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

July 2012 Archives

Court Rules for Buffalo in Firefighter Discrimination Lawsuit

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals weighed in on a firefighter discrimination lawsuit this week, finding that the city of Buffalo, New York, did not discriminate against African-Americans with the test it used to promote firefighters, Thomson Reuters News & Insight reports.

In upholding the test results, the Second Circuit concluded that an employer can show that "promotional examinations having a disparate impact on a protected class are job related and supported by business necessity when the job analysis that produced the test relied on data not specific to the employer at issue."

Let's Get Metaphysical: Life Minus Time Served Equals...?

Michael Cassesse was sentenced to 12 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release for supervised release violation stemming from a racketeering conviction. He argued to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals that the 12 months in prison for the supervised release violation should have been subtracted from the lifetime term of supervised release.

But is there a practical way to deduct the 12 months?

No Need for Civil Commitment Warning in Plea Bargain

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals held this week that a judge is not required to inform a child pornography defendant that his plea bargain could lead to civil commitment as a sexually dangerous person at the end of his prison term.

According to the appellate court, due process and Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure do not require the district court to advise a defendant of the possibility.

Court Can Order Third Party to Sell Felon's Arsenal

Alan Zaleski likes his firepower. After discovering a large cache of firearms, ammunition, and explosives at Zaleski's home in Berlin, Conn., police arrested Zaleski and seized the weapons. Zaleski was indicted and ultimately convicted of 15 counts of possessing machine guns, one count of possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number, and 12 counts of possessing firearms, silencers, and destructive devices that were not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.

Following his conviction, Zaleski was left with an unusual problem: Despite the fact that he was busted for illegal firearms, he also owned lawfully-obtained weapons.

Court Revives Grant Thornton Securities Fraud Lawsuit

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals revived a securities fraud lawsuit on Thursday accusing Grant Thornton LLP (GT) of defrauding Winstar Communications shareholders and bondholders, reports Reuters. Winstar, a GT auditing client, went bankrupt in 2001.

Winstar was a broadband communications company that provided wireless Internet connectivity to various businesses. GT served as Winstar's independent auditor from 1994 until Winstar filed for bankruptcy in April 2001. GT had regarded Winstar as "one of its largest and most important clients," according to court filings.

Federal Judge Offers Inside Look at Courts 'Disrobed'

Disrobed is not a legal bodice-ripper, as its title might suggest. (Come to think of it, there’s a serious void of legal bodice-rippers.) Instead, it’s an inside look at the District Court for the Eastern District of New York, presented through the eyes of Senior Judge Frederic Block.

Judge Block should have an interesting perspective on the inner workings of the federal courts: Appointed to the district court in 1994 by President Bill Clinton, Judge Block spent nearly 20 years as a federal judge, presiding over big-name cases, like the Crown Heights Riots trial and the trials of mafia boss Peter Gotti and nightclub magnate Peter Gatien.

3 Tips to Help Lawyers Survive the Summer Heat Wave

With the heat wave sweeping the country right now, you might be wondering: How can an attorney beat the heat in triple digit temperatures?

The best solution may to be turn to tactics your Southern (and prepster) colleagues have been employing for years: summer dressing.

Federal Preemption Bars NYC Smoking Scare Tactics

New York City can’t scare smokers away from tobacco by ordering anti-smoking signs next to cigarette displays; that’s the federal government’s job.

Tuesday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a 2009 city Board of Health resolution requiring tobacco retailers to display signs bearing graphic images showing the negative health effects of smoking, reports The Associated Press.

2nd Cir. Grants Equitable Relief for 11-Year-Old Habeas Petition

After 20 years in prison, Hector Rivas could get another shot at a trial, reports Thomson Reuters News & Insight.

Monday, a Second Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that a showing of actual innocence trumps the §2244(d) statute of limitations in a habeas appeal.

Court Stands By Head Stand Lawyer Stewart's 10-Year Sentence

When a defendant receives an arguably-light sentence for a conviction, she should be thankful. She should not, however, express her gratitude by telling the gathered masses on the courthouse steps that she could do the prison term standing on her head. That’s because she could be subject to re-sentencing pending an appeal.

Lynne Stewart learned that lesson the hard way after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals instructed the district court to re-sentence her to determine whether she had committed perjury during her trial, and whether her conduct as a lawyer triggers the special-skill/abuse-of-trust enhancement under the Sentencing Guidelines.

NYC Not Required to Offer More Wheelchair-Accessible Taxicabs

New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) is not required to provide wheelchair-accessible taxicabs under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), according to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

On Thursday, the appellate court reversed a temporary injunction ordering the city to develop a plan to expand its fleet of accessible taxis, noting that TLC had not denied wheelchair-bound customers an opportunity to participate in TLC’s services, reports Thomson Reuters News & Insight.