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

October 2013 News

Though sentencing and interpreting mandatory minimums are routine tasks for judges, some courts just don't get it right. On Monday, the Seventh Circuit vacated a defendant's sentence because of two procedural errors made by the district court.

We recently posted about Judge Posner's thoughts on the Crawford voter-id opinion he authored. Based on an excerpt from his book "Reflections on Judging," he seemed to hint that he didn't agree with the direction the case took -- the view that the "law [is] now widely regarded as a means of voter suppression rather than fraud prevention."

Sergeant Kyll Lavalais worked for the Village of Melrose Park Police Department for over twenty years. Of about 75 officers, he was the only African-American officer in the department. In 2010, feeling he was being discriminated against, he filed a complaint with the EEOC. In January 2011, he filed another claim with the EEOC claiming he was retaliated against for making the initial claim the year before.

One month later, Lavalais was made a sergeant and assigned to the midnight shift. He served in this position for one year and two months, and then requested a different shift, which the police chief denied. The third time was the charm, and in July 2012, after filing a third claim with the EEOC, he was given a right-to-sue letter.

The Seventh Circuit has been in the news a lot lately with the recent Supreme Court's dismissal of Madigan v. Levin, where it had a chance to determine whether the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") preempted an equal protection claim.

Recently, the Seventh Circuit reversed and remanded a straight forward ADEA claim, finding that the district court erred by granting the defendant's motion for summary judgment.

We called it. What probably will be one of many upsets this Supreme Court term has happened: the writ of certiorari for Madigan v. Levin was dismissed as improvidently granted.

Ouch.

In a mere-five page decision, Judge Easterbrook told a brother and sister that their case of sibling rivalry over parenting was simply not a federal case (pun completely intended, you're welcome).

No, this case doesn't provide us with ground-breaking legal precedent. But, when Judge Easterbrook reprimands everyone in the courtroom it makes for very entertaining reading.

It takes a big person to admit when they are wrong, and last week, Judge Posner did just that.

In 2007, Judge Posner wrote the Crawford v. Marion County Election Board decision, which upheld an Indiana voter ID law requiring voters to show valid ID when voting at a polling place. In 2008, the Supreme Court affirmed Judge Posner's Crawford decision.

"[The justices] remind me a little bit of a crime family in the sense that before they whack you, they send you a bullet, they let you know that you're next ... They've done that with the labor movement."

That's how law professor Garrett Epps summarized the situation when it comes to the two union cases before the Supreme Court this term, reports the International Business Times.

Today was opening day at SCOTUS and the first case the Court heard oral arguments on was Madigan v. Levin. And in what might be the first upset of the season, this case may not even be decided at all.

Hanjuan Hin was charged with economic espionage and theft of trade secrets under the Economic Espionage Act. After a bench trial, she was convicted of theft of trade secrets and acquitted of the economic espionage charge.

On appeal, Hin challenged her conviction and sentence.