Home Daily News Oral arguments are losing ground in federal… Appellate Practice By Debra Cassens Weiss Posted June 1, 2018, 3:55 pm CDT The Everett McKinley Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago, home of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Fewer cases are being slated for oral arguments in federal appeals courts, according to statistics from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Oral arguments were held in 20 percent of cases decided on the merits at the end of the last fiscal year, compared to 27.3 percent of cases a decade ago, and 40.1 percent of cases 20 years ago, the National Law Journal reports. The raw numbers are also dropping. There were arguments in just 6,913 cases at the end of the last fiscal year, compared to 8,662 arguments a decade ago, and 10,357 arguments 20 years ago. The circuits hearing the highest number of cases are the Chicago-based 7th Circuit, where arguments were held in 55 percent of competitive cases, and the D.C. Circuit, where arguments … [Read more...] about Oral arguments are losing ground in federal appeals courts; would ‘hot-court culture’ reverse trend?
Virginia appeals court
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — An appeals court has wiped out the convictions of two film producers sentenced to federal prison for running a synthetic marijuana operation. The Virginian-Pilot reports a Richmond appeals court ordered U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson to take up the case again of Charles Burton Ritchie and Benjamin Galecki. They were convicted last year of running a $21 million operation out of Pensacola, Florida, that shipped the drug known as spice to areas in Virginia. The court ruled Friday that Jackson shouldn’t have barred defense testimony from a then-scientist with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The scientist was later arrested on charges of communicating with a child under 15 for sexual contact. The two produced “Misery Loves Comedy,” a 2015 documentary featuring Martin Short, Amy Schumer, Jimmy Fallon and other comedians. ___ Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com Copyright © 2018 The Associated … [Read more...] about Appeals court tosses drug convictions of 2 film producers
When Katherine Dellis gave birth to a stillborn child in her bathroom after suffering pregnancy complications, she gathered up the remains in a bathmat and deposited them in the trash of her Franklin County home, according to court records.That personal loss in February 2016 was soon accompanied by a legal one: She was charged under state law with concealing a dead body, convicted of a felony and sentenced to five months behind bars.In Dellis’ case, the medical examiner found the fetus was 30 to 32 weeks along — a gestational age that is viable with the right care. But the medical examiner determined the fetus had died in her womb.The Virginia Court of Appeals recently upheld the conviction, placing the state in the middle of a heated national debate about how to handle fetal remains, particularly in the case of abortions.The unpublished opinion does not carry the weight of precedent in Virginia, but it still troubled abortion rights groups and cheered those who believe in … [Read more...] about Appeals court upholds woman’s conviction in Franklin County fetal remains case
RICHMOND — The legal fight against the Mountain Valley Pipeline ramped up Tuesday, with lawyers in two cases asking a federal appeals court to slow down the project’s run through Southwest Virginia.In back-to-back oral arguments, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was first asked to reverse a decision by the State Water Control Board, which issued a water quality certification after finding a “reasonable assurance” that the natural gas pipeline would not pollute the 500-some streams and wetlands it will cross.The same three-judge panel then heard a challenge of the U.S. Forest Service’s approval for the buried pipeline to cut through the Jefferson National Forest.Both cases are being brought by a variety of conservation groups and individuals who say that building the largest such pipeline ever seen in Virginia will wreak environmental havoc.Written decisions are expected in the coming weeks.Although tree-cutting for the 303-mile pipe is well underway, … [Read more...] about Federal appeals court hears 2 pipeline cases
The Virginia Supreme Court has refused the petition for appeal in two cases involving property owners on Smith Mountain Lake fighting Appalachian Power Co. for permission to build docks.The court found March 22 that there was no reversible error in decisions in the Franklin County Circuit Court.The cases involve lakefront property owners Richard Pressl and Bill Nissen. The Virginia Supreme Court's writ panel, which decides if a case is worthy of appeal, heard both cases Feb. 13.Pressl said he and Nissen are making a final appeal to ask the court to hear their cases, but said he thought that would be unlikely.Appalachian Power operates a pumped storage hydroelectric project on Smith Mountain and Leesville lakes under a permit from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Shoreline Management Plan approved as part of that federal permit gives the utility company broad authority to regulate development along the lake, including the building of docks.Appalachian Power filed a … [Read more...] about Virginia Supreme Court refuses to hear Smith Mountain Lake shoreline cases