Monday, July 28, 2014

Former president of local labor union found not guilty... Judge Gayles' first trial.  From the Sun-Sentinel:
Darryl Brice "Mike D" Payne, 47, was found not guilty Thursday by a 12-person jury following a trial of more than two weeks."This is an awesome day for me, and proof that God is alive and in control," said Payne, of Sunrise. "At the end of the day, this was never about fraud or corruption. It was an organized attack on democracy and free speech."During his three-year term as president of International Longshoremen's Association, AFL-CIO, Local Union No. 1526, Payne was accused of using union money to pay for personal travel expenses to Las Vegas, Baltimore, St. Louis and other cities, as well as to buy sports memorabilia.Among the charges alleged in the 55-page federal indictment were conspiracy to steal union assets, stealing union assets, endeavoring to obstruct justice, mail fraud and making false statements.Had he been convicted on the charges, Payne could have faced penalties of between five and 20 years in prison, as well as substantial fines.Payne, who still works as a crane operator at Port Everglades, testified in his own defense. Over a day and a half on the stand, he denied any misconduct."Every trip he took he was authorized to take," said Bruce Zimet, his attorney. "His defense was that what the government claimed had happened was never proved to have happened."
In other news, the Pizzi trial is still going.  From the Herald:
Many months would pass after Miami Lakes Mayor Michael Pizzi wigged out when a couple of sketchy Chicago businessmen bluntly pitched him on a “money grab” for some “bogus” federal grants.After initially backing away, however, prosecutors say Pizzi agreed to rejoin their supposed scam after he was elected to a second term in November 2012.The man who pulled the politician back in was Richard Candia, a likable lobbyist who had raised thousands of dollars for Pizzi’s re-election campaign. 
Candia was an unwitting target of an FBI sting operation aimed at the Miami Lakes mayor. After he was confronted by agents last summer, the lobbyist assisted in the undercover probe of Pizzi, who was arrested in August. Candia — convicted himself after confessing to taking bribes — will be in the hot seat this week as the prosecution’s star witness in the suspended mayor’s corruption trial in Miami federal court. 
Throughout trial this month, Candia has been described as either a “bag man” or a “liar,” depending on which side is arguing in court. For the 49-year-old Candia, who once moved in Anglo and Hispanic political circles with equal ease, taking the witness stand will probably be the roughest role of his life.If there was any doubt about the high stakes of his testimony, consider what a prosecutor and Pizzi’s defense attorney said about him during opening statements in early July.“He will tell you that he was the insider with Mr. Pizzi,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Dwyer told the 12-person jury. “He will tell you that he and Mr. Pizzi agreed to use Pizzi’s power so that they could get [campaign] contributions and cash.”“And no doubt there will be cross-examination of Mr. Candia, and the allegation will be made that he is just making this up to save himself, to save his own skin and to get out of jail.”Indeed, defense attorney Ed Shohat told the same federal jury: “I will suggest that you are going to find in this case for a variety of reasons that Rich Candia and the truth are estranged. They don’t know each other.”

And the 11th Circuit decided the Docs v. Glocks case, reversing the district court and finding that the statute is constitutional.  Here's the case (Tjoflat for the majority and Wilson in dissent).  Again, the 11th Circuit issues a major decision without a majority from the 11th Circuit, as Judge Tjoflat was joined by a visiting judge.  Below is a summary from the Daily Report:
An Atlanta-based federal appeals court on Friday handed a major defeat to doctors who say they are concerned about gun safety, rejecting their challenge to a Florida law that limits their ability to talk to their patients about firearms.Adopted in 2011, the Florida law among other things forbids health care providers from asking about gun ownership by a patient's family unless the health care provider believes that the information is "relevant to the patient's medical care or safety, or the safety of others." The law says providers may not "discriminate" against patients on the basis of gun ownership. Violations subject the practitioner to possible discipline, including loss of a medical license.***"The act simply codifies that good medical care does not require inquiry or record-keeping regarding firearms when unnecessary to a patient's care," wrote Tjoflat.Tjoflat said individual doctors could assert a First Amendment defense in any actions brought against them. "But we will not, by striking down the act, effectively hand plaintiffs a declaration that such a defense will be successful," he said.


Anonymous said...

Someone needs to investigate how designation judges get picked for specific panels. Is it a coincidence that one of the most conservative judges in the country - Judge Sentelle - gets picked to be on a panel with Judge Martin on a highly contentious issue? Or a district court judge from Alabama appointed by Pres. Bush on a politically charged gun issue? Are there written guidelines as to how these panels are constituted?

Anonymous said...

If God's in control, why hire Zimet? Seems like a waste of money.

Anonymous said...

Do people still say that? " I submit....." or "The evidence will show?"

P. Guyotat said...

7:59 a.m. raises a good point. I believe that any circuit judge has the ability to invite any other federal judge to sit as a visiting judge. I do not believe, however, that the Eleventh Circuit thereafter composes particular panels; to take the Docs v. Glocks case, for example, I believe that the composition of that panel was sill random. That said, if the Eleventh Circuit judges choose to invite judges of only a particular background (and I have my doubts whether that's true), that may have some effect on how decisions come out.

(Incidentally, Judge Sentelle was absolutely correct in his disposition of the Chiquita case; the result is all but compelled by a faithful reading of Sosa and Kiobel. I'd also point out that Judge Sentelle recently authored for the Eleventh Circuit what some might consider a rather liberal Fourth Amendment decision dealing with cell-site records.)

Anonymous said...

Is there a list publicly available of all circuit court visiting judges for the last three years? I wonder what percentage are in the "conservative" column?

Anonymous said...

The 11th Circuit asks ever district judge within the circuit to sit on occasion.

I don't have a problem with district judges sitting by designation.

I think it would be good for some of the circuit judges to try a case once and a while, which Judge Faye used to do and Judge Posner does.

The problem I have is the recent development of having two visiting judges on a panel.

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8:05. Couldn't agree more. Just once I'd like to hear the acquitted client say, "it was in my attorneys hands and I couldn't have won without him.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it's just inevitable.

Anonymous said...

I thought for a second that 12:45 meant that an appellate judge should actually TRY a case, not just preside over a trial. Both would probably be a good idea!