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

December 2012 Archives

30 Years for $40 of Interstate Commerce; Fleeing Still a Violent Felony

Carter Tillery walked into the Petersburg, Virginia branch of Swan Dry Cleaners, brandished a firearm, and walked out with a laptop and $40 to $100 in cash. He made the sole employee strip to her underwear and tied her up. He was caught after trying to sell the laptop to the barbershop next-door.

Truth be told, the conviction was a foregone conclusion. Though the employee's description of Tillery was mildly inaccurate, she identified him from a photo lineup, as did the barber who bought the laptop. Police found weapons stashed in an abandoned motel near where Tillery was staying. He also confessed the entire ordeal, in excruciating detail, to a snitching cellmate.

Illegal Immigrants Don't Have Second Amendment Rights

Illegal immigrants don't have a right to bear arms, according to a recent Fourth Circuit decision.

The Richmond-based appellate court sided with its sister circuits last week, finding that Second Amendment rights are reserved for those who abide by the law.

Fourth Circuit Dismisses Federal Claims in Duke Lacrosse Suit

We all remember the Duke lacrosse rape allegations, right? In 2007, an exotic dancer claimed that she was raped at lacrosse team party. Over the course of a few hours, the details of her story changed. She was attacked by three men. No, she wasn’t attacked at all. She was attacked by as many as 20 men.

The evidence — including extensive DNA analysis — simply didn’t support her claims. Even the prosecutor, former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong — looked at the lack of evidence and said, “You know, we’re f**ked.”

We’re just spit-balling here, but it seems like the “f**ked” stage is where you abandon a case. Or at least set it aside for a a second look. But, at Nifong’s direction, Durham authorities doubled down. Search warrants were executed. College students were indicted.

And when the charges were ultimately dropped, lawsuits were filed.

Pro Tip: Don't Plan Your Bribery Scheme in Your Email

FindLaw Tip 1: Don't be a shady politician who trades funding for favors.

FindLaw Tip 2: If you insist on being a shady politician, don't document your illegal activity in a government email account.

"Wait!" you say. "Certainly the marital communications privilege will cover me if I only email my spouse to explain the scheme?"

Except that it won't.

Dogfighting Defendant's Appeal All Bark, No Bite

Harry Hargrove -- a "legend" in the dogfighting community -- was sentenced to five years for an Animal Welfare Act violation. Recently, he appealed his sentence.

Fortunately, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals had as little sympathy for Hargrove's arguments as we have for people who abuse animals.

Hargrove wanted the Fourth Circuit to roll over on his sentence; the appellate court, however, agreed that society would be better off with Hargrove doing a sit and stay in prison for the next five years.

Appellate Court Gets First Grab at TSA Patdown Lawsuit

A passenger has two options when he gets stuck in the advanced imaging technology (AIT) scanner line at the airport: Accept that the naked scanner has become a part of the travel process, or opt-out of the scanner and into a trés personal patdown. According to Jonathan Blitz, that's not really an option at all.

Blitz sued Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John Pistole, (collectively, “The Man”), challenging the AIT scanners and invasive pat-downs at airport screening checkpoints.