In United States v. Perez, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that Defendant-Appellant Roberto Arturo Perez’s conduct while robbing two banks did not constitute threats of death, vacating Perez’s sentence and remanding to the District Court for the Southern District of Florida for resentencing. This case had no bearing on Perez’s guilt, as he pled guilty to both charges. Following his guilty plea, Perez was assigned a combined adjusted offense level of twenty-three in his Pre-Sentence Investigation Report which included a two-level enhancement for making threats of death. Based on this offense level and criminal history category, Perez’s sentencing guideline range was forty-six to fifty-seven months in prison. Perez appealed, arguing that the district court erred in applying the two-level threat-of-death enhancement during his sentencing. On appeal, the court ultimately agreed with Perez that his conduct would not have generated a fear of death in a reasonable person; therefore, the appeals court remanded the case to the district court for resentencing.
For Cambridge Christian School (Cambridge), prayer before football games is a “long standing tradition.” A student, parent, or school employee delivers a prayer over a loudspeaker at all home events and at away events when possible. However, at the 2015 Florida Division 2A high school state championship game, against University Christian School (University), Cambridge was denied the use of the loudspeaker by the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA). This decision prompted Cambridge to bring a lawsuit, raising claims under the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of both the United States and Florida Constitutions.
In Daker v. Jackson, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the district court to dismiss Waseem Daker’s complaint, determining that Daker had at least three strikes under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) and that Daker’s challenge to the constitutionality of § 1915(g) failed. In support of his first claim, Daker alleged that the seven dismissals used by the district court in determining his three strike status were errors. Second, Daker challenged the “three-strike” provision’s constitutionality, asserting that it violates the First Amendment’s “breathing space” principle because it does not provide a margin of error and punishes pro se litigants for honest mistakes. The court addressed both claims in turn.
In Cromartie v. Shealy, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision to dismiss Cromartie’s § 1983 complaint and deny his motion for a stay of execution. The court also denied as moot Cromartie’s emergency motion for a stay of execution. Cromartie filed a motion asking for a new trial and DNA testing on various items that had been introduced into evidence in his trial. In his motion, he contended that two new advancements in DNA technology would prove that one of his accomplices was the actual shooter.
In wire fraud cases, courts are often faced with the question of when is “a lie  just a lie” and when is it a federal crime? The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit examined this question in United States v. Waters, highlighting the importance of the distinction between a “scheme to deceive” and a “scheme to defraud” and how to properly explain that distinction, particularly concerning jury instructions.
As a professional law librarian, I have frequently been asked to assist in finding the legislative history and intent for a statute. This article explains how Alabama legislative intent can be divined from legislative history by using the slim resources that are available. As legal professionals, we are well acquainted with federal courts interpreting statutes by using legislative intent through citing to a Congressional report or to the Congressional Record. Despite the examples I’ve cited, federal court use of these sources may be falling out of favor.
In an issue of first impression among the federal circuits, the 11th Circuit articulated new standards for determining when claims for Medicare reimbursement for hospice violate the False Claims Act (FCA). Per this opinion, any challenge to such hospice claims for Medicare reimbursement must now meet a new objective falsehood standard. This new objective falsehood standard necessitates that potential plaintiffs point to specific facts and circumstances surrounding the time the physician certified the patient as terminally ill. Absent a showing of falsity regarding these circumstances, physicians’ clinical judgments will be upheld as long as they exercised their best judgment and provided the appropriate documentation under the statutory and regulatory requirements. The objective falsehood standard bars plaintiffs from relying on a mere difference of opinion between physician reviews of the claims to show a violation of the FCA.
In Knick v. Township of Scott, the Supreme Court overruled Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, which had created a de-facto state-litigation requirement for plaintiffs bringing federal takings claims. Specifically, the Court in Knick held that a property owner may proceed directly to federal court as soon as his property is taken without compensation, even if there are state remedies to provide compensation after the taking occurs.
In K.T. v. Royal Caribbean Cruises, LTD., the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the district court and held that the plaintiff, K.T., stated plausible negligence claims against the cruise ship. First, the crew members’ alleged failure to prevent K.T.’s rape and sexual assault constituted a plausible negligence claim. This negligence included allowing adult male passengers to purchase alcoholic beverages for K.T. Second, Royal Caribbean’s failure to warn K.T. and other passengers about the possibility of sexual assault on the cruise ship constituted a plausible negligence claim.
On October 22, 2019, the Alabama Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on four consolidated cases that may determine the fate of cameras used to enforce traffic laws in the State of Alabama. Oral arguments will take place at the Leslie S. Wright Center on the campus of Samford University beginning at 9:30 a.m. and lasting until 11:45 a.m. The event, hosted by Cumberland School of Law, the Birmingham Bar Foundation, and Appellate Courts of Alabama, is free and open to the public.