Posts Tagged ‘misrepresenting the law’

Does A Mere Clause In a Sentence Represent Meaningful Appeal?

April 7, 2008

Justice Turned On Its Head

Justice Turned On Its Head

Judge Donald L. GrahamJudge Donald L. Graham

Point of this Post

The Eleventh Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeal cited a mere clause in a sentence in an unpublished opinion and apparently considered this “meaningful appellate review” of Judge Graham’s failure to disqualify. This appeal was captioned under Eleventh Circuit Case No. 01-13364 and Dist. Ct. Case No. 99-14027-CV-Graham/Lynch. This appeal was ultimately concluded with an unpublished opinion that to be kind and civil amounted to nothing more than dishonesty and a reckless disregard for the “rule of law”. See Undermining An Appeal Right to see other ways this appeal was undermined.

It couldn’t be more clear that the Judges at the Eleventh Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeal, are not going to let the “rule of law” prohibit them from achieving their desired outcome-a total vindication of Judge Graham’s miscreant behavior. This behavior is fully documented at:

A US Circuit Judge On the Potential Dangers of Unpublished Opinions

“If, for example, a precedent is cited, and the other side then offers a distinction, and the judges on the panel cannot think of a good answer to the distinction, but nevertheless, for some extraneous reason, wish to reject it, they can easily do so through the device of an abbreviated, unpublished opinion, and no one will ever be the wiser. (I don’t say that judges are actually doing this–only that the temptation exists.) Or if, after hearing argument, a judge in conference thinks that a certain decision should be reached, but also believes that the decision is hard to justify under the law, he or she can achieve the result, assuming agreement by the other members of the panel, by deciding the case in an unpublished opinion and sweeping the difficulties under the rug. Again, I’m not saying that this has ever occurred in any particular case, but a system that encourages this sort of behavior, or is at least open to it, has to be subject to question in any world in which judges are human beings.” 1 J. App. Prac. & Process 219 (1999). UNPUBLISHED OPINIONS: A COMMENT, Richard S. Arnold, Copyright © 1999 University of Arkansas – Little Rock School of Law ; Richard S. Arnold


The Eleventh Circuit was told of their “mistake” or omission of failing to decide whether Judge Graham should or disqualified or recused himself. Judge Stanley F. Birch, Jr., writing for the panel, rejected Mason’s plea to consider whether Judge Graham should have disqualified or recused himself. On Jan 31, 2003, Judge Birch said: “The petition(s) for rehearing filed by appellant, Marcellus M. Mason, Jr., is DENIED.” See Rehearing Denial Order.

Disqualification on Appeal

See Case Background Information.
On March 11, 2002, Marcellus Mason filed a brief with the Eleventh Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeal that stated, among other things, Judge Graham should have disqualified or recused himself. See Appellant’s Brief. This brief excoriates Judge Graham and accuses him of the following:

  • Usurping authority by allowing a Magistrate to render an injunction.
  • Usurping authority by prohibiting out of court direct communication with the government
  • Usurping authority by administering the Florida Public Records Act.
  • Intentionally lying and misrepresenting the law.
  • Refusing to rule on a motion for a preliminary injunction that had been pending for more than 19 months.
  • Mismanagement of the Case by Allowing scores of motions and filings to languish without being decided.

These allegations, and others, are fully documented at

    Meaningless Appeal

    On October 16, 2002, Judges Stanley F. Birch, Jr., Susan H. Black, and Stanley Marcus asserted:

    “Mason also raises issues that relate to non-sanction matters, e.g., .. the denial of his motions to disqualify the district court and magistrate judges…”

    See Opinion, page 10. This is the sum total of appellate review as to whether Judge Donald L. Graham should have been disqualified due to misconduct. The “opinion” is 14 pages long. There is absolutely no discussion as to whether the allegations of misconduct are true or not.

Rehearing Motion

Subsequent to the Eleventh Circuit’s failure to decide whether or not Judge Graham should have disqualified or recuse in their “opinion”, Mason filed motion informing the Court of this “oversight” or failure.

This Court’s opinion does not address whether or not the district court abused his discretion by not disqualifying. Plaintiff raised this issue in his Initial Brief at pages 30-33. Mason contends that the district court is in violation of Canon 1, Canon 3, Code Of Conduct For United States Judges Code Of Conduct For United States Judges. Plaintiff’s motion to disqualify was submitted on February 7, 2001, (Doc. 460), which was submitted prior to Defendants’ motions for dismissal in the form of sanctions, the first of which was not submitted until March 2, 2001, (Doc. 511). The district judge should have never taken action on the Defendant’s motion for dismissal that was submitted on March 2, 2001 because he was required to disqualify on Mason’s motion submitted on February 7, 2001.

Pg. 13, Motion For Rehearing.

On Jan 31, 2003, Judge Birch said: “The petition(s) for rehearing filed by appellant, Marcellus M. Mason, Jr., is DENIED.” See Rehearing Denial Order.

Compare Judge Graham To Judge Duross Fitzpatrick

In Chudasama v. Mazda Motor Corp., 123 F.3d 1353 (C.A.11 (Ga.), 1997), Judge Duross Fitzpatrick, Middle District of Georgia, the district court was excoriated for mismanagement of a case. This case involved the district court’s failure to resolve discovery disputes and failure to decide motions. “Failure to consider and rule on significant pretrial motions before issuing dispositive orders can be an abuse of discretion.” Chudasama, supra.