U.S. Eleventh Circuit - The FindLaw 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

July 2012 Archives

Dorsey Decision Results in Sentence Reduction ... Finally

The Supreme Court's decision last term in Dorsey v. United States has been a bit of a letdown for crack defendants. Despite the Court's finding that the Fair Sentencing Act's new, lower mandatory minimums apply to the post-Act sentencing of pre-Act offenders, most of the published opinions analyzing post-Dorsey sentencing challenges have upheld the defendants' original sentences.

Monday, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals finally decided to give a defendant a break.

Nosey Neighbor's Concern Lands Child Porn Suspect in Jail

One minute, Dan Smith is enjoying a naked nap on a hot, summer morning. The next, officers are searching his computers for child pornography. He says that cops shouldn't have been in his house. And those images they found? Fruit of the poisonous tree.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed, and ruled that the evidence was admissible.

So how did things go so wrong for Smith?

Eleventh Circuit Upholds Georgia Carry Law

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that Georgia church-goers can't simultaneously cling to God and guns on church property.

Friday, the Atlanta-based court upheld a Georgia ban on guns in churches.

Career Offenders Might Not Benefit from Amendment 750

A jury convicted Sedrick Lawson of knowingly and intentionally distributing a mixture and substance containing crack cocaine. Based on Lawson's total offense level and career-offender status, his guideline range was 262 to 327 months. At sentencing, the district court considered federal sentencing factors and sentenced Lawson to 262 months' imprisonment.

After Lawson was sentenced, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted unanimously to give retroactive effect to parts of Amendment 750 to the federal sentencing guidelines, which implements the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010. Lawson moved for a modified sentence based on Amendment 750, but the district court decided that Amendment 750 had not lowered Lawson's career-offender guideline range. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court.

Just Kidding: Ala. Dental Board Gets Sovereign Immunity After All

The Alabama Board of Dental Examiners is entitled to qualified immunity according to a recent Alabama Supreme Court decision. That means that the Eleventh Circuit’s ruling last August — holding that the Board shouldn’t receive sovereign immunity — created a bit of awkwardness between the federal appellate court and the state’s highest court.

But everything’s better now. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals vacated its prior finding in Versiglio v. Board of Dental Examiners of Alabama last week, and entered a new opinion.

So how did we get here, and what does it all mean?

Eleventh Circuit Sends More Overdraft Litigation to Arbitration

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals is full of overdraft litigation.

In March, we told you about Maxine Given, an Eleventh Circuit litigant who was challenging an M&T checking account arbitration clause. This week, we have Lacy Barras, a Branch Banking and Trust (BB&T) customer who claims that BB&T charges overdraft fees for payments from checking accounts, even when the account contains sufficient funds to cover the payments.

Barras also alleged that BB&T supplies inaccurate and misleading information about account balances, and fails to notify customers about changes to policies for processing checking account transactions, thereby increasing overdraft charges assessed against customers.

No Retroactive Recusal for Stripper-Patronizing Judge

We've read our fair share of appeals challenging local ordinances banning nude dancing in places where alcohol is sold. The outcome is generally the same everywhere. The appellate court upholds the ordinance, and the club proprietor or stripper tells the local media that he/she will keep fighting the good fight.

Say what you will about strippers and clubs, but they make tenacious litigants.

Last week, it was the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals' turn to strip a nude entertainment club of its appellate-victory dreams, as the Atlanta-based court upheld a Spalding County, Georgia nude dancing ban.

Color of Law? Naked Boyfriend Can't Recover from Pistol-Toting Mom

Here's a little tip we've picked up from reading appellate opinions all day long: When the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals starts a decision with the admonition, "You don't let a pistol-packing mother catch you naked in her daughter's closet," you keep reading.

It doesn't matter what kind of case follows. It's going to be good.

Feds Don't Have to Prove Pimp Knew Child Prostitute Was Under 18

Both Big Daddy Kane and Ice-T have lamented the fact that pimpin' ain't easy, but the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals just made the hard knock life a little harder for a pimp convicted on federal prostitution inducement charges in Florida.

Federal law prohibits "knowingly" persuading, inducing, enticing, or coercing a minor to engage in prostitution; violators face a minimum of 10 years in prison. When Robert Daniels, a.k.a. "Twin T," was convicted of inducing a 14-year-old into prostitution, his lawyers argued that the conviction shouldn't stick because Daniels didn't know that she was a child prostitute, reports The Wall Street Journal.