Four years ago, Fane Lozman won an improbable longshot victory when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with him that his floating home was a house, not a vessel subject to seizure by a Florida city.
The justices set a new national legal standard: Not everything that floats is a boat.
It was far from certain that the nation's highest court would even take his case, and the verdict in January 2013 seemed a resounding victory for the little guy in battle with local officials. Now Lozman is asking the justices to enforce their ruling by forcing the city pay him legal fees and reimburse him for the home's value after it was seized and destroyed.
Lozman's 60-by-12-foot floating home had no engines, sails or rudder. It had to be towed to a Riviera Beach marina where Lozman took up residence in 2006 before becoming embroiled in a fight with that Florida city over its plans to turn the marina over to a developer. Lozman said the city's actions were in retaliation for his vocal opposition.
The city sought to evict him and, when that failed, sued under maritime law in federal court to have the floating home seized as a vessel. After a federal judge sided with the city in 2010, it had the home destroyed - launching the legal battle all the way to the Supreme Court.
Lozman contends in new filings that the city should reimburse him the estimated $165,000 value of the floating home destroyed, plus $200,000 in legal fees. The same district judge and appeals court whose rulings were overturned by the Supreme Court justices have essentially told Lozman to take a long walk on a short pier.
To Lozman, the rulings rejecting reimbursement fly in the face of the original Supreme Court decision, forcing him to return for a second longshot.
Monday, March 27, 2017
You all remember him -- he's the guy who won the floating home case. Well, he's back. From Curt Anderson:
Thursday, March 23, 2017
While Gorsuch is being grilled on these important questions, Labor nominee Alex Acosta is quietly having his hearings. From the Miami Herald:
“Why cut a non-prosecution deal despite your staff saying you shouldn’t?” Kaine asked. “That is not accurate,” Acosta responded, disputing reports that in cutting the plea deal with Epstein, he rejected the advice of his senior lawyers when he served as U.S. attorney for Southern Florida. “It was a broadly held decision,” Acosta said. The exchange was one of the more feisty moments in an otherwise relatively smooth hearing that Democrats and Republicans alike say will lead to easy confirmation for Trump’s second choice to lead the Labor Department. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Miami, a fellow Cuban-American, introduced Acosta to the Senate Labor Committee. “He is a brilliant legal mind, someone with deep knowledge of labor issues, and a proven leader,” Rubio said. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, like Rubio a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, said he and Acosta had bonded over the years as the sons of Cuban-American refugees. “Alex is a surprisingly good poker player and not nearly as good of a squash player,” Cruz said to laughter. The Senate in bipartisan votes previously confirmed Acosta for three positions: the prosecutor’s post in Miami, a senior Justice Department job and what became an eight-month stint on the National Labor Relations Board. And labor unions have already told their allies on the Hill that Acosta is a better choice than Trump’s first pick California fast food executive Andy Puzder.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Sunday, March 19, 2017
That was Judge Jordan, dissenting in a death penalty case (Madison vs. Alabama DOC) in which Judge Martin writes for the majority (Wilson joined) that Vernon Madison is incompetent and therefore cannot be executed. Jordan says that's not the place of a federal court on a habeas petition to make that determination (even though he agrees with the majority that Madison is incompetent).
From the majority:
From the dissent:
From the majority:
Because the Alabama trial court unreasonably determined the facts relevant to Mr. Madison’s claim and unreasonably applied controlling federal law, we do not owe the state court’s finding that Mr. Madison is competent to be executed deference under AEDPA.
From the dissent:
After reviewing the record, I believe that Vernon Madison is currently incompetent. I therefore do not think that Alabama can, consistent with the Constitution, execute him at this time for his murder of a police officer three decades ago. See generally Panetti v. Quarterman, 551 U.S. 930, 958 (2007) (explaining that a state cannot put to death a prisoner who “cannot reach a rational understanding of the reason for the execution”). But Congress has chosen to generally prohibit federal courts from adjudicating constitutional claims anew on habeas review, so Mr. Madison’s competency (or lack thereof) is not our initial call to make. Under the restrictive standards we are required to apply, see 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), and given the way we interpreted Panetti in Ferguson v. Secretary, 716 F.3d 1315 (11th Cir. 2013), I do not think Mr. Madison can obtain habeas relief.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
It was a very long trial and today the jury found both Bart Hernandez and Julio Estrada guilty. From the AP:
MIAMI (AP) — A Miami jury on Wednesday convicted a Florida sports agent and a baseball trainer on charges they smuggled Cuban baseball players to the U.S. in search of big profits from professional free agent contracts.
The verdict came after jurors heard about six weeks of testimony in the trial of Bartolo Hernandez and Julio Estrada, who were indicted on conspiracy and alien smuggling charges for an operation that began in 2009 and involved a number of high-profile Major League Baseball players.
Trial evidence showed an existing Cuban smuggling operation that brought people from the communist-run island to Mexico became the platform in 2009 for the much more lucrative trade in elite ballplayers. People involved in that operation testified it was ultimately overseen by Hernandez and Estrada.
The players would be whisked from Cuba to Mexico or Haiti in a speedboat, sign papers claiming residency in their new country and eventually be cleared to sign with MLB teams. Prosecutors showed jurors how many of those documents contained false information, such as made-up jobs for players, and some travel documents were forged.
In one of the trial's memorable moments, Chicago White Sox star Jose Abreu testified that he ate a piece of his phony Haitian passport while flying to the U.S. in 2013 because he feared repercussions if he landed in Miami with a fake document. Abreu soon after signed a $68 million deal with Chicago.