Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendants' convictions under the Maritime Drug Law Enforcement Act (MDLEA), which criminalizes an individual's possessing with intent to distribute a controlled substance while on board a covered vessel. The court held that defendants' ship fit within the MDLEA's broad definition of a "vessel without nationality" because a designee of the U.S. Secretary of State has certified, and thereby "proved conclusively," that Guatemala had not "affirmatively and unequivocally" asserted that the ship was of Guatemalan nationality. The court explained that, under the clear terms of the MDLEA, that certification put the crime within the territorial coverage of the statutory prohibition, and the executive branch thereby effectively assumed responsibility for any diplomatic consequences of the criminal prosecution. The court held that defendant's remaining arguments were without merit. View "United States v. Lopez Hernandez" on Justia Law

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In an in rem admiralty proceeding involving the wreckage of Spanish galleons, Fleet-Queens recovered approximately four hundred gold coins, among other treasures, from an area that Gold Hound had allegedly been salvaging while acting as a subcontractor for Fleet-Queens. Gold Hound filed suit claiming that this discovery was made using its proprietary maps and software, seeking to intervene in the in rem action to assert a maritime lien over some of these artifacts and to assert state law claims. The district court denied the motion to intervene and concluded that Gold Hound was not entitled to a maritime lien. The Eleventh Circuit held that the district court properly determined that it had and continues to have subject-matter jurisdiction over the res; Gold Hound should be granted leave to intervene in this proceeding to assert its in rem claims; and, on remand, the court deferred to the district court's discretion to determine whether to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Gold Hound's state law claims. The court vacated the district court's denial of Gold Hound's motion to intervene and its denial of Gold Hound's claim to a maritime lien and remanded, because the court could not decide on the record whether Gold Hound may succeed because basic facts remain in dispute. View "Salvors, Inc. v. Unidentified Wrecked & Abandoned Vessel" on Justia Law