A Procedurally Unusual En Banc Opinion from the Fourth Circuit
By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)
Last Friday, in United States v. Chamberlain, the Fourth Circuit issued a unanimous en banc opinion overruling its precedents on “the pretrial restraint of a defendant’s innocent property pursuant to the federal criminal forfeiture statute.” The ruling was not a surprise, in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Luis v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 1083 (2016).
But the ruling was a procedural oddity. Read More…
Adnan Syed and How to Solve the Court of Special Appeals Public-Access Problem
By Michael Wein
The Maryland judiciary website posted last Wednesday about the Syed case guidelines for the public and news media interested in attending oral arguments. As noted in the detailed order by new Chief Judge Patrick Woodward, oral arguments are being held in Courtroom 1 on the second floor of the Courts of Appeal Building in Annapolis (the larger of the two courtrooms regularly used by the Court of Special Appeals). Courthouse security is taking significant protections against recording devices, and limited seating is being provided to the public and media.
This post is not about the Syed case, specifically. But the circumstances of the Syed oral arguments expose a lack of proper public access to any of the intermediate appellate court’s oral arguments, in noted contrast with the Court of Appeals. Syed is quite obviously a highlighted, media-interest case, which poses an opportunity to discuss what procedures Maryland’s intermediate appellate court should consider, in at least the future, to accommodate public interest in specific, important oral arguments.
Fourth Circuit Weighs “Exceptional Importance” and Possible En Banc Hearing on Travel Ban 2.0
President Trump’s revised “travel ban,” which targets six predominantly Muslim nations, has drawn intense media scrutiny and legal challenges across the nation. The proceedings in the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Hawaii and Washington, have garnered the lion’s share of the media spotlight. But proceedings here in the Fourth Circuit may yield the first substantive appellate court decision on the travel ban’s constitutionality.
As often happens in high-profile appeals, unusual procedural questions have also arisen. Last week, the Fourth Circuit received briefing, which it had ordered from the parties just days earlier, “on the appropriateness of initial en banc review” by the entire court. This is atypical for many reasons. Read More…
United States v. Graham: The Fourth Circuit Rejects the Privacy Concerns of a Broad Range of Groups with Often Conflicting Interests
To appreciate the range of constituencies concerned with threats to privacy in this country, one need only examine the diverse array of amici supporting the appellants in United States v. Graham, No. 12-4659 (4th Cir., May 31, 2016) (en banc). Amici from the Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund to the ACLU and from the Gun Owners of America to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press lined up to voice their concerns in connection with the Fourth Circuit’s en banc review of its panel’s decision ruling that the government had violated Defendants’ Fourth Amendment rights when it obtained from their cellphone carriers’ records personal cell-site location information (“CSLI”) without a warrant supported by probable cause.[i] The Fourth Circuit nevertheless overturned the ruling.
Save time and money by appealing in banc
By John Grimm
I recently posted about appeals in District Court of Maryland cases, including lesser-known appellate options. Maryland also allows for an unusual type of appeal from circuit court decisions — the in banc appeal. Article 4, § 22 of the Maryland Constitution allows, with some exceptions, a party who loses “any trial conducted by less than three Circuit Judges,” to request review “in banc” (and yes, for the pedantically inclined, the term of art is “in banc,” not the more common “en banc”) by three circuit court judges, in lieu of an appeal to the Court of Special Appeals.
Read This: A Great Fourth Circuit Dissent
By Steve Klepper (Twitter: @MDAppeal)
Judge Andre M. Davis is, in my opinion, one of the two best writers on the Fourth Circuit. (The other is Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III.)
Earlier this week, readers of the Fourth Circuit’s opinions were treated to a powerful dissent by Judge Davis in United States v. Kerr, No. 12-4775 (4th Cir. Dec. 3, 2013). Without taking sides between the majority and the dissent on the substantive question (the application of the Armed Career Criminal Act to North Carolina convictions), I’d like to highlight the dissent as an excellent piece of legal writing. Read More…
The Fourth Circuit May Have Quietly Set Up Supreme Court Cert Review on Judicial Recusals
By Michael Wein
An easily overlooked set of Opinions and Orders in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, those in United States v. Jeffrey Sterling, (at least when considered together), appears to have gone mostly unnoticed in the blogosphere. It involves an unlikely combination of Certworthy issues for the Supreme Court, not just on the scope of a potential privilege and/or 1st Amendment rights that exists for reporters to obtain and keep secret information received from confidential sources, but to include the ethics issue for Judicial Recusal, at least with respect to the intervenor, New York Times reporter James Risen, and a host of Amici groups, including the Times, Washington Post, Tribune Company, and CNN. (Actually, most major media companies in the U.S.). Read More…
En Banc Fourth Circuit Proves Vexing to Vexatious Prisoner Litigants
It’s not every day that the Fourth Circuit publishes an opinion denying a motion for reconsideration of a denial to proceed in forma pauperis on appeal – let alone that the Fourth Circuit does so en banc. That is what Fourth Circuit did on October 21, 2013, in Blakely v. Wards. Read More…