Two new opinions

U.S. v. James—criminal—affirmance—Shwartz

Wayne James—whose Twitter bio describes him as “Lawyer, fashion designer, former senator, author of Manly Manners trilogy,” and here my friends is volume I—was a one-term senator in the Virgin Islands Legislature. He was later convicted of wire fraud and embezzlement for submitting false expense invoices to the legislature and using most of the proceeds for personal benefit. It seems he wanted some historical records about a nineteenth century labor riot in order to make a movie about it, and the false invoices were connected to that, I think. It’s confusing.

Anyhow, on appeal the erstwhile senator (etc.) challenged his convictions on four grounds:  (1) admission of evidence of acts falling outside the statute of limitations, (2) prosecutorial misconduct for introducing precluded evidence, (3) use of an evidence-summarizing demonstrative chart, and (4) seating an alternate after removal of a juror. The court rejected all four and affirmed.

Joining Shwartz were Smith and McKee. The case was decided without oral argument.


Cirko v. Commissioner of Social Security—civil—affirmance—Krause

Claimants for Social Security disability benefits are not required to exhaust constitutional challenges to the appointments of the administrative law judges who denied their claims. That is, such claimants may raise Appointments Clause challenges in federal court even if they did not present them to the agency first.

Joining Krause were Ambro and Bibas. Arguing counsel were Joshua Salzman of the DOJ for the government and Thomas Sutton of Leventhal Sutton for the claimants.