Robert T. Prior

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In Westin v. McDaniel, the District Court for the Middle District of Georgia granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting the State of Georgia from prosecuting a criminal defense attorney for hindering an undercover police officer. Judge Fitzpatrick ruled that the traditional notions of federalism and comity, which normally preclude a federal court from intervening in state criminal proceedings, were inapplicable because no state case was pending against the attorney when the federal action was brought. He further ruled that even if those principles were applicable, federal intervention was still appropriate because the prosecuting attorney acted in "bad faith" in seeking an indictment. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling without comment.

This Casenote first examines the principles of abstention espoused in Younger v. Harris and refined in subsequent Supreme Court decisions. Next, it provides the facts and procedural history of Westin v. McDaniel followed by a detailed examination of the court's opinion. The Casenote concludes with an analysis of the decision and a brief summary.