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

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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.

Should Executions Be Made Public?

Before 1936, the United States had a long history of public executions.

Rainey Bethea was the last person to be hanged publicly, when he was put to death that year for murdering and raping a 70-year-old woman. But that "carnival in Owensboro" led to a banning of public executions in America.

Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, changed that when he requested a public execution in 2001. Doyle Lee Hamm wanted next, and a federal judge wanted to give it to him.

Advertisers often gets a bad rap for making print and online newspapers a mess to read. However, for seventy inmates in Florida's prison system, prison officials have refused to deliver the monthly Prison Legal News publications to the inmate subscribers because of the ads in the paper.

Surprisingly, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with Florida's prison officials in ruling that denying the paper to the inmates is not a First Amendment violation. However, because the Florida prisons failed to provide a sufficient notice to the publisher, as required by their own rules, both the district and circuit courts found that the publisher's due process rights were violated.

In the wake of the Parkland school shooting, the Florida legislature passed some gun control measures to restrict individuals under the age of 21 from being able to purchase certain firearms, as well as imposing a three-day waiting period.

In response to that legislation, the NRA filed a lawsuit on behalf of one 19-year-old Jane Doe and one 19-year-old John Doe, to challenge the law. Unfortunately for the plaintiffs, the NRA's motion to keep the Doe plaintiffs' identities secret was shot down by the court, despite the judge's clear sympathy for the plight of the plaintiffs.

Governor Rick Scott and the Florida state Clemency Board have filed an appeal to the federal district court's injunction which epicly slammed the two for violating the voting rights of felons.

However, in addition to appealing the district court's order, they sought a stay to prevent the enforcement of the injunction while the appeal was pending. Interestingly, while the district court judge seemed to have strong feelings in favor of restoring the voting rights of felons, the appellate court seems to be more in favor of the governor's position.

iPhone Seizure at Accident Scene Violated 4th Amendment

If you have teenagers with cell phones, do not let them see this story.

A federal appeals court said it is a Fourth Amendment violation to take away a person's cell phone without a "reasonable basis." Of course, that applies when it's the government taking the phone.

But still, you may want to think twice about explaining the constitutional nuances to a kid who has a death grip on a cell phone. For cops, well, that's this story.

There's the one percent, then there are one percenters. And then there are these three alleged one percenters who sued law enforcement after the improper use of their driver license photos was discovered.

The three motorcycle club members were part of a group of seven, singled out by law enforcement, to have their driver license pictures used for lobbying purposes. On the assumption that their images would frighten state lawmakers away from passing an open carry law, the plaintiffs' pictures (without any other identifying information) were distributed to the lawmakers by the department's government liaison alongside information explaining that these were the type of people who would utilize the open carry law.

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.