Monday, November 07, 2005

More en banc coverage

Today, Carl Jones of the Daily Business Review covers the 11th Circuit's decision to rehear en banc the Cuban Spy case. I'm quoted in the article:

Miami criminal defense attorney David Oscar Markus, who’s not involved in the Cuban spy case, said the 11th Circuit doesn’t often grant en banc review of a panel decision. “It’s very rare,” he said. “If it happens a couple of times a year, it’s a lot. But you know what? It was very rare what the panel did.” Markus said there are two possible reasons why the court granted en banc review. “One possibility is they have taken the case to show unity from the court [in overturning the convictions and ordering a new trial],” Markus said. “The other possibility is the rest of the court just disagrees [with the panel] and wants to quickly get rid of this opinion.” Markus noted that the August panel ruling was the first known case of an appellate court overturning a district court judge on a venue question. Another unusual aspect of the case, he said, is that it typically takes months for the full circuit court to decide to rehear a panel decision. The speed with which the court granted en banc review, just weeks after Acosta’s request, took almost everyone by surprise. “Boom, the opinion
came out, the government asked for review, and review was granted almost immediately, which I think does not bode well for defenders of the opinion,” Markus said. No more than two of the judges on the original panel will be able to rehear the case and defend it, Markus said. Judge Birch was the only active member of the 11th Circuit to decide the original case, while Judge Kravitch has the option to take part in the en banc review. Judge Oakes was sitting by designation. Markus said if Judge Kravitch chooses not to participate, a single judge from the original panel “puts a greater onus on Judge Birch to get a consensus on the court.”

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