Thursday, May 14, 2020

News & Notes

1. Judge Singhal wrote this interesting and well-written order saying that it wasn't for courts to get involved in the decisions regarding the pandemic, which is left to other branches of government. Unlike the Wisconsin Supreme Court, Judge Singhal said it's up to the government, not the judiciary:
There are no manuals on how to handle crises. However, there is a framework that provides an answer to who handles them. To govern is not the court’s role; rather, the power of judging must be separated from legislative and executive powers. See generally The Federalist, No. 47 (Hamilton). Under our system, leaders elected by the will of the people are entrusted with awesome responsibility. They must act within the framework set forth in our Constitution, using reasonable measures to further public health while safeguarding the citizenry’s inalienable rights. It is a balance, no doubt. And so long as the people’s elected leaders are working within the confines of the people’s constitutional rights, courts are not here to second-guess or micromanage their already unenviable jobs guiding us through profoundly unprecedented challenges.
2. Speaking of well-written and interesting, here's an article that Federal Defender Michael Caruso wrote about the awesome Cathy Wade:
At every court investiture and ceremony, no matter the honoree or occasion, there is one common denominator: a big shout out to Cathy Wade Babyak for making the event a success. But, Cathy, the Court’s Executive Services Administrator, does much more than plan courthouse functions—she is the person who is integral to the successful and smooth operation of one of the busiest federal judicial districts in the country.
There are also some good stories:
As you may imagine, Cathy has some stories to tell about the courthouse. One night at 10 p.m., Cathy received a call from the Warden of the Federal Detention Center. The
warden wanted to know why there were semi-trucks being parked around the courthouse. Apparently, a film crew had been given permission to film a movie in the ceremonial
courtroom. Little did anyone know that the crew would take over the entire 2nd floor of the Courthouse as well as the surrounding streets. In her typical fashion, Cathy stepped in, coordinated with the movie crew, and actually directed the director to be quiet because they were disturbing court. The highlight for Cathy was meeting and
spending time with Bill Murray.
 3.  My friend Lawrence Zimmerman has this thoughtful post on the presumption of innocence on Don Samuel's new blog. You know Don... he's the guy who writes the 11th Circuit Handbook (our federal cheat sheet in court).  The post is worth reading, and the blog is worth following.  Here's the conclusion:
We have a duty to educate the public when we can and not allow the media machine to cloud the public’s view of the trial process - with their instinct to condemn, convict and move on to another story. By failing to give these men accused of heinous crimes a fair trial, we will deprive the community of the justice that was already denied Arbery. Despite the clamor of the rightfully outraged public for a rush to judgment it is our job to uphold the Constitution. And it may take time.

4.   Finally, we have some really great magistrate judges.  One of them is Patrick Hunt who is up for re-appointment.  Jon Sale is heading up the committee.  Please make sure to send him your positive feedback at


Anonymous said...

1. Re Wisconsin: David, if a governor issues an executive order in a state of emergency because the legislature does not have time to act, and later the legislature meets and rejects those executive orders, should the executive orders, rejected by the people's elected representatives, still stand as the law of the land to be enforced by the state's police authority?

2. You approvingly quote that "by failing to give these men accused of a heinous crime a fair trial, we will deprive the community of the justice already denied Arbery."

First, justice in a free society is not for the "community", it is for the individual. Anything else is grotesque racialism or mob rule.

Second, if this author is so adamant about the presumption of innocence why is he saying that Arbery has been denied justice? If Arbery's already a victim who has been denied justice, what presumption of innocence is he referring to for the Defendants?

Anonymous said...

Entering any dwelling or structure intended to be a dwelling, with the intention of committing a crime therein, is a burglary. The vigilantes had a reasonable basis to believe that he committed a burglary, even if the victim had no intention of stealing anything in his heart, but still was seen doing it. They followed him and then tried to stop him for police to arrive. He attacked the guy with the shotgun and was shot. I just don't think those facts equate to a conviction.

The flip side is that the victim obviously didn't steal anything, perhaps he was just interested in the inside of a house under construction - I know I have been when I see them. He simply might have been curious and it is a tragedy.

Also, being confronted by 2 armed dudes in a pickup truck is scary as hell. More so for a black man in the white area of a small Georgia town.

I just have trouble with the fact that the video pretty obviously shows that he ran across the front of the truck at the guy with the shotgun to attack him. You can say he was defending himself, but I don't think that is reasonable given the reason they were trying to stop him and what they reasonably believed to have occurred. I think Travon had more of a reason to attack Zimmerman.

Like it or not, these guys have every reason to believe he had committed a crime, and whether he was white or black. I am pretty sure people living in a neighborhood would reasonably not want apparent burglaries being committed around their homes.

Anyhow, race certainly plays into this thing, but to call it a lynching kind of overlooks some of the facts.

The problem I see is too many guys running around with guns that make them a heck of a lot braver than they should be. A gun doesn't make your pecker any bigger, it makes you act stupider though.

I bet that if you studied it scientifically, people who are armed would act with less judgment than people who are drunk, when it comes to possible confrontation.

The law probably ought to be changed - perhaps they will go down because waiving a gun around like that could be an assault - I just don't know, the thing is terrible. In the end, nobody should be shot for committing a burglary or trespassing. But the same can be said for a ton of people who are killed by the police when they resist and the situation escalates.

Yeah, the vigilantes weren't police, but I do think they still had a right to stop the guy after being aware of what he did do. Tough one.

Anonymous said...

I second the view of Magistrate Judge Hunt. He is an exceptionally qualified judge, always well prepared, and who has avoided even the touch of robeitis

Anonymous said...

I agree with Judge Singhal, but have this question: "If a governor has no power to close things down, then what does a judge have to do?

Anonymous said...


Law enforcement is the exclusive arena of the government. You hit the nail on the head when you called the murderers "vigilantes." Assuming, for the sake of argument that a burglary was committed, what you have described was nothing more than unlawful "mob justice," and murder.

Daryl Wilcox said...

I cannnot agree that the the McMichaels had probable cause to arrest or forcefully detain Arbery for burglary. The only thing they witnessed was a trespass, hardly cause for an armed detention. Also, they ain't the police. All they had to do was follow Arbery if they truly thought he was up to no good.

Instead, the recklessly approached Arbury with weapons. That recklessness led to Arbery's death. I say manslaughter.


Pat Hunt is a great magistrate judge, imminently reasonable and knowledgeable.


SCRIBD took down Judge Singhal's order. I's like to read it.