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

January 2012 News

One-Child Policy Opposition Doesn't Prove Political Persecution

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that opposition to China's one-child policy, absent further evidence of persecution, does not justify an immigration appeal reversal.

A three-judge panel denied petitioner Chun Hua Zheng's asylum denial appeal, finding that Zheng had not demonstrated that it was more likely than not that she would be persecuted for her political opinions if she returned to China.

A person "who has been persecuted for ... resistance to a coercive population control program," is considered to have been "persecuted on account of political opinion" under U.S. law. By that reasoning, Zheng's opposition to China's one-child policy was a strong start to proving her political persecution argument.

New Trial: Undisclosed Expert Testimony Sufficiently Prejudicial

Terence Tribble was arrested on Mother's Day in 2006 for drinking on a public way. Officers Nicholas Evangelides and Roger Fieser found heroin and crack cocaine on Tribble during a search incident to arrest. (A bad Mother's Day for Tribble; the worst Mother's Day ever for his mom.)

The drug charges against Tribble were dismissed for lack of probable cause. Tribble filed a civil rights lawsuit against the officers for illegal stop, false arrest, illegal search, and a violation of due process.

A jury ruled for the defendants, and Tribble appealed.

Seventh Circuit Sides with Alltel in Arbitration Case

You have a cell phone, and most likely a contract for the service plan that goes with that cell phone. So when you run into problems with your wireless provider, are you tempted to use your legal know-how to challenge the arbitration clause in your cell phone contract? If you are, keep in mind that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, like the Supreme Court, favors arbitration clauses.

This Seventh Circuit arbitration case hits close to home because we can remember a time where we faced a similar battle.

Dreadlocked: Prison Haircut Based on Religious Discrimination

Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner wants you to know that “Jesus was a heretic” and “heretics have religious rights.”

But that heretical tangent doesn’t apply to plaintiff Omar Grayson, who Posner is quick to identify as “not a heretic.” Instead, Grayson is an Orthodox African Hebrew Israelite of Jerusalem.

He’s also a former inmate of the Big Muddy Correctional Center in Illinois.

Drink Drivers: Court Upholds Indiana Wine Delivery Law

Some states prohibit motor carriers, like UPS and FedEx, from delivering wine. There are, of course, ways to get around these wine delivery laws. A shipping business in our city has a sign that says, "We can't ship wine, but we can ship 'olive oil,' (wink, wink.)" The only problem is that shipping "olive oil, (wink, wink)" may violate state laws.

Instead of skirting an Indiana wine delivery law, Cap N' Cork, a chain of Fort Wayne retail liquor stores, challenged the law directly in federal court. This week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the Cap N', finding that the law was valid under the 21st Amendment.

Blazing Saddles Screening Not Proof of Racial Discrimination

The Warrick County Sheriff terminated Kevin Harris’s probationary employment as a deputy sheriff based on violations of standard operating procedures, failure to follow orders, and insufficient commitment to the job.

Harris claimed that he was fired for being African-American.

This week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Harris’ circumstantial evidence of discrimination fell far short of supporting an inference that he was terminated because of his race, and affirmed the district court’s dismissal of his racial discrimination lawsuit.

Creditor Loses Bankruptcy Settlement Challenge

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that a bankruptcy court did not err in approving a bankruptcy settlement that allotted a portion of the proceeds from a property sale to pay the insolvent company’s bankruptcy attorneys.

Holly Marine Towing, Inc. was a Chicago company that owned and operated a tug boat service on Lake Michigan. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on January 8, 2007, and the bankruptcy court converted the case to a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy the following year. A trustee was appointed to manage the estate’s assets and pay off creditors.

Top 4 Opinions from Judge Richard Posner in 2011

We have a well-documented law crush on Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner. While some people think that public professions of law crushes are odd, we have found that we're not alone in our admiration for this particular jurist.

Every time we discuss Judge Posner with a fellow attorney, we hear the same thing: You love Judge Posner? I love him, too.

With that in mind, we're pandering to the Posner-philes and capping off the first week of 2012 with some of our favorite Posner-penned opinions of 2011.

Unlawful Stop? Indiana Drivers Must Signal When Bearing Right

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals clearly knows that the best way to make a splash in a new year is to write an opinion featuring Indiana traffic laws, a motion to suppress based on an “unlawful” stop, and a puppy.

Thanks to the Seventh Circuit’s willingness to give the people what they want, we’re kicking off 2012 with a new FindLaw Pooch of the Week Top Dog. (We can never find enough canine mentions in the appellate cases to actually name a Pooch of the Week, so we’re changing the name of the award.)