Justia Family Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
FL Dept. of Revenue v. Diaz; Commonwealth of VA Dept. of Social Serv.
The Florida Department of Revenue (Florida DOR) and the Virginia Department of Social Services (Virginia DSS) appealed the district court's decision affirming an order of the bankruptcy court holding the agencies in contempt and awarding debtor compensatory and punitive damages for the agencies' alleged violations of the automatic stay and discharge injunction issued by the bankruptcy court. The court held that state sovereign immunity shields the the Florida DOR and the Virginia DSS from debtor's claims for violations of the automatic stay. The court also held that, although sovereign immunity did not bar debtor's claims for violations of the discharge injunction, neither the Florida DOR nor the Virginia DSS violated the discharge injunction. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment of the district court and remanded with instructions to vacate the bankruptcy court's order and dismiss the action.
USA v. Martikainen
Defendant appealed his 30 month sentence for removing a child from the United States with intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1204(a). At issue was whether the district court erred by applying the two-level enhancement under U.S.S.G. 3C1.2 for recklessly endangering another in the course of fleeing from a law enforcement officer. The court held that the district court erred in applying section 3C1.2 where defendant did not endanger his son while knowingly fleeing a law enforcement officer when defendant was unaware of the pursuit by the Coast Guard agents until the pursuit was over and defendant immediately cooperated with the first law enforcement officers he encountered. The court also held that the error was not harmless because the district court expressly stated that it was sentencing defendant in the middle of the guideline range and defendant's 30 month sentence exceeded the guideline range applicable without the section 3C1.2 enhancement. Accordingly, the court vacated the sentence and remanded for re-sentencing.