The Top 11 Stories From the 11th Cir. for 2014
A federal judge allegedly gets into a physical fight with his wife. A lawyer gets "seized" at a security checkpoint when she refuses to take off her coat. A child pornographer gets a rehearing because his lawyer was late coming back from lunch.
These were among the most-viewed posts in FindLaw's U.S. Eleventh Circuit Blog this year (though, honestly, a lot of really good ones were missing; c'mon folks, what's wrong with bagel envy?).
For your reading enjoyment, here were the Top 11 blog posts (because it's the Eleventh Circuit, get it?) in 2014:
- Collection 'Fees' or 'Costs'? Contractual Language Nails Debt Collector -- Is it a liquidated damages provision or a "cost of collection"? It all depends on when you collect it. Pro tip: If it's even before you collect the debt, it's a cost, not a damage.
- Statute Says: Florida's Voter Purge Violated 90 Day Rule -- Federal law prohibits removing voters from election rolls within 90 days of an election. So don't drag your feet next time, Florida.
- Robin Rosenberg Gets the Nomination; Gay Judge Passed Over -- Was Judge William Thomas passed over for a seat on the Eleventh Circuit because he's gay? Maybe. Robin Rosenberg, who got nominated instead, has just as impressive a resume, but was substituted at the last minute after Sen. Marco Rubio blocked Thomas' nomination.
- Ala. Federal Judge Mark Fuller Arrested for Alleged Battery -- District Judge Mark Fuller allegedly beat up his wife during an altercation at a hotel. Even the Eleventh Circuit stepped in, reassigning his cases and basically suspending him until it figures out what to do with him.
- Democrats Waste No Time, Submit List for Appeals Court Vacancy -- A long-awaited deal came through to appoint several judges to the Eleventh Circuit, leaving just one spot vacant: the one vacated by Judge Joel Dubina, when he took senior status. Which of six Alabama lawyers got the job? (Spoiler alert: It's still vacant.)
- Ga. Lawyer's Suit Against Deputy Who 'Seized' Her Can Proceed -- A Georgia attorney entering a county courthouse could either remove her jacket (which would "improperly expose her undergarments"), leave, or be arrested. She tried to call her husband, but a deputy grabbed her. The Eleventh Circuit gave the go-ahead to a civil suit.
- Officers Enter Without a Warrant, Provoke Punch; Who Gets Sued? -- Police barge into a guy's house; one refuses to leave and gets punched. At least a civil suit against the warrantless entry isn't covered by qualified immunity; "the officers entered Morris's house without a warrant or anything remotely approaching reasonable suspicion."
- Royal Caribbean Can Be Held Liable for Passenger's Death: 11th Cir. -- A cruise ship nurse fails to diagnose head trauma, then the passenger dies. The circuit court said the cruise company was liable, thanks to the federal courts' broad authority to create maritime torts.
- Case of Child Porn Suspect With AWOL Lawyer Gets En Banc Rehearing -- Where was Alexander Roy's attorney for seven minutes during trial? Late getting back from lunch. This was enough to reverse Roy's conviction, said the court, as his attorney was absent during a "critical stage" in the proceedings.
- 11th Cir. Is Super Busy, Super Quick: Judiciary Report -- The Eleventh Circuit works fast: It disposed of more cases per three-judge panel than any other federal circuit court of appeals, even as it's the third-busiest court of appeals in the country.
- Child Porn Conviction Reversed for Failure to Examine Jury Bias -- Should potential jurors have been examined for prejudice against men who have sex with men? Yup, said the Eleventh. Cameron Bates' sexuality was part of the prosecution's case, and thus a necessary part of the defense rebuttal, so the trial court should have made sure the jury was impartial on that subject.
- Victim's Recording of Defendant Statements Not Admissible in Fla. (FindLaw's U.S. Eleventh Circuit Blog)
- 11th Cir: No Mandatory Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients (FindLaw's U.S. Eleventh Circuit Blog)
- With 11th Cir.'s Denial, Gay Marriage to Start in Fla. on Jan. 5 (FindLaw's U.S. Eleventh Circuit Blog)