U.S. Fourth Circuit - The FindLaw 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

January 2012 Archives

'Suspect' Photojournalist Loses Privacy Protection Act Challenge

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed this week what your parents always told you: A person is judged by the company she keeps.

In this case, the person was Laura Sennett, a photojournalist with a special interest in covering protests. Sennett became the target of search warrant after she photographed a demonstration at the Four Seasons hotel in Washington, D.C., which ended with $200,000 of damage to the hotel.

This week, the appellate court affirmed summary judgment against Sennnett in her Privacy Protection Act claim, agreeing that police had probable cause to suspect Sennett based on her association with the protest mob.

EEOC Claim Survives Summary Judgment, Could Be Frivolous Lawsuit

Great Steaks beat a court rap for treating its female employees like meat in 2009, but lost an argument for attorneys' fees this week in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accused Great Steaks of subjecting female employees to a sexually hostile work environment in 2005. The EEOC claim went to trial, and a jury ruled in favor of Great Steaks four years later. Great Steaks, in turn, moved for attorneys' fees under several federal statutes, including a Title VII's fee-shifting provision and the Equal Access to Justice Act's (EAJA) mandatory fee provision.

Jose Padilla Cannot Sue Officials for Enemy Combatant Status, Torture

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that convicted terrorist plotter Jose Padilla cannot sue U.S. government officials for alleged constitutional violations, reports Reuters.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously agreed that Padilla’s lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other government officers, alleging that he was “unconstitutionally detained and tortured” on a South Carolina military base, lacked merit. The appellate judges further ruled that Congress has exclusive jurisdiction over military detention cases, and that Congress had not provided a path for civil damages, reports the Associated Press.

Laches and Rick Perry: No Relief for Disqualified Republicans

Was a Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision the death knell of Rick Perry's presidential campaign?

On Tuesday, the Fourth Circuit rejected Perry's motion to add his name to the Virginia Republican primary ballot. Thursday morning, Perry withdrew from the race and endorsed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Coincidence?

No Supreme Court Review for Forsyth County Prayer Case

The Supreme Court rejected the Forsyth County prayer case today.

Forsyth County and the Alliance Defense Fund were appealing a July decision from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, which said that the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners (Board) could only open meetings with nonsectarian prayers.

Candidates Go to Court to Challenge Virginia Republican Primary

Do elections unmarred by court battles happen anymore?

Between birther lawsuits and Citizens United challenges to state election laws, it seems like elections, absent legal challenges, are a thing of the past.

Now, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals could decide the latest case in the long line of court-decided ballot battles.

Five Things to Know About Civil Commitment Proceedings

Here at FindLaw, we understand the pressures of being a legal professional - most of us are recovering lawyers - so we want to help by tossing you that preferred life preserver of the legal profession, the short list.

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals released two opinions this week regarding the civil commitment of sexually dangerous persons. In one case, US v. Hall, the circuit affirmed a district court decision dismissing civil commitment charges, while in the other case, US v. Timms, the court remanded the issue back to the district court to decide if the respondent met the criteria for a sexually dangerous person.

Domestic Violence Order Trumps Right to Bear Arms

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that the Second Amendment right to bear arms has its limits, particularly with regard to a person under a domestic violence order.

Applying intermediate scrutiny, the Fourth Circuit upheld a federal law that prohibits the subject of a domestic violence order from owning or possessing a firearm or ammunition. In the case, the defendant who challenged the law was bound by a domestic violence order stemming from a gun-related incident.

Cop and Feel: Don't Cut Drugs off Suspect's Penis with Knife

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals seems hung up on the "reasonable" aspect of "unreasonable search and seizure."

Case in point: Last week, the Fourth Circuit ruled that it is unreasonable to cut a bag of drugs off of a suspect's penis with a knife at night, and suppressed the evidence under the exclusionary rule.

When you finish cringing at the thought of this scenario, we'll move on to the facts.