Taking the Fifth...By Storm: Circuit Stayed Busy at Close of 2011
While most lawyers used the final week of 2011 to deplete their paid-time-off reserves, watch NFL games, and cheer for their favorite college teams in bowl games, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals was busy issuing opinions.
In an attempt to get you caught up with the latest and greatest in the Fifth Circuit, we're going over a few of the highlights from the last week:
- Deepwater Horizon Lawsuit. Cameron International lost its appeal for a jury trial last week. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier previously ruled that he could adjudicate the Deepwater Horizon oil spill litigation in a nonjury trial under maritime law. Cameron countered that the claims fell under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and warranted a jury trial. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the district court "did not clearly err in concluding that the limitation proceeding is within the court's admiralty jurisdiction," reports Bloomberg.
- C-Murder Conviction. New Orleans-native rapper Corey Miller, (best known by his stage name, C-Murder), lost his second-degree murder appeal before the Fifth Circuit last week. A three-judge panel rejected C-Murder's arguments that prosecutors systematically eliminated black jurors, and that a judge improperly allowed prejudicial and unsubstantiated testimony at his trial, reports The Washington Post. Regardless of the judges' reasoning, we doubt that any of the evidence admitted against Miller could have been more prejudicial than the name C-Murder.
- Candy Cane Case. While the holidays are over, the candy cane case lives on. In September, we told you that the Fifth Circuit granted qualified immunity to principals who engaged in view point discrimination that infringed on students' free speech rights to hand out candy canes with a religious holiday message. The Liberty Institute is now asking the Supreme Court to review the circuit's qualified immunity holding.
- Elroy Chester conviction. On Friday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld convicted murderer Elroy Chester's death sentence. Chester argued that he should not be executed because he is mentally retarded. The Fifth Circuit affirmed opinions from two Texas courts, which found that Chester is not mentally retarded. Chester will appeal to the Supreme Court, reports the Beaumont Enterprise.
This week is shaping up to be similarly busy. For continuing coverage of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, add FindLaw's Fifth Circuit blog to your RSS feed.