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

August 2013 Archives

No Break for Prison Guards Who Sanctioned Fights, Beat Inmates

They beat "youthful offenders" with broken broomstick handles. They allowed inmates to box one another, and beat them when they tried to quit or didn't use proper technique. Corrections Officers Butler, McQueen, and Griffin were all allegedly involved in the beatings, while a fourth C.O., Dawkins, sat by idly and watched.

The brutality can't be understated. At one point, after an inmate sucker punched his boxing opponent, McQueen beat the inmate with a broomstick before Griffin choked the inmate until he passed out. At least five inmates were beaten by the officers, yet even when reports were filed, they made no mention of violence involving the prisoners.

With Dubina, Barkett On the Way Out, What is 11th Circuit's Future?

Adios now-former Chief Judge Joel Dubina. Judge Rosemary Barkett, we'll miss you as well, especially your passionate anti-Death Penalty dissents. With those two judges on their way out, and two vacancies in place, what will the active bench look like?

If President Obama can fill the vacant seats before the end of his term, it will take an already left-leaning court and lock those leanings into place for probably the next few decades. On the other hand, if the vacancies remain unfilled, as they have for much of the recent past (one vacancy has been open for nearly three years), the composition of the court could be decided by the 2016 Presidential Election.

Surviving a Storm: 6 Tips on Hurricane Prep for Your Practice

Tis going to be a stormy year, it seems. Per the Sun-Sentinel, this year is shaping up to be an active one, with warmer than normal Atlantic sea surface temperatures and a strong rainy season in West Africa. The hurricane season, expected to run from now through October, produces an average of three hurricanes that hit the United States every five years.

We won't patronize you too much here. After all, if anyone knows how to survive a hurricane, it's Floridians and the other fine citizens of the Eleventh Circuit. However, for those of you who just moved to hurricane territory, or those who are looking for a refresher course, here are six practical tips you may want to consider:

No Changed Conditions, No Reopening of Motion in Asylum Case

The Eleventh Circuit has denied a petition from Xia Chen to review the denial of her motion to reopen and to stay her removal from the United States.

Chen, a citizen and native of China, alleges that in accordance with federal removal proceedings, her application should be re-reviewed based on a change in country conditions. The Eleventh Circuit felt otherwise.

Chen had initially entered the United States in 2001, without a valid entry document. But she gave several reasons for an asylum claim.

Sen. Coburn Probing Lavish Judicial Conferences

Three months ago, we dedicated a few hundred words to mocking the Eleventh Circuit's senseless spending. We asked why, in a time of furloughs, layoffs, and sequestration, the judges were headed to the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort, where "Southern charm meets modern luxury."

Looks like we weren't alone in questioning the curious use of fiscal resources. Senator Tom Coburn, of Oklahoma, recently penned a letter to the director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC), asking them for a breakdown of the expenses, both from the conferences and court construction since the recession.

11th Circuit Shows Mercy to a Different Mentally Retarded Inmate

Mere months after denying habeas relief to a mentally retarded inmate facing death, and weeks after that inmate's execution was put on hold for other reasons, the Eleventh Circuit faced another Atkins claim, this time from a man who was denied access to mental health experts.

Alonzo Burgess was tried and sentenced to death before the Supreme Court barred execution of the mentally retarded. His state court post-conviction proceedings happened while Atkins was pending, and whenever he requested either funding for mental health examinations or access to experts paid for by others, he was repeatedly denied.