U.S. First Circuit - The FindLaw 1st Circuit Court of Appeals News and Information Blog

January 2014 Archives

Kick Off 2014 Right: CLE Events Coming Up in the 1st Circuit

As January winds down, it may be a good time to kick off your I'm-going-to-be-proactive-this-year New Year's resolution and start early on CLEs rather than scramble at the last minute.

Here's a breakdown of different CLE events happening in your area:

Mass. Inmate Must Be Given Reassignment Surgery: 1st Circuit

A three-member panel of the First Circuit held that gender reassignment surgery is medically necessary for an inmate, affirming the September 2012 decision of District Court Judge Mark Wolf.

This is the first time an appeals court has held that the refusal by the state to provide gender reassignment surgery rose to a violation of an inmate's constitutional protections.

ACLU Urges Mass. High Court to Dismiss All Annie Dookhan Cases

The ACLU of Massachusetts filed a petition with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to dismiss more than 40,300 criminal cases tainted by Annie Dookhan, the state chemist whose falsification of test results in drug cases led to the worst scandal to hit the criminal justice system in years.

Growing increasingly frustrated with the state's slow response to the massive due process ordeal, the ACLU filed a petition with the state's highest court requesting specific actions.

Do you know what limn means? Neither did I -- give me a break, it's been a few years since I studied for the SATs. In the absence of a great legal lesson from the First Circuit in recent days, instead, I just learned my word of the day.

In United States v. Floyd and United States v. Dion, two defendants, Catherine Floyd and William Scott Dion were tried together in a case involving tax fraud. Though the defendants raised five issues on appeal, the court basically showed us its hand when in the intro paragraph of the decision they stated that the defendants were "ably represented."

If that's not a spoiler alert, I don't know what is.

1st Cir. to Weigh in on Panhandling Ordinances in Mass.

A case that's been making headlines during the holiday season, the First Circuit will soon weigh in on the constitutionality of anti-panhandling ordinances in Worcester, Massachusetts. No, the ordinances weren't sponsored by the Grinch. City officials claim they're necessary for public safety purposes.

But do the ordinances violate panhandlers' free speech rights?

With the huge amount of habeas corpus claims that inundate courts, the First Circuit recently released an opinion that commented on the issue. And, in an interesting turn, instead of criticizing state courts for short, sometimes arguably unclear opinions, the First Circuit instead took issue with federal reviewing courts (yes you, District Court of Massachusetts).

In Hodge v. Mendonsa, the First Circuit had to determine whether the Massachusetts Appeals Court ("MAC") rejected an argument on its merits when the MAC did not expressly discuss the argument by name, and whether a theory is procedurally barred when addressed in a footnote.