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

February 2013 Archives

Batson Violation Saves Accused from Death Row - For Now

“Because we determine that Mr. Adkins is entitled to habeas relief based on his Batson claim, we do not decide his other claims.”

Batson was decided in 1986. How is it that we’re still talking about cases of prosecutors striking jurors for race-based reasons?

In late 1988, a jury was selected for the trial of Ricky Adkins, who was accused of murdering Billie Dean Hamilton. Both the defendant and the victim were Caucasian. During jury selection, the prosecutor used peremptory challenges to remove nine of eleven black members. Only one of the remaining two made the final jury.

You’re probably wondering, “why didn’t the defendant object?”

SCOTUS Overturns 11th's Mootness Ruling in Hague Convention Case

A common problem for our nation's servicemen and women is the issues that arise from international love. They fall for someone while stationed abroad but run into legal barriers with immigration, international family law, custody, and divorce if things progress through marriage and divorce.

Sgt. Jeffrey Lee Chafin fell in love with Lynne Hales Chafin when he was stationed abroad. The couple married and had a child before he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2007. Being a U.K. native, Lynn took the child to Scotland until Sgt. Chafin returned to the United States in 2010. She then moved to Huntsville, Alabama to join her husband.

11th Circuit Grants Stay of Execution to Mentally Retarded Inmate

Thirty minutes from death, convicted murderer Warren Lee Hill's life was spared. It's the latest development in the case that has made multiple trips to state and federal appeals courts since its inception in 1990, when he murdered a fellow prisoner.

He lives to fight another day thanks to a last minute intervention by both the Eleventh Circuit and a state appeals court, reports the Atlantic. The state court wanted to take another look at Georgia's lethal injection procedures. The Eleventh Circuit may be revisiting their decision last year, and an issue of debate since 2002's United States Supreme Court decision in Atkins v. Virginia: execution of the mentally retarded.

Violently Resisting Arrest is a Crime of Moral Turpitude

Manual Cano entered the United States in 1990 as a nonimmigrant. Nine years later, his status was updated to that of a lawful resident. A few years after that, he violently resisted a lawful arrest.

In 2011, due to that incident and a 2010 act that also involved moral turpitude, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notified him that he was set for deportation under § 1227(a)(2)(A)(ii) as an alien convicted of two or more crimes involving moral turpitude. He contests the classification of his resisting arrest conviction as a crime involving moral turpitude.

Strategic Retreat on Certain Charges is Not Ineffective Assistance

Clifford Darden's European Basketball career apparently didn't go so well. In 2007, he committed two robberies. In the June robbery, he held up a convenience store and walked out with $300. In the July robbery, he walked out with $2,000 and a few bullets in his body, courtesy of an armed store clerk.

When the police arrived, Darden admitted to committing the robbery. He reiterated his confession at the hospital.

What's a defense counselor to do in such a situation? There are two robberies. In one, there is nearly no evidence, other than a witness describing a large black man as the culprit. In the other, there is a trail of blood leading to the defendant, who confessed everything.

Unpaid Externships Comply With FLSA if Academic Credit Received

This may seem obvious, but if you are receiving academic credit for an unpaid internship, you probably will not succeed in bringing a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claim. However, seeing as unpaid internships and externships are a hot topic right now, it’s worth perusing this unpublished Eleventh Circuit decision, Kaplan v. Code Blue Billing, Inc.

The ungrateful (kidding) student-intern plaintiffs were enrolled in MedVance Institute’s Medical Billing and Coding Specialist program. One of the graduation requirements was to complete externship work, which the plaintiff did with the multiple defendants.

She May Be Lying, But It's Summary Judgment, Duh

We’re all familiar with summary judgment at this point. If someone moves for summary judgment, the court is supposed to take the disputed facts in a light most favorable to the non-moving party. After doing so, if there still isn’t enough alleged facts, the court can dismiss the claim.

Simple enough, right?

Miami Beach cops got a signed, written tip that drug dealing was occurring in an apartment occupied by Janet Feliciano, Edgardo Gonzaga, and their children. Officers acted on the tip and paid them a visit. They then forced entry and searched the apartment, including Feliciano’s underwear drawer and kitchen pantry.

Justice O'Connor Sighting: Did She Just Reference 'Duck Hunt'?

Since retiring from the Supreme Court in 2005, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has kept herself busy with television appearances and making speeches at law schools. She also sits by designation when a circuit court is running low on judges.

The Eleventh was treated to an O’Connor appearance, and better yet, an O’Connor opinion, earlier this week. The defendant, Jason McGuire, was depressed and began firing a pistol willy-nilly into the night, necessitating a police response. He fired his last bullet in the air, in the general direction of a police helicopter. He was convicted of attempting to wreck, damage, or destroy an aircraft.