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Seventh Circuit Review

Volume 11, Issue 1 (Fall 2015)

Introduction (contains Table of Contents, Masthead, About the Seventh Circuit Review)

Appellate Procedure

"Googling" Your Way to Justice: How Judge Posner Was (Almost) Correct in His Use of Internet Research in Rowe v. Gibson
M. Cristina Martin
11 Seventh Circuit Rev. 1 (2015) [Full Article] [Audio Synopsis]

Abstract: The Internet is a temptation which many courts have been unable to resist. Over the past twenty years, judges at trial and appellate levels have increasingly used Internet research in crafting their judicial opinions. Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit is a huge proponent of this proposition, and in August 2015, he authored an opinion which took this independent Internet research to a new level. In Rowe v. Gibson, Judge Posner's opinion reversed summary judgment for a pro se litigant partly based on independent Internet research performed by the court. His justification for using this Internet research was due to the plaintiff's lack of resources as a pro se litigant. Rowe, a prisoner, was not knowledgeable enough to build a proper record by himself, and he did not have the resources to hire his own attorney. As such, he was unable to avoid summary judgment. Judge Posner argued that a court's careful use of Internet research would assist pro se litigants whose cases are in danger of being dismissed due to procedural failure. [Read more...]

Civil Rights

The Seventh Circuit Finds the Fundamental Right to Marry Includes the Right to Choose One's Spouse, Even in Prison
Lauren B. Wright
11 Seventh Circuit Rev. 36 (2015) [Full Article] [Audio Synopsis]

Abstract: In recent years, the Supreme Court has continuously reiterated the importance of the right to marry, finding it to be a fundamental right protected by the Constitution. Activists across the nation have celebrated the Court's continued protection of this fundamental right as it has expanded the rights of same-sex couples. What has received somewhat less attention is how the Court's right to marry doctrine has affected a different segment of the population—prisoners. In the United States, there are currently 2.2 million people serving time in our nation's prisons or jails. For many of us, prisoners are people we would rather not think about. These are individuals who have violated the laws of our society. However, these individuals still have rights protected by the Constitution, and that we cannot ignore. [Read more...]

Criminal Procedure

Post-Conviction Relief: The Seventh Circuit Applies Savings Clause to Save Death Row Prisoner
Allison A. Evans
11 Seventh Circuit Rev. 58 (2015) [Full Article] [Audio Synopsis]

Abstract: A writ of habeas corpus is often the last resort—the final "Hail Mary"—for prisoners seeking relief. Dubbed the "Great Writ," a writ of habeas corpus is used to bring a prisoner before the court to determine the legality of the prisoner's incarceration or detention. This writ, utilized since our country's inception, is protected by the Constitution, and is available to all prisoners, both state and federal. [Read more...]

Second Amendment

Who Are "The People?": The Seventh Circuit Extends Second Amendment Rights to Undocumented Immigrants
Patrick W. Etchingham
11 Seventh Circuit Rev. 92 (2015) [Full Article] [Audio Synopsis]

Abstract: Undocumented immigrants within the United States are human. Whether they exist as "people" protected by the Bill of Rights is another question entirely. The Second Amendment states "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." The phrase "the people" appears in the First, Second, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, among other places in the United States' most sacred documents. However, courts have rarely defined "the people," except in the Fourth and—recently—Second Amendment contexts. In United States v. Verdugo–Urquidez, the Supreme Court held that the Fourth Amendment protects "people," such as undocumented immigrants within the United States, so long as they can show substantial connections with the United States. [Read more...]

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