January 2014 RSS feed for this section

Eleventh Circuit Interprets Provision of Immigration and Nationality Act as Eliminating Remarriage Bar to Immigration Status Adjustment

In Williams v. Sec’y, No. 13-11270 (Jan. 17, 2014), the Eleventh Circuit considered whether the remarriage bar in 8 U.S.C. § 1151(b)(2)(A)(i) applied to an application to adjust immigration status in light of the recently enacted 8 U.S.C. § 1154(l), which allows the reopening of a beneficiary-petition that has been denied because the qualifying U.S. […]

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Eleventh Circuit Finds Co-Defendants’ Sixth Amendment Rights Not Violated After Defendant Flees Courtroom

In United States v. Stanley, Harris, No. 12-11126 (Jan. 6, 2014), the Eleventh Circuit held that a co-defendant (“Harris”) validly waived his right to counsel by fleeing the courtroom moments after moving to represent himself. Thus according to the Court, the district court did not err by refusing to allow standby counsel to represent the […]

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Eleventh Circuit Determines Treating Alabama Burglary Convictions for ACCA Enhancement Amounts to Plain Error

In United States v. Jones, No. 11-11273, the Eleventh Circuit decided whether an Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) enhancement of a defendant’s sentence was proper in light of the Supreme Court decision of Descamps v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013). In the recent case United States v. Howard, No. 12-15756, 2014 WL 630657 (11th […]

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Eleventh Circuit Upholds Conviction of Defendant for Assaulting a Federal Officer

In United States v. Gutierrez, No. 12-13809 (Jan. 16, 2014), the Eleventh Circuit decided whether to uphold the district court’s conviction of a defendant for assaulting a federal officer, which resulted in bodily injury, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111(a)(1) and (b). The Eleventh Circuit’s determination involved a detailed analysis of jury instruction issues […]

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Eleventh Circuit Finds Failure to Appear in FTC Proceeding Insufficient to Establish “Willful Blindness”

In United States v. Mathauda, No. 11-13558 (Jan. 21, 2014), the Eleventh Circuit considered whether willful blindness to a court order satisfies the knowing requirement of United States Sentencing Guideline § 2B1.1(b)(8)(C), which provides a two-level sentence enhancement for violating a “prior, specific judicial . . . order.”  This case involved the conviction of Mathauda […]

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Eleventh Circuit Finds Conviction Under Alabama Burglary Statute Fails to Qualify for ACCA Generic Burglary Enhancement

In United States v. Howard, No. 12-15756 (Feb. 19, 2014), the Eleventh Circuit revisited the earlier decision of United State v. Ranier, 616 F.3d 1212 (11th Cir. 2010) in light of the recent Supreme Court decision of Descamps v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2276 (2013). In Ranier, when the court decided that third-degree burglary convictions […]

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Eleventh Circuit Holds Jury Findings of Fact of Prior Convictions Not Required for Increased Sentences

In U.S. v. Harris, No. 12-14482 (Jan. 28, 2014), the Eleventh Circuit considered whether a sentence can be increased because of prior convictions without a jury finding the fact of those convictions and also whether 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c) and 21 U.S.C. § 851 violate the U.S. Constitution. 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c) states that a […]

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Eleventh Circuit Holds For Standing, Beneficial Owner of Copyrighted Work Need Not Personally Register the Copyright

In Smith v. Casey, No. 13-12351, the Eleventh Circuit considered whether an author of a musical composition had standing to sue for infringement under the Copyright Act, when his publisher had registered the copyright. In order for standing to sue on a copyright in infringement claim, 17 U.S.C. § 411(a) requires “preregistration or registration of […]

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Eleventh Circuit Finds Failure to Challenge Sinks Insurance Contract Claims

In Sapuppo v. Allstate Floridian Ins. Co., No. 13-11558 (Jan. 7, 2014), the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the FRCP 12(b)(6) dismissal of four contract claims stemming from alleged violations of Chapter 2007-1 of the Laws of Florida, a consumer relief bill aimed at containing the costs of private insurance costs in the wake of a series […]

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Eleventh Circuit Decides ERISA Requires Consideration of SSA Application When Evaluating a Disability Claim

In Melech v. Life Insurance Company of North America, No. 12-14999 (Jan. 6, 2014) the Eleventh Circuit considered whether, under the Employee Retirement Income Act (“ERISA”) of 1974, 29 USC §§ 1001-1461, a life insurance company evaluating a disability claim may ignore the results of the Social Security Administration’s (“SSA”) decision on a disability claim […]

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