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1st Cir. Year in Review: Top 10 Stories of 2014

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By William Peacock, Esq. on December 29, 2014 1:18 PM

The First Circuit. It's one of my personal favorites because of the judges themselves -- from the logoleptic Senior Judge Bruce Selya to the talented storytelling Judge Ojetta Rogeriee Thompson.

What were the year's most exciting stories from the First Circuit? From sex changes to strip clubs to Fidelity's fiduciary duties, these were the 10 most popular posts, in terms of traffic, for 2014:

10. 1st Cir. Finds Limits on Strip Clubs in Mass. Town Unconstitutional.

The size limit on a strip club was supposedly because of "secondary concerns" like traffic and small town aesthetics -- except there was a massive nightclub, warehouse, and drive-in theater nearby...

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

In a first-of-its-kind ruling, a panel held that not providing sexual reassignment surgery was cruel and unusual punishment. (In a very recent update, the en banc court reversed that ruling.)

8. Judge Selya's Logolepsy, or Love of Obscure Words (Duh).

Judge Selya is a personal favorite because his opinions are always an adventure and a vocabulary lesson -- a lesson intended to keep long-lost words alive.

7. Fun Opinion Reverses Conviction for Accidental Firearm Possession.

It's Judge Thompson's turn to impress with her opinion writing. She took us on a ride with a man who accidentally possessed a firearm after borrowing a car.

6. 'The Curious Case of Robert George': Money-Laundering Lawyer's Conviction Upheld.

This stupid lawyer offered to launder money for a felon who he met professionally. Needless to say, it didn't turn out well.

5. Jehovah's Witnesses Can Proselytize in Gated Communities: 1st Cir.

Puerto Rico allows municipalities to erect gates around residential areas to reduce instances of violent crime. Only residents get keys. But Jehovah's Witnesses want to proselytize there. (Update: They can.)

4. 1st Cir. to Weigh in on Panhandling Ordinances in Mass.

Worcester, Massachusetts, bans panhandling within a short distance of certain types of public areas. We previewed the First Circuit case. (Update: After the First Circuit upheld the state law, within a short time of the Supreme Court finding similar-but-not-identical abortion buffer zones unconstitutional, this has become a hot pick for a SCOTUS case. If so, the Court will face the awkward situation of reviewing an opinion by a former colleague -- Ret. Justice David Souter was on the panel.)

3. Fidelity Faces 401(k) Float Income Class Action in Mass.

Who owns income generated from retirement assets in the brief period before it is paid out -- the bank or the retirees?

2. Creepy Shoulder Touching by Boss Not Sexual Harassment: 1st Cir.

Believe you me: Shoulder touching can be creepy. (Heck, a "hello" from the right person can be creepy and harassing.) But if you stink at your job, it's going to be difficult, if not impossible, to win your case.

1. Will 1st Circuit Nominee David Barron Be Nominated to SCOTUS?

Four SCOTUS justices are 75 or older. Barron is on the short list for SCOTUS. Who else is on the list?

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