by
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of qualified immunity to a police officer in an action brought by plaintiff, alleging that the officer used excessive force during a routine traffic stop. The court held that a police officer, like the one here, was not entitled to qualified immunity when he intentionally applies unnecessarily tight handcuffs to an arrestee who is neither resisting arrest nor attempting to flee, thereby causing serious and permanent injuries. In this case, plaintiff was in handcuffs for more than five hours and suffered nerve damage to his hands and risks. The court held that such injuries that were not de minimus. View "Sebastian v. Ortiz" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff and his wife filed a civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. 1983, on behalf of themselves and their daughter, alleging that the assistant principal violated the daughter's rights under the Fourth Amendment when he searched her cellphone, the superintendent violated plaintiff's rights under the First Amendment by restricting his communication with school personnel and access to school property and by prohibiting him from addressing the school board, and other officials violated plaintiff's rights under the Fourth Amendment when they removed him from school premises. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the school officials based on qualified immunity. The court held that the search of the cellphone did not violate clearly established law; the superintendent did not violate clearly established law when he prohibited plaintiff from appearing on school premises and from addressing the school board; and the school officials did not violate clearly established law by removing plaintiff from the volleyball game. View "Jackson v. McCurry" on Justia Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's 300 month sentence imposed after he was convicted of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking offense, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The court held that defendant's prior Florida state conviction for battery of a jail detainee qualified as a crime of violence under the Sentencing Guidelines, because defendant's conviction for battery necessarily was for intentionally causing bodily harm. View "United States v. Gandy" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
Plaintiffs filed suit challenging a policy that the Georgia Board of Regents set requiring Georgia's three most selective colleges and universities to verify the "lawful presence" of all the students they admit. Plaintiffs, students who are otherwise qualified to attend these schools, are lawfully present in the country based on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) memorandum. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the action, holding that the policy did not regulate immigration, was not field preempted, and was not conflict preempted. As to plaintiffs’ equal protection claim, the court declined to extend strict scrutiny and heightened scrutiny, holding that the policy was rationally related to the state's legitimate interest in responsibly investing state resources. In this case, the Regents could have decided to prioritize those students who are more likely to stay in Georgia after graduation, and the Regents might have decided that DACA recipients were less likely to do so because they are removable at any time. The court reasoned that it would be rational for the Regents to conclude that refugees, parolees, and asylees were more likely to stay in Georgia after graduation because they have more permanent ties to the United States than DACA recipients. Therefore, refugees, parolees, and asylees were not similarly situated to DACA recipients. View "Estrada v. Becker" on Justia Law

by
Defendant purported to bring a direct criminal appeal, alleging that the government breached the terms of their plea agreement. After sentencing, defendant filed an untitled document in the district court stating her intent to file a collateral attack. The Eleventh Circuit dismissed the appeal based on lack of jurisdiction. The court held that defendant's filing reflected her understanding of her waiver of a direct appeal under the plea agreement, and the filing did not comply with the jurisdictional requirements for a notice of appeal under Rule 3 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. View "United States v. Padgett" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress evidence of a firearm recovered from his person by police. Defendant had conditionally pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court held that defendant's encounter with the detectives was part of a lawful traffic stop where the detectives had probable cause to believe that the driver of the vehicle was committing a traffic violation. Moreover, the detectives were justified in briefly detaining defendant while conducting the traffic stop and citing the driver. The court also held that the seizure of the firearm from defendant's pocket only seconds after detectives came onto the scene was likewise lawful. View "United States v. Gibbs" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's decision holding petitioner inadmissible because he falsely represented himself as a citizen when applying for a Georgia driver's license. Petitioner argued that he simply checked the wrong box, and that citizenship did not affect the application. The court held that it did not have jurisdiction to review petitioner's claim because it was a factual matter regarding whether he checked the wrong box and thus lacked the requisite subjective intent to trigger the statute. The court also held that it did not have to defer to the Board's interpretation of Matter of Richmond, 26 I. & N. Dec. 779, 786–87 (BIA 2016), finding a materiality element in 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(6)(C)(ii)(I). Rather, the statute did not require that citizenship be material to the purpose or benefit sought. View "Patel v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

by
The Body Shops filed suit alleging that defendant insurance companies colluded to lower repair prices by improperly pressuring the shops to lower prices and by threatening to boycott those who did not comply. The Body Shops claimed a per se price-fixing conspiracy and a per se conspiracy to boycott, as well as state law claims. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of all of the Body Shop's federal antitrust and state law claims except the tortious interference claims. Although the court held that the unjust enrichment and quantum meruit claims of the Body Shops were wholly without merit, the court vacated the district court's judgment as to the tortious interference claims because the court was not persuaded by the district court's grounds for concluding that the allegations of tortious interference in each of these five cases violated the group pleading doctrine, i.e., failed to give fair notice to each defendant of the claim being made against it. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Quality Auto Painting Center of Roselle, Inc. v. State Farm Indemnity Co." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against the county and others, alleging that they violated her First Amendment rights by retaliating against her for engaging in protected speech regarding medical clearance decisions for firefighter applicants. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment and denial of reconsideration, holding that plaintiff spoke as an employee and not as a private citizen. In this case, plaintiff worked under contract with the county and, for fifteen years, was the primary person responsible for determining whether firefighter applicants were medically qualified. View "King v. Board of County Commissioners" on Justia Law

by
Amodeo pleaded guilty to involvement in a criminal scheme to divert his clients’ payroll taxes. He agreed to forfeit many assets, including the ownership of two shell corporations. The district court entered a preliminary forfeiture order that divested Amodeo of those assets. After no third parties asserted an interest in the corporations, the court entered a final forfeiture order that transferred ownership of them to the government. Years later, the corporations were named as defendants in a lawsuit brought by victims of Amodeo’s scheme. The government then successfully moved to vacate the final forfeiture order as to the corporations. Amodeo appealed the partial vacatur on the ground that the district court lacked the authority to enter it. The Eleventh Circuit dismissed his appeal. The partial vacatur caused him no injury, so Amodeo lacks standing to complain about it regardless of whether or not the district court possessed authority. View "United States v. Amodeo" on Justia Law