U.S. Third Circuit - FindLaw

U.S. Third Circuit - The FindLaw 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


It might be one of the least talked about legal issues splitting our nation's courts right now, though we've certainly done our share of babbling about it. It's the resentencing of juvenile lifers, a question that has led to intra-state (federal and state courts conflicting) and interstate splits, with more courts than we can count coming down on both sides of the question since the U.S. Supreme Court's Miller v. Alabama decision in 2012.

What's the issue? Miller held that juveniles must be afforded an "individualized" determination of the offender's age, childhood, life experience, degree of responsibility the youth was capable of exercising, and the chances for rehabilitation -- essentially a heavily scrutinized review that is supposed to limit the amount of life-without-parole sentences.

Now, U.S. District Judge Timothy Savage of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has joined the discussion, holding that Miller is retroactive -- a holding that is made ever the more interesting by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's holding late last year that Miller is not retroactive.

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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Monday issued its opinion in Milliken v. Jacono, holding that a home's seller didn't have to disclose a murder/suicide that occurred in the house because it didn't affect the price of the house. A grisly fact pattern to be sure, but the Supreme Court rooted its opinion in the more prosaic world of real estate.

New Jersey officials, as well as environmental activists, are challenging seismic studies from just 15 miles off Barnegat Light, reports The SandPaper. The parties requested a preliminary injunction, which the district court denied. Earlier this week, the Third Circuit also declined to grant the preliminary injunction.

Let's take a closer look at the legal -- and environmental issues -- at stake.

As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act this year, our country still has a long way to go. One look at the Third Circuit -- and the cases making headlines this week alone -- is proof enough.

Today, we'll be looking at the latest movements in cases regarding same sex marriage in Pennsylvania, gay conversion therapy in New Jersey, and a Pennsylvania company's contraception mandate challenge.

New Jersey's attempt to regulate sports betting is in the news again, but this time it's because the Supreme Court denied certiorari. But, in true New Jersey fashion, a new bill was passed within days based on arguments the Department of Justice ("DoJ") made in its brief to provide a work around.

Will the new law (if it goes into effect) be challenged? You can bet on it.

Anthony Elonis was unlucky in love and work, so he did what any person would do. He took to Facebook, and threatened everyone from his wife, to FBI agents, to area elementary schools. He did this claiming it was "therapeutic." Mr. Elonis, chocolate, booze and bubble baths are therapeutic -- threatening violence, is not.

The Supreme Court has granted cert in Mr. Elonis' case, to determine whether objective, or subjective, intent is enough to prove a true threat. That is, whether under the First Amendment, Supreme Court precedent, and canons of statutory interpretation, 18 U.S.C. 875(c), prohibiting threatening communications in interstate commerce, proof of defendant's subjective intent to threaten is required, or merely proof that an objective reasonable person would feel threatened.

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We apologize for the brief interlude between posts, but we are back and ready to update you on the goings-on in the Third Circuit. The Supreme Court reversed a Third Circuit's opinion in a case that reads like a Lifetime made-for-television movie. Not to be outdone by the Supreme Court, a Pennsylvania county clerk is stirring up more trouble in the same sex marriage scenario.

In less dramatic news (hopefully), Delaware is on its way to getting a new judge on its Supreme Court.

It's been an exciting week in the Third Circuit. Pennsylvania joined the ranks among the more enlightened set of states that recognize same sex marriage.

And in more entertaining news, the hacker whose sentence was recently vacated by the Third Circuit has sent the U.S. Government an invoice for Bitcoins totaling about $13 million.

Don't we all feel modern and cool here in the Third?

It's not every day that a district court certifies questions of law for a state's highest court, but the District Court for the District of Delaware certified not one, but four questions of law seeking guidance from the Supreme Court of Delaware.

All the questions had to do with fee shifting in a non-stock corporations bylaws: whether and under what circumstances a fee shifting provision is valid, whether such a provision is valid if adopted to deter litigation, and whether the provision is enforceable against someone who became a member before its adoption.

Since most companies are incorporated in Delaware, we thought you'd want to know. Read on to see what the Supreme Court of Delaware concluded.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation ("EFF") and the American Civil Liberties Union ("ACLU") of Pennsylvania have filed a joint amicus brief in a case that is on appeal to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

The two organizations lend their voices in a case challenging two federal criminal statutes that, according to them, violate First Amendment free speech rights and Fourteenth Amendment privacy rights. Soon to be before the Third Circuit for the second time in its long procedural history -- we wonder how the Third Circuit will decide.