U.S. Second Circuit - The FindLaw 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

November 2011 Archives

Senate Confirms Christopher Droney for Second Circuit

Congress was back to business on Monday following the Thanksgiving break. The Senate unanimously confirmed Judge Christopher Droney for the Second Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday in an 88-0 vote.

Droney, who was nominated in May, will fill Judge Guido Calabresi’s seat. The American Bar Association rated him as “well-qualified” for the seat.

DA Wins Prosecutorial Immunity in Material Witness Order Dispute

Dick Wolf taught us the basics of criminal prosecution long before law professors could shape our malleable minds. "In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police who investigate crime and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders."

As it applies to our world now, we view these "two, separate, yet equally important groups" in terms of qualified immunity and prosecutorial immunity.

Frankly, we get so wrapped up in police officers' qualified immunity appeals that we forget about absolute prosecutorial immunity. That changes - at least briefly - today with this Second Circuit Court of Appeals opinion.

Second Circuit Tosses Joseph Bruno Convictions, Retrial Granted

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned former New York Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno’s conviction on Wednesday, granting the fallen leader a retrial on federal corruption charges.

Bruno was convicted in 2009 on two counts of honest services mail fraud, but acquitted of five other honest services mail fraud counts. The court declared a mistrial on one count after a jury deadlock.

Prior to trial, Bruno moved to dismiss the indictment against him on the ground that the honest services statute was unconstitutionally vague as applied to cases charging only the nondisclosure of conflicts of interest. The district court denied the motion. Bruno again appealed following his conviction.

Rastafarian's Attorneys Fees Limited in PLRA Dread-Touching Claim

“Don’t touch my junk” became an anti-TSA rallying cry last year after a San Diego software programmer objected to an enhanced patdown in an airport security line. Perhaps this year’s privacy catchphrase can be “don’t touch my dreads.”

That’s because touching a Rastafarian’s dreadlocks can interfere with his free exercise of religion.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that a Rastafarian can collect damages and attorney’s fees for dreadlock infringement, but those amounts are limited under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA).

Foundation Wins Specialty License Plate Free Speech Rights Battle

A federal district judge ruled Tuesday that the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) cannot discriminate against the Children First Foundation in its quest to add a “Choose Life” license plate to the state’s custom license plate lineup.

The case, Children First Foundation v. Martinez, has worked its way through the federal court system, bouncing from the district court, to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and back since Eliot Spitzer’s pre-Ashley Dupré days in the AG’s Office. This week, Senior District Judge Neil McCurn ordered New York DMV Commissioner Barbara Fiala to approve the Children First Foundation’s “Choose Life” custom plate design application.

Widower's Anti-Terrorism Act 9/11 Lawsuit Can Proceed

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that a widower could move forward with limited discovery in his 9/11 lawsuit alleging Afghanistan's involvement in the September 11 attacks.

Plaintiff-Appellee John Doe, whose wife died in the al-Qaeda attacks, filed suit in 2002 against Osama Bin Laden and Afghanistan. Doe's complaint alleged assault and battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, conspiracy, wrongful death and violation of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

2011 NBA Lockout Sparks Union Decertification Talk

We have sports on the brain as we prepare for the most important football game of the year this weekend, so we're taking a break from our usual coverage of attorney sanctions and standing to check on the progress of the 2011 NBA Lockout.

How, you might wonder, is the players' lockout related to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals?

We're glad you asked.

Attorney Sanctions for Frivolous Appeal in 9/11 'Truther' Lawsuit

Ever wonder how much the Second Circuit Court of Appeals hates frivolous claims? In October, the court not only upheld dismissal in Gallop v. Cheney, (the 9/11 Truther Lawsuit), it sanctioned the attorneys behind the case for filing a frivolous appeal.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of U.S. Army Specialist April Gallop, alleged that the Pentagon was not hit by American Airlines Flight 77 - or any plane, for that matter - but bombed by a coalition of the most senior U.S. military and civilian leaders in an attempt to implement radical changed in the government.