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In United States v. Mayweather, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit considered the convictions of four corrections officers for their roles in a drug smuggling operation. The officers were convicted under the Hobbs Act for extortion and attempt to distribute cocaine and methamphetamines. The officers argued on appeal that: (1) the trial court erred by refusing to allow them to use entrapment as a defense, and (2) the trial court improperly withheld instructions on the meaning of “official act” with regard to extortion under the Hobbs Act. Mayweather provides important guidance within the Eleventh Circuit as to what constitutes government inducement with regards to an entrapment defense. While the burden of proof is light, there must be more than a scintilla of evidence regarding the defense. Additionally, the opinion compared and applied precedent on the McDonnell jury instruction issue in a manner that may prove useful for attorneys seeking to protect the rights of their clients.
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Problem-solving courts offer state and municipal judiciaries an invaluable opportunity to leverage the power of the law and social policy in the name of aiding vulnerable populations. Alabama, in particular, suffers from extreme prison overcrowding and high rates of poverty. Therefore, programs that seek to divert defendants away from prisons, treat substance abuse, address mental illness, and connect vulnerable populations with needed social services are laudable. However, criticisms of the implementation of these specialized courts have been warranted. In order to be effective and just, these courts must be accessible, affordable, lenient, compassionate, and ultimately supported by judges and policymakers. Though work is yet to be done, reforming traditional notions of criminal justice in Alabama must be embraced.
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In Deal v. Tugalo Gas Co., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit addressed a laundry list of appeals stemming from a district court’s rejection of a plaintiff’s substantive claims as well as its decision to invoke the “Burford abstention” doctrine for the plaintiff’s equitable claims. In an unusual decision, by declining to adjudicate the plaintiff’s three equitable claims—“for judicial dissolution, an accounting, and appointment of an auditor”—the district court extended the “long-lost (or nearly lost)” Burford doctrine to cover such claims. However, on appeal, while affirming the district court’s disposal of substantive claims, the Eleventh Circuit reversed and remanded the three equitable claims because the district court should not have abstained from deciding the claims under the Burford doctrine.
The Cumberland Law Review is pleased to announce our Volume 52 Executive Board who will serve the Law Review for the 2021-2022 school year!
Editor-in-Chief: Meredith Taylor
Executive Editor: Robert Adams
Managing Editor: Kaylee Rose
Acquisitions Editor: Stephanie Lynge
Student Materials Editor: Cullen Armstrong
Online Managing Editor: Chloe Champion
Online Research Editor: Niki Ozburn
Copy Editors: Kate Belyayeva and Meredith Buckner
Research Editors: Mitchell Brisbon and Hannah Cassady
Writing and Bluebook Editors: Amanda Nelson and Terra Silva
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People are constantly inundated by marketing efforts these days. Unless you are totally disconnected, you are exposed to it everywhere you look and with almost anything you listen to. Oh sure, marketing is on TV and in the newspapers—for those who still actually read them—but also on your screens while you shop, research, read the news, learn how to fix that leaky faucet, catch up on sports, or browse social media. If you connect with anything, marketers will find a way to connect with you, which is frustrating to many. However, an increasing number of lawyers have discovered the importance of marketing, and those who have not run the risk of being left behind.
At the close of March, Junior Editor Dale Turley competed along with partner Forrest Hyde in the Seigenthaler-Sutherland National Moot Court Competition. This team reached the quarterfinals and was awarded Second Best Brief. Emily Hopper, a previous Acquisitions Editor for the Cumberland Law Review, coached this team.
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In Granda v. United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reviewed the denial of a plaintiff’s § 2255 petition after he claimed the jury may have relied on an invalid predicate resulting in the conviction of a “non-existent crime.” Because the plaintiff failed to overcome procedural hurdles and could not prevail on the merits, his assertions regarding the predicate were futile. Granda reaffirms the notion that, in a criminal conviction, regardless of the likelihood of success an argument may have, the defendant must raise an available challenge on direct appeal or be barred from raising that claim in a habeas proceeding.
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In Armstrong v. United States, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit addressed whether a sentence reduction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c) constitutes a new, intervening judgment and thus acts as a de novo resentencing. If the court held that § 3582(c) did in fact constitute a de novo resentencing, then the appellant potentially would not have been barred from bringing his second or successive 28 U.S.C. § 2255 habeas petition. Although surrounding sister circuits had considered this same question, Armstrong was the Eleventh Circuit’s first opportunity. Therefore, the Armstrong decision provides a unique glimpse into the court’s analysis regarding a case of first impression within its circuit.
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In Dickinson v. Cochran, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reviewed an inmate’s § 1983 claims against jail officials after he was stabbed by another inmate. Dickinson should ring alarm bells for the Alabama Department of Corrections and prison officials throughout the state, because the court brushed aside qualified immunity and laid out a roadmap that future inmates in similar situations can follow. Dickinson emphasizes that the State of Alabama and its prison officials cannot always rely on qualified immunity for protection. How the State will and should handle future inmate assaults while awaiting completion of new prisons remains to be seen.
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Cumberland Law Review members closed out February and started March off with more success in their extracurriculars!
Copy Editor Taylor Johnson and Junior Editor Kaylee Rose both competed in the ABA Appellate Advocacy Competition at the end of February. And Junior Editor Mitchell Brisbon competed in the Duberstein National Bankruptcy Competition and at the CKP Cup where Mitchell was named top advocate!
Copy Editor Madison Cumby also competed in the ABA Representation in Mediation Regional Competition along with partner Hannah Trucks this past weekend.
Congratulations to our members on their continued success!!