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

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A recent ruling out of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals confirms that judges can in fact order the release of secret grand jury proceedings for historians to study.

The case involved the "Moore's Ford Lynching" in 1946 which is believed to be the last mass lynching in the U.S. and a catalyst to the civil rights movement. Surprisingly (or perhaps not, given the attitudes of the times), despite hundreds of witnesses, no one was convicted of the murders, and there wasn't even a criminal case. A grand jury did convene, however, and one historian sought to break the secrecy of what went on behind the closed doors of that grand jury.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals stayed the execution of Domineque Ray, who was set to be executed in Alabama on February 7. And on February 7, SCOTUS overruled the circuit court's stay.

The circuit court had explained that the district court should have stayed the execution due to the violation of Ray's religious freedom. Notably, the stay did not involve the merits of his case, which involve the rape and murder of a 15-year-old child. Rather, the stay was granted because the prison refused to allow Ray to have his imam present, while it does routinely provide a Christian chaplain in the execution chamber.

This Thursday's deadline for the Florida 2018 midterm election recount had been looming as a Florida House hopeful asked the court to extend the deadline.

Jim Bonfiglio, who is the mayor of Ocean Ridge, at the last count, was trailing his opponent, Mike Caruso, by only 37 votes. Bonfiglio's emergency request to extend the deadline for the recount was granted, and the deadline for the state to complete its recount has been pushed out five additional days to November 20.

Exact Match Voter-ID Law in Georgia Tossed by Federal Judge

By the time voters exit the polls in Georgia, the "exact match" and the shooting match will be over.

They will have chosen a new governor, and the decision in Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda v. Kemp won't matter. A judge had ruled the state's "exact match" voter identification requirement was an undue burden on voters.

It could have been an issue in the race for governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Secretary of State Brian Kemp. As politics would have it, Kemp was also the defendant in the case.

Judge: Georgia, Don't Toss Absentee Ballots

"Mismatched signatures" may take over "hanging chads" for the most contested ballots in recent American politics.

While 2000 was the year of the hanging chad, 2018 is turning into the year of mismatched signatures. In Georgia, a judge has issued a temporary restraining order against officials who have been rejecting absentee ballots based on discrepancies in signatures.

The hot-button issue is raging among activists who claim the Secretary of State is manipulating the ballot count. That's a problem for Secretary Brian Kemp because he is also running for governor.

It's not often that a court will go out of its way to expound on how a prior court got it wrong when it is nonetheless bound to follow that court's precedent.

However, in the recent Bayview Park cross case, the Eleventh Circuit didn't hold back on explaining how the prior Eleventh Circuit panel got it so wrong. Despite the fact that the whole decision could have fit within a few pages, the judges devoted over 80 pages, with each of the panel judges writing separate concurrences practically begging for the en banc court to rehear and overturn the case.

First Amendment Protects Sharing Food With Homeless People

Despite the best public relations, Florida has a hard time living downs its reputation.

It used to be famous for orange juice and moon shots, but that started to change about the time "hanging chads" became a phrase. Even with a Disney resort, Florida has not been the happiest place on earth for everybody.

Thanks to a city ordinance at issue in Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs v. City of Fort Lauderdale, Forbes said Fort Lauderdale is "infamous for cracking down on compassion." That's what happens when you outlaw feeding the homeless.

No one likes or wants to be searched at any border. But in these times of hypersensitive border security, with nearly every traveler carrying minimally one or more pieces of high powered technology (seriously, even your first iPhone could do a lot), the issue of electronics border searches is a hot one.

Finding that a search of an electronic device at the border does not require probable cause, nor even reasonable suspicion, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has broken with the Fourth and Ninth Circuits. In United States v. Touset, the defendant was found to be in possession of child pornography on his laptop computer and external hard drive as he crossed the border at customs in the airport in Atlanta, GA. After accepting a plea, the defendant appealed the district court's denial of a motion to suppress the evidence gathered during the border search.

It is a rare thing when appellate courts decide to reconsider cases en banc.

That was one of the sticking points in Bostock v. Clayton County Board of Commissioners, out of the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court didn't take the case, prompting the dissenters to say the majority was dodging a momentous issue.

Two justices, out of twelve, said gay and lesbian rights in the workplace were important enough to compel the Second and Seventh Circuits to act en banc. The Eleventh Circuit, however, apparently not.

When news of the Parkland school shooting broke, the nation was shocked and saddened. While school shootings seem to occur with an alarming frequency, the high death toll at Parkland, and the failure of the first responders, really set it apart.

Notably, due to the onsite law enforcement officers failing to take appropriate action, a group of students have banded together to file the most recent lawsuit related to the shooting. As disturbing as the shooting was, when it was reported that onsite law enforcement actually ran away from the shooter and refused to enter the building after escaping, outrage and litigation ensued.