(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Eleventh Circuit Six cases from the Eleventh Circuit yesterday (only quick descriptions because I'm getting ready to go out of town):

Knight v. Miami reverses the denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity, in a Fourth Amendment case. Because the law on qualified immunity in Fourth Amendment cases is somewhat sui generis, this opinion doesn't answer the looming question of what the Circuit will do with Hope v. Pelzer. The case does hold that, though warrantless arrests inside the home are generally unconstitutional, it's ok for the police to tell you sternly to come outside and then arrest you without a warrant.

U.S. v. Quintana (1) upholds a local rule requiring motions for downward departure to be filed no later than 5 days before sentencing; and (2) holds that, although the defendant was not permitted to allocute (i.e., address the court at the sentencing hearing) this was not reversible error because the defendant got the low end of the guidelines sentence anyway.

Isaacs v. Head denies habeas corpus relief in a capital case, in a long opinion that I haven't had a chance to digest yet. Among other things, the defendant's state-court trial was opened with an official prayer, but the Eleventh Circuit refuses to grant relief on that account; and there is an issue as to the applicability of the AEDPA that divides the panel here.

SEC v. ETS Payphones holds that some weird deal about leasing payphones, which the SEC said was really a Ponzi scheme, didn't constitute an "investment contract" within the jurisdiction of the SEC. If you understand the difference between "horizontal commonality" and "vertical commonality" and if this is important to your practice, you should read this case.

Chavis v. Clayton County School Dist. holds that "race-based retaliatory conduct aimed against a person who testified truthfully in criminal court in a way that was helpful to a person of a particular race -- the "wrong" race in Defendants' eyes" -- is actionable under 42 U.S.C. sec. 1985(2).

US v. Sigma Int'l -- not yet up on Findlaw, I think -- refuses (en banc) to grant a name-clearing hearing to a former AUSA who was slammed in a prior panel opinion. The main reason, it appears, is that the panel opinion was vacated when the case was taken en banc (and then the case was settled), so the Court treats the panel opinion, which had criticized the lawyer, as a nullity that doesn't justify any further action. This leaves open the question whether lawyers who are slammed in other Circuit opinions, which are not vacated, will be entitled to any name-clearing process.

posted by sam 7:23 AM 0 comments


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