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Denial of Media Groups' Request to Intervene In Blagojevich Case Reversed

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By FindLaw Staff on July 06, 2010 3:02 PM

Plus, Copyright Infringement, Criminal, and Constitutional Matters

US v. Blagojevich, 10-2359, concerned a district court's denial of motion to intervene brought by newspaper organizations and other media groups, iIn the criminal prosecution of former Illinois Governor Blagojevich, claiming that the names of jurors should be released as soon as the jurors are seated, rather than being released at the end of trial.  In reversing the district court's denial and vacating the deferred-disclosure order, the court held that before it can be determined whether the district judge abused his discretion in thinking that the presumption in favor of releasing jurors' names as soon as they are seated has been overcome, a hearing must be held so that the justification for and alternatives to the delayed release can be addressed.

US v. Bedolla-Zavala, 09-3690, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a 78-month sentence in a prosecution of defendant for distributing cocaine in excess of 500 grams.  In affirming the sentence, the court held that the district court's application of the obstruction of justice enhancement was correct because the false information defendant provided to the pretrial officer who prepared the bail report was material.

River of Life Kingdom Ministries v. Village of Hazel Crest, 08-2819, involved a church's suit seeking a preliminary injunction against the village's enforcement of a zoning ordinance that excludes new noncommercial uses from its district, under the equal-terms provision of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.  In affirming the district court's dismissal of the complaint in an en banc decision, the court held that if religious and secular land uses are treated the same from the standpoint of an accepted zoning criterion, such as "commercial district," or "residential district," or "industrial district," that is enough to rebut an equal-terms claim and thus, in this case, to show that the church is unlikely to prevail in a full litigation.

Golden v. Helen Sigman & Assoc., Ltd., No. 08-1506, concerned a challenge to the district court's judgment abstaining with respect to plaintiff's copyright infringement claim, dismissal of the remaining claims, and imposition of sanctions for not paying attorneys' fees and expenses in plaintiff's multi-count federal lawsuit against various defendants in connection with his divorce and child custody proceedings. In affirming the district court's judgment, the court held that the absolute immunity and the Rooker-Feldman doctrine bar plaintiff's section 1983 claim against the child's representative.  Further, the court held that the district court's award of attorneys' fees accurately reflects the data contained in the billing records.

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