U.S. Third Circuit - FindLaw

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


We've been watching the progression of Andrew "weev" Auernheimer's trial and appeal and last week, the Third Circuit released its opinion in the hacker's appeal. Though "complex and novel issues that are of great public importance in our increasingly interconnected age" were presented, the case was decided on what some might call a technicality -- venue.

Until Monday, Auernheimer was serving a 41-month sentence for identity theft and conspiracy to commit unauthorized access to a protected computer, in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act ("CFAA"), when he accessed and leaked 114,000 email addresses of iPad users.

Upon his release, Auernheimer expressed his need for bacon, says Ars Technica.

In the latest fallout from the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, the United States District Court for the District of Delaware has issued an order granting a preliminary injunction, enjoining the state of Delaware from enforcing Delaware Election Code Sections 8002(10), 8002(27) and 8031, which requires certain disclosures related to financial contributions to third-party political ads.

On January 1, 2013, Delaware's Election Disclosures Act ("Act") took effect, which would require organizations, including non-profits, to disclose donors when the funds are used for third-party advertisements during an election. Non-profit conservative group, Delaware Strong Families, who publishes and distributes a voter guide, sought to prevent enforcement of the Act by filing a verified complaint in district court.

There's going to be some moving and shaking in the Third Circuit, with one judge retiring and two new district court judges recently confirmed. Let's take a look who will be leaving, and who will be joining, the Third Circuit.

Judge Ruggero J. Aldisert Retiring

A native of Pennsylvania, Judge Ruggero J. Aldisert's judicial career began in 1961 as a judge in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson nominated Judge Aldisert to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and from 1984 to 1986 he served as Chief Judge. He then assumed senior status and moved to California. In August, at the age of 94, Judge Aldisert will retire from the bench.

Things in the Third Circuit are heating up as cert petitions get filed, denied, and in one case, argued before the Supreme Court. Let's just say it's been a busy week. Today, we'll give you a breakdown of cases originating in the Third Circuit as they (try to) make their way to the Supremes.

Drake, et al. v, Jerejian, et al. -- Petitions Filed

Last year, the Third Circuit affirmed a district court's decision that held constitutional a New Jersey law that required a gun owner must show a "justifiable need" to receive a permit to carry a firearm. Earlier this year, gun owners (whose appeal is bankrolled by the NRA) filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court. Last week, the New Jersey Attorney General filed a brief asking the Court to deny the petition. We're waiting to see whether the Court will grant cert.

The post-9/11 surveillance has not been without controversy -- or litigation -- and a case originating in New Jersey is now making its way to the Third Circuit. However, jurisdictional issues, as well as Supreme Court precedent, may stand in the way of this case getting very far.

The Alleged Discriminatory Activity

According to the compliant, after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the New York Police Department "began a secret spying program to infiltrate and monitor Muslim life in and around New York City." The Associated Press covertly found, and released, un-redacted information regarding the spying program, including actual locations being monitored.

The tech community is watching the Third Circuit as Andrew "weev" Auernheimer, the hacker people love to hate, appeals his conviction for, as he puts it, "doing arithmetic." And, in more somber news, the Third Circuit lost one of its finest judges on Wednesday, Judge Joseph F. Weis Jr.

Weev's Appeal and Oral Arguments

Weev is currently serving a 41-month sentence for identity theft and conspiracy to commit unauthorized access to a protected computer, in violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act ("CFAA"), when he accessed and leaked 114,000 email addresses of iPad users. On Wednesday, the Third Circuit heard arguments in his appeal.

It's not often that we review state Supreme Court cases, but when the court is the Delaware Supreme Court, and that court adopts a new standard of review to apply to certain types of buyouts hat will likely affect many U.S. corporations -- we listen.

The Deal

The present case that brought about an upheaval in Delaware corporate law revolves around Ronald Perelman's corporate universe. Ronald Perelman owns MacAndrew & Forbes, which in turn owned a 43% stake in MFW. In 2011, Perelman began exploring the opportunity to take MFW private and received independent valuations that MFW stock was worth between $10 and $32.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently delivered an opinion in Fernandez v. California, where it held that Georgia v. Randolph -- which holds that one co-tenant's consent to search does not override another co-tenants refusal to consent to search -- does not apply when the occupant objecting to the search has been removed, and the remaining occupant provides consent "well after [the other occupant] has been removed from the apartment they shared."

These two Supreme Court cases, along with another case recently decided by the Third Circuit, all have one thing in common -- lovers' quarrels and consent to search.

The Third Circuit got the final word in a case that has sparked national attention on the issue of students' rights of free speech, when the Supreme Court denied a school district's petition for cert. on Monday. Also, in a case that may affect future elections, the Third Circuit heard arguments regarding the constitutionality of Pennsylvania ballot access laws.

"I Heart Boobies" Case Denied Cert

A group of students sued their school district after they were banned from wearing "I Heart Boobies" bracelets meant to promote breast cancer awareness. A district court lifted the school's ban and granted a preliminary injunction, and the school district appealed. An en banc panel of the Third Circuit found that the school's ban violated the students' free speech, because the bracelets were not offensive, were aimed at raising social awareness, and were not disruptive.

If you were planning on drowning your sorrows in booze the next time you attended a funeral in Pennsylvania, you may need to bring your own flask. The Third Circuit recently upheld an old law on the books, and some funeral directors are miffed, reports LancasterOnline. And, adding to those that are upset are Orthodox Jewish therapists, as they join the charge challenging New Jersey's law banning gay conversion therapy.

Food (and Booze) and Funerals Don't Mix

Several people and organizations sued the Pennsylvania Board of Funeral Directors challenging provisions of the Pennsylvania Funeral Director Law ("FDL") as violating the U.S. Constitution. The district court found many of the provisions unconstitutional, and the Board of Funeral Directors appealed. The Third Circuit reversed most of the district court's rulings.