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

February 2018 Archives

Court Blocks Segregationist School Plan in Alabama

As a young civil rights lawyer, U.W. Clemon lost an important desegregation battle against the Jefferson County school district in Alabama.

A federal appeals court later reversed in his favor, however, with orders that set in motion desegregation in schools there and across the country. A lifetime of litigation later, Clemon lost it again.

In Stout v. Jefferson County Board of Education, a trial judge said the people of Gardendale could secede from the school district to form their own school system so long as they complied with the decades-old orders. That was not a victory for civil rights -- until the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled.

Taxpayer's Affidavit Can Preclude Summary Judgment

A federal appeals court gave some good news to taxpayers, and to one taxpayer in particular.

Estelle Stein had been fighting the Internal Revenue Service over $220,000 in assessments, penalties and interest. She swore she paid her debt, but a judge didn't buy the affidavit and entered summary judgment for the government.

The U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling en banc in United States of America v. Stein, sent the case back to a three-judge panel and overruled its own precedent. It's not about the weight of evidence; it's about disputed evidence.

Court: Lawyer Led Trial Judge Astray in Winn-Dixie Case

How good is it when your lawyer can get a judge not to follow the law for you?

Not very good, according to a federal appeals court. While a BigLaw partner might have impressed his clients in the trial court, it backfired at the U.S Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The appellate judges had ruled earlier in the case, and sent it back to the trial judge with instructions. The judge didn't follow them in Winn Dixie Stores v. Dolgencorp.

Judge Slams Clemency Board for Violating Ex-Felons' Voting Rights

Judge Mark Walker bent Florida's clemency board over his knee and gave it a spanking.

With a figurative flair, the federal judge said the board's arbitrary and "unfettered discretion" over felons' voting rights violates the Constitution. He compared it to a prison guard taking the key and swallowing it.

"Only when the state has digested and passed that key in the unforeseeable future, maybe in five years, maybe in 50 ... does the state, in an 'act of mercy' unlock the former felon's voting rights from its hiding place," he wrote in Hand v. Scott.