the court as "violent, gratuitous, and sadistic," which included beating subdued, unresisting, and handcuffed suspects.

Ramadan Meals Case Revived by 7th Cir.

The Seventh Circuit revived a free exercise of religion case in which a Muslim inmate sued his jailers for interfering with his observance of Ramadan by withholding "special meals."

The circuit vacated the lower court's summary judgment in favor of the defendant. According to the court, making a prisoner choose between food and religion is a substantial burden on his free exercise.

Posner Shoots Down 'Bounty Hunter' Who Exposed Fraud for Money

This week, Judge Richard Posner authored a rather pithy and readable opinion in which his court affirmed a lower district court's dismissal of a relator's claim seeking a hefty reward for shining a light on a contractor's fraud.

Nice try, said Judge Posner. You can't collect a bounty for a target already in hand.

Spirit of AC21 Act Should Be Followed, Rules 2nd Cir.

In an immigration employment decision that could have far reaching impacts, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the legislative attempts to hasten H-1B "portability" for immigrants continues to be stymied by bureaucracy even 15 years after passing the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act.

According to the Second Circuit's ruling, leaving one's immigration status squarely in the hands of a disinterested employer is inimical to the act's purpose.

Water Analyst Can Publish Water Use Report, 7th Cir. Rules

A water analyst hired by Chicago's non-profit Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE) will be allowed to publish the findings of a water report that "left the Alliance dissatisfied."

Even though the plaintiff in the case sought to be completely disassociated with the report, it does not appear that will be possible under the terms of the court finding. The circuit's response? Tough luck.

7th Cir. Rules on 'Our Lady of America' Defamation Case

The Seventh Circuit's Court of Appeals overturned a lower court's injunction ordering the complete shutdown of a blog in a legal battle over religious artifacts and defamation.

Being called a "fake nun" -- have any more libelous words ever been put to paper?

If you want to possess a firearm in Illinois, you need a Firearm Owners Identification card, or FOID. FOIDs aren't hard to get. A driver's license, recent photograph, and $10 are all that's required of most applicants. But if you're between the ages of 18 and 20, you'll also need a parent's consent. If mom and dad won't sign off, you have to jump through a few administrative hoops.

That extra hassle for teens who want guns isn't unconstitutional, the Seventh Circuit ruled on Monday.

Beer Sellers Aren't a 'Suspect Class,' 7th Cir. Rules

How do you keep underage teens from drinking beer? Obviously, by limiting the sale of cold beer to taverns, liquor stores, and bars! That's right, temperature is the key.

At least that's the argument promulgated by the state of Indiana. The Seventh Circuit said, "Sure, yeah right." And as weird as the rationale behind the law sounds, the real issue is whether or not it is fair to ban the sale of cold beer in some businesses and not in others. We challenge you to find weirder equal protection violation allegation before the year is out.

Nude Dancing? Not in Our Town! 7th Cir. Denies Owner's Relief

When Alva and Sandra Butler purchased a restaurant in Angola, Indiana, they had big plans to convert the venue into a nude dancing bar. Curiously, within days of buying the place, the city amended its zoning laws such that nude dancing would violate use restrictions...

Rather than alleging any taking by the government, the couple opted to raise a First Amendment violation and various other violations under Indiana law. After having their first petition for injunction denied, the Circuit seems to have taken a "hands off" approach.