Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

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A second-in-time collateral claim based on a newly revealed actionable Brady violation is not second-or-successive for purposes of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. Consequently, such a claim is cognizable, regardless of whether it meets AEDPA's second-or-successive gatekeeping criteria. The Eleventh Circuit urged the district court to rehear this case en banc in order to reevaluate the framework in Tompkins v. Secretary, Department of Corrections, 557 F.3d 1257 (11th Cir. 2009). The court in Tompkins held that a second-in-time collateral motion based on a newly revealed Brady violation is not cognizable if it does not satisfy one of AEDPA's gatekeeping criteria for second-or-successive motions. The court explained that Tompkins was indistinguishable from the facts and law in this case, but Tompkins was fatally flawed and the rule established in Tompkins eliminated the sole fair opportunity for petitioners to obtain relief. Because the court was bound by Tompkins, the court held that petitioner's 2011 motion was second or successive under 28 U.S.C. 2255(h). View "Scott v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Amendment permits forensic searches of electronic devices at the border without suspicion. Defendant appealed the denial of his motions to suppress the child pornography found on electronic devices that he carried with him when he entered the country and the fruit of later searches. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the judgment, holding that precedents about border searches of property make clear that no suspicion was necessary to search electronic devices at the border. In the alternative, the court held that the border agents had reasonable suspicion to search defendant's electronic devices. View "United States v. Touset" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for unlawful procurement of naturalization because he concealed from immigration authorities his past as a guard at a Serbian prison camp. The court held that the district court did not err when it prevented defendant from presenting hearsay statements of foreign witnesses who were unavailable to testify at trial; defendant failed to demonstrate that his constitutional right to present a complete defense was violated under Chambers v. Mississippi, 410 U.S. 284 (1973); assuming arguendo that the Geneva Convention could be judicially noticed, the district court did not err in determining that its probative value was substantially outweighed by the possibility of confusing the issues and potentially misleading the jury; and the district court did not violate defendant's rights under Chambers when it declined to take judicial notice. View "United States v. Mitrovic" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit granted respondents' motion to dismiss this appeal as moot and vacated the prior published opinion. In this case, petitioner was removed from the United States and was no longer detained in immigration custody. Both sides agree that the appeal has become moot. View "Sopo v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's convictions for the use of an unauthorized access device and aggravated identity theft. The court held that the district court abused its discretion by excluding lay identification testimony from a defense witness while admitting similar testimony from a government witness, but the error was harmless because the defense presented identification testimony from other witnesses. View "United States v. Knowles" on Justia Law

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After police officers interrupt what they reasonably believe to be a residential burglary and detain two suspects just outside of the house, they can thereafter lawfully enter the home—without a warrant, and without further suspicion of wrongdoing—to briefly search for additional perpetrators and potential victims. The Eleventh Circuit held that the suspected burglary presented an exigent circumstance that justified a warrantless entry and search. Accordingly, the officers in this case did not violate the Fourth Amendment, and the court reversed the district court's denial of summary judgment and remanded with instructions to grant the officers' motion for summary judgment. View "Montanez v. Carvajal" on Justia Law

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The State Executive Clemency Board appealed the district court's orders in favor of appellees James Michael Hand and eight other convicted felons who have completed their sentences and sought to regain their voting rights in Florida. The Eleventh Circuit held that the State Executive Clemency Board has made a sufficient showing under Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418, 426 (2009), to warrant a stay. The court explained that the Fourteenth Amendment expressly empowered the states to abridge a convicted felon's right to vote; binding precedent held that the Governor had broad discretion to grant and deny clemency, even when the applicable regime lacked any standards; and, although a reenfranchisement scheme could violate equal protection if it had both the purpose and effect of invidious discrimination, appellees have not alleged -- let alone established as undisputed facts -- that Florida's scheme has a discriminatory purpose or effect. View "Hand v. Scott" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of a writ of habeas corpus vacating his convictions pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2254. The court held that petitioner was not denied due process or access to the courts because he was unable—due to the unavailability of a transcript of his criminal trial—to prove in collaterally attacking his convictions that his trial attorneys rendered ineffective assistance of counsel in violation of his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The court held that the state court's decision affirming the collateral-attack court's denial of relief was not contrary to, nor involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established United States Supreme Court precedent. View "Bush v. Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of a 28 U.S.C. 2254 petition for writ of habeas corpus. The court held that federal habeas relief was not warranted on petitioner's claim that his Sixth Amendment right to self-representation was violated under Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975). The court held that there was no basis to conclude that the Florida Supreme Court's denial of petitioner's Sixth Amendment self-representation claim was either contrary to or an unreasonable application of Supreme Court precedent, or that it resulted from an unreasonable determination of the facts. View "Barnes v. Secretary, Department of Corrections" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed Defendant Whitman's conviction and Defendant McCarty's sentence for convictions of bribery, wire fraud, theft, and obstruction involving government contracts. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it refused to give a lesser-included-offense instruction on giving illegal gratuities. The court also held that the district court did not clearly err when it calculated McCarty's sentencing guidelines range using the loss amount caused by all participants in the jointly undertaken criminal scheme. View "United States v. Whitman" on Justia Law