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The Eleventh Circuit granted in part and denied in part defendants' motion for panel rehearing, granted defendants' motion for publication of the opinion, vacated its prior opinion, and substituted the following opinion. Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and 1988 and Florida law, alleging claims of excessive force, false arrest, false imprisonment, battery/unnecessary force, and malicious prosecution, arising from Lieutenant Smith's arrest of plaintiff. A jury returned a verdict for defendants and the district court denied plaintiff's motion for new trial. The court held that the district court abused its discretion in not asking the jury plaintiff's proposed voir dire question, which was: "Do you harbor any biases or prejudices against persons who are gay or homosexual?" Given the pretrial documentation concerning plaintiff's homosexual relationships, and the characterization of the altercation that led to his arrest as a domestic dispute, the risk that latent, undiscovered prejudices may have influenced the jury's verdict was substantial. Furthermore, the error was not harmless. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "Berthiaume v. Smith" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, an inmate, filed a pro se complaint against a Peace Officer and others under 42 U.S.C. 1983. Plaintiff filed suit more than two years after the alleged incident giving rise to his claim occurred, but filed his renewed suit within six months of filing his initial suit. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claim and held that the Georgia Supreme Court would construe O.C.G.A. 9-11-41(d) to require payment of costs before involuntary dismissals may be renewed under O.C.G.A. 9-2-61, Georgia's renewal statute; the court was not persuaded that the Georgia Supreme Court would allow plaintiff to rely on an extension of the good-faith exception to save his claim; and the court found no support for the assertion that the Georgia Supreme Court would construe Georgia's renewal statute to deem plaintiff to have met the cost-payment requirement under the circumstances of this case. View "Hancock v. Cape" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants in an action alleging excessive force against Daniel Hammett. Hammett was shot and killed by an officer in a confrontation during the course of executing a warrant. The court held that plaintiff failed to produce evidence that suggested the "split-second judgments" of officers violated the Fourth Amendment as they responded to the "tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving" events of the day. In this case, the actions of Defendant Horsley and Whitener were objectively reasonable and Defendant Mayfield was entitled to summary judgment because his bullet did not strike Hammett. View "Hammett v. Paulding County, Georgia" on Justia Law

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Petitioner appealed the district court's order dismissing her motion to vacate, set aside, or correct her sentence, filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2255. The Eleventh Circuit held that it lacked jurisdiction over the appeal because the district court's dismissal constituted a final order within the meaning of section 2253 and no certificate of appealability had been issued. Accordingly, the court dismissed the appeal without prejudice. View "Jackson v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eleventh Circuit withdrew its prior opinion and issued this opinion in its place. The court affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's 28 U.S.C. 2254 habeas petition and held that the state court's denial of his Brady claim was entitled to deference under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 and that the state court's denial was neither an unreasonable determination of the facts nor an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law. View "Rimmer v. Secretary, FL DOC" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of relief in an action brought by SCL Basilisk against Thorco for an order requiring the posting of a security by Agribusiness Savannah, Agribusiness United, Agribusiness United DMCC, and Sonada, in aid of a pending international arbitration in London, United Kingdom. The underlying petition arose out of a commercial dispute between the parties over the performance of a charter agreement. The court held that the relief sought by plaintiffs was not authorized by Rule B of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions, Georgia law, or principles of maritime law. View "SCL Basilisk AG v. Agribusiness United Savannah Logistics LLC" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction after he pleaded guilty to drug and firearm offenses. The court held that the district court did not clearly err in applying a base offense level of 20 based on defendant's prior conviction of a controlled substance offense; the district court did not err in calculating defendant's criminal history score; the district court did not clearly err by finding that defendant was convicted of selling heroin on school grounds, as well as two other New York convictions; and, even if the district court did err with respect to those New York convictions, any such error was harmless. View "United States v. Luis Alicea" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Alabama's first degree sexual abuse statute, as interpreted by the Alabama Supreme Court, does not necessarily include as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of violent physical force. Defendant appealed his sentence after being convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The Eleventh Circuit held that the district court erred in concluding that defendant's prior Alabama conviction for first degree sexual abuse was a violent felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act's, 18 U.S.C. 924(e), elements clause. Accordingly, the court vacated defendant's sentence and remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Davis" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the denial of disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income (SSI) to plaintiff. The court held that substantial evidence supported the ALJ's decision to give little weight to the treating physician's opinion because it was inconsistent with his own medical records and the records as a whole; the ALJ's finding that plaintiff had the residual functioning capacity (RFC) to perform a full range of unskilled sedentary work was supported by substantial evidence; Social Security Ruling 16-3p applied only prospectively and did not provide a basis for remand; and the Appeals Council was not required to consider new evidence because it was not chronologically relevant. View "Hargress v. Social Security Administration" on Justia Law

Posted in: Public Benefits

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and his sentence of fifteen years in prison under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e)(1). The court held that the district court did not err in determining that defendant's two convictions for distribution of cocaine and one conviction for participation in a conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine qualified as predicate offenses for a sentence enhancement under the ACCA. The court also held that defendant's three remaining arguments —that the district court erred in looking at the dates of his prior convictions because they were "non-elemental facts," that his sentence enhancement violates his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights, and that his statute of conviction was unconstitutional—were directly foreclosed by Eleventh Circuit and Supreme Court precedent. View "United States v. Longoria" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law