U.S. Third Circuit - The FindLaw 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


Ex-Congressman Wins Reversal of Bribery Convictions, But...

It's news when a congressman's bribery convictions are overturned, but that's because sometimes the news and politics are backwards.

In United States of America v. Fattah, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals threw out four bribery convictions against Chaka Fattah. The real news, however, is that the appeals court affirmed 13 other corruption convictions -- each carrying a 10-year sentence.

If you do the math, it was not exactly a win for the decades-long congressman. In any case, his political career is definitely over.

Drivers Get No Love From Court for Toll Road Debts

Toll booth operators have pretty boring jobs, but they might get a jolt out of this federal court decision.

In St. Pierre v. Retrieval-Masters Creditors Bureau, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said that unpaid tolls are not debts under federal debt collections law. If that sounds complicated, it comes down to this:

If drivers don't pay their tolls, debt collectors can chase them down with a vengeance.

Court: No Religious Reason Around Administrative Process

For the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, it will take more than a prayer to stop a natural gas pipeline.

Not even a lawsuit helped the sisters of the Roman Catholic organization who sued to stop the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. In Adorers of Blood of Christ v. FERC, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said they should have objected during administrative proceedings first.

The sisters sued on religious freedom grounds, but the appeals court washed its hands of the case. Their only chance now will be a petition to God or the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the rule in a Pennsylvania school district allowing students to use the bathroom that conforms with their gender identity.

The rule is designed to ensure that transgender students are not discriminated against when it comes to using the restroom. If this sounds familiar, that's because this controversial case made headlines when Third Circuit ruled the same way back in June.

A recent decision out of federal Eastern District of Pennsylvania explains that a religious family services organization in Philadelphia cannot discriminate against prospective parents based on sexual orientation.

The case was filed by an organization called Catholic Social Services, challenging the City of Philadelphia's denial of that organization's placement of children. The organization asserted that it has a right to deny placement of children into homes that violate its religious beliefs. However, the court found that no such right existed and that the city's application of its non-discrimination laws was proper.

TSA Agents Not Liable for Assaults, False Arrests

You know that feeling you get when airport screeners pat you down or invade your luggage?

Well, maybe not you in particular, but those other guys who get treated like suspected bombers when they're just having a bad day. It's not funny when people get singled out by security for no good reason.

Unfortunately, it's going to get worse because a federal appeals court said airport screeners are immune from liability for assaults, false arrests and other intentional abuses. Let's just hope they get the real bad guys.

No Constitutional Right to Cash Money Bail, 3rd Circuit Rules

The Constitution does not guarantee the right to bail. That's not news, and the Eighth Amendment explains it.

The Constitution does not guarantee the right to cash-money bail, either. That is news and probably requires some explanation.

In Holland v. Rosen, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said a criminal defendant has no federal right to deposit money or to obtain a corporate surety to ensure future appearance in court. It confirmed what lawmakers had been saying in New Jersey for years.

3rd Circuit Cites #MeToo 'Firestorm' in Reviving Sex Harassment Claim

Thomas Yadlosky was a hugger, to say the least.

According to allegations in Minarsky v. Susquehanna County, he was also a sexual harasser at work. He allegedly sent Sheri Marinsky sexually explicit email, tried to kiss her on the lips, and embraced her from behind.

She wanted none of it, but didn't complain to her employer. The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling in her favor, said it's about #MeToo time.

Convicted Rapist Gets Hearing on Bias Based on Old Email

A convicted rapist will get a hearing to see if his case was improperly transferred due to bias, a state appeals court said.

Tito Rivera was sentenced to 80 to 160 years in prison for robbing five men and raping a woman in 2008. But in Rivera v. Sci, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said he deserves another hearing.

The appeals panel said a trial judge erred by not allowing Rivera to present evidence of bias. According to reports, the rape victim's uncle requested the transfer to the sentencing judge.

Senator Blasts Third Circuit Nominee on Social Media

If tweetstorms are real, then judicial nominee David Porter must feel like a lightning rod in the twitterverse right now.

Sen. Bob Casey fired off a series of Twitter attacks at Porter, who is a nominee for the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Porter is a Pennsylvania attorney like Casey, but they are clearly on opposing political sides.

Porter barely made it out of a Senate judiciary committee, and now Casey aims to take him down before the confirmation hearing. With a 280-character limit, however, it might be too little too late.