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Appellate & Post-Trial Litigation Blog

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Seventh Circuit Appellate Court Filings Decrease


The Seventh Circuit has issued its annual report for 2021, and once again, the trend is down. The number of appeals filed in 2021 was 2,493, a decrease of 5% from 2020. This cannot be attributed to the pandemic or economic forces alone. Examining the bigger picture, the number has steadily declined over 15 years. For example, there were 3,518 appeals filed in 2006, amounting to a drop of over 1,000 appeals over the last 15 years.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2022

En Banc Split Vote


The Seventh Circuit evenly split on an en banc petition this week, five to five in Johnson v. Prentice, No. 18-3535. The tie vote meant the panel decision stood, and thus the Court would not hear the case en banc. The issue generated a concurrence from Judge Michael Scudder and a passionate dissent from Judge Diane Wood.
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Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Appealing Summary Judgment


Litigants who prevail at summary judgment must be cautious at the appellate level. While it is tempting for counsel to portray the facts in their client’s best interests, federal appellate precedent is very clear that this is a bad idea. That lesson was reflected by the recent Seventh Circuit decision of Ziccarelli v. Sheriff Thomas Dart, No. 19-3435.
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Monday, April 25, 2022

The Vanishing Appeal


The United States Supreme Court recently issued its 2021 year-end report on the federal judiciary. While federal filings fell across the board, appellate filings experienced a notable decline. Continuing its downward trend over the last five years, the number of federal appellate filings decreased 8% from 48,190 in 2020 to 44,546 in 2021. This is a 13% drop from 2017. Pro se appeals, which accounted for 48% of filings, fell 9%.
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Tuesday, April 5, 2022

United States v. Davis


Most federal criminal cases are resolved through plea agreement. As a condition to such a plea, defendants often agree to waive their statutory right to appeal their conviction and sentence. While the appellate waiver wording varies by case, such waivers are generally enforceable in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Enforceability exists if the appellate waiver is unambiguous and the record demonstrates the defendant voluntarily entered into the agreement. Federal criminal appeals cases are replete with defendants being stymied by their own waiver.


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Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Respecting The Record: A Cautionary Tale


Today, the Seventh Circuit issued a scorching opinion in the criminal appeal of United States v. Witkemper. The case concerned a small business owner who failed to withhold federal payroll taxes from his employees’ wages. In a bench trial, the district court found him guilty of not paying the taxes. The Seventh Circuit quickly dispensed with the merits, which it deemed "open and shut," and delved into the conduct of appellate counsel.
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Friday, January 7, 2022

Defining Lewdness: Illinois Courts Struggle For Consistency


I had the honor of being published in this month's edition of the Illinois Bar Journal. The article is entitled, "Defining Lewdness: Illinois Courts Struggle For Consistency." It examines a contentious issue that has the potential to ensnare many as the use of smart phones continues to proliferate.

The article can be Read more . . .


Thursday, December 30, 2021

Welcome to the Keleher Appellate Law Group Blog

The aim of this blog is to provide readers with the latest developments in appellate litigation, both state and federal, firm news, and other random musings. We hope you find it informative and interesting.

Thanks for reading!


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