Last year was another busy year for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. While the court continued developing federal criminal law within the circuit, the court was also forced to adjust its own precedents in light of several landmark opinions by the Supreme Court of the United States.
In United States v. Davis, for example, the Supreme Court struck down the residual clause in 18 U.S.C. § 924(c), thus overruling the Eleventh Circuit's en banc decision in Ovalles v. United States. Another one of the Supreme Court's most noteworthy opinions came on appeal directly from the Eleventh Circuit in Rehaif v. United States, where a majority of the Court held that a defendant must have knowledge of his unlawful status to be convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm under 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)5 or 924(a)(2).
This Article explains how the Eleventh Circuit has adapted its case law in response to these rulings. Just as importantly, it provides a comprehensive review of the court's other published opinions covering criminal law in 2019, with a focus on the key holdings from each decision. Section II of this Article reviews opinions addressing substantive offenses, such as fraud, violent crimes, and drug offenses. Section III covers criminal procedure, the rules of evidence, and constitutional issues arising in criminal prosecutions, and Section IV reviews opinions discussing the proper application of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. This Article does not cover post-conviction proceedings.
Thomas D. Church, Criminal Law, 2019 Eleventh Circuit Survey, 71 Mercer L. Rev. 967 (2020).