August 21, 2019

Archives for January 2, 2012

Where Change Begins: Impossible Mission, Unlikely Hero (Part 3)

Editor’s Note: This is the final article in a three-part series of job search and career transition articles. Part one and part two are also online.

Why does its seem like our grandest visions bother to come to us when they could’ve found someone a whole lot better qualified?

Inspiration does that to you. It surprises you, lays the whole glorious vision out there in high def, then drops the impossible mission on you, knowing full well there’s no possible way you could ever do it. And then it asks whether you’ll accept your mission anyway.

A few years back, I launched out to pursue a big dream of producing a stage spectacle. People were encouraging – they told me it wasn’t completely outlandish to think I could do it. I was a lawyer with a creative streak. So what? There are lots of those around. Surely the combination of right-brained aptitude and left-brained education and experience would help me out. Right?

I appreciated their support, but knew better. A career of advising small business owners wasn’t going to help with a multi-million dollar business plan or its capital requirements. Running a law firm of five lawyers and support staff hadn’t done anything to prepare me for managing a cast and crew and other independent service providers and product vendors totaling over 70. Diddling around in theater hadn’t taught me the artistic and technical intricacies of putting on a multimedia stage spectacle. And on it went. There was no way I could justify to myself that I was the man for the job.

How did I deal with my lack of qualification? In the end, I didn’t. I didn’t pursue my Big Idea because I could, I did it because I was called – because when no one else wanted the job, it was up to me or I was going to have to let the whole crazy idea go. And I couldn’t, I just couldn’t. It had its hooks in me too deeply. So I accepted the impossible mission.

That’s what we do when inspiration gets its hooks in us. There will be all sorts of sound and well-educated reasons for doing the thing we feel inspired to do – or not – but in the end none of them can explain that initial moment of inspiration when we see and hear and feel that thing that moves our hearts so much we just have to give it a try.

If that’s not a calling, it’ll do until the real thing comes along.

Kevin Rhodes left a successful 20+ years career in private practice to pursue a creative dream. He has led two workshops for the CBA’s Job Search and Career Transitions Support Group. His next one, scheduled for January 10, 2012, is called Work With Passion: Find Your Fire and Fuel It! Click here for registration information.

Chief Justice Roberts Issues 2011 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary

United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Jr. has issued his 2011 Year-End Report on the Federal Judiciary. The Report discusses federal judges’ Code of Conduct, financial disclosures and gift regulation, and recusal. Justice Roberts’ Report also provides an appendix covering the workload of the many federal courts over the last year:

In 2011, caseloads increased in the U.S. district courts and in the probation and pretrial services offices, but decreased in the U.S. appellate and bankruptcy courts. Total case filings in the district courts grew 2% to 367,692. The number of persons under post-conviction supervision rose 2% to 129,780. Cases opened in the pretrial services system also went up 2%, reaching 113,875. In the U.S. courts of appeals, though, filings dropped 1.5% to 55,126. Filings in the U.S. bankruptcy courts, which had climbed 14% in 2010, declined 8% this year to just below 1.5 million petitions.

The Supreme Court of the United States

The total number of cases filed in the Supreme Court decreased from 8,159 filings in the 2009 Term to 7,857 filings in the 2010 Term, a decrease of 3.7%. The number of cases filed in the Court’s in forma pauperis docket decreased from 6,576 filings in the 2009 Term to 6,299 filings in the 2010 Term, a 4.2% decrease. The number of cases filed in the Court’s paid docket decreased from 1,583 filings in the 2009 Term to 1,558 filings in the 2010 Term, a 1.6% decrease. During the 2010 Term, 86 cases were argued and 83 were disposed of in 75 signed opinions, compared to 82 cases argued and 77 disposed of in 73 signed opinions in the 2009 Term.

The Federal Courts of Appeals

Filings in the regional courts of appeals fell 1.5% to 55,126. Growth occurred in original proceedings and bankruptcy appeals. Appeals arising from the district courts decreased. Although civil appeals remained fairly stable, reductions occurred in many types of criminal appeals. Appeals of administrative agency decisions declined as a result of the continued drop in filings related to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

The Federal District Courts

Civil filings in the U.S. district courts grew 2% to 289,252 cases. Fueling this growth was a 2% increase in federal question cases (i.e., actions under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States in which the United States is not a party in the case), which resulted mainly from cases addressing civil rights, consumer credit, and intellectual property rights.

Cases filed with the United States as a party climbed 9%. Those with the United States as plaintiff increased in response to a surge in defaulted student loan cases. Cases with the United States as defendant rose largely because of growth in Social Security cases.

Although criminal case filings (including transfers) remained stable (up by 12 cases to 78,440), the number of criminal defendants increased 3% to set a new record of 102,931. Growth in filings occurred for defendants charged with drug crimes, general offenses, firearms and explosives offenses, sex offenses, and property offenses.

Filings for defendants charged with immigration offenses fell for the first time since 2006, decreasing 3%. The southwestern border districts accounted for 74% of the Nation’s total immigration defendant filings, up from 73% in 2010.

The Bankruptcy Courts

Filings of bankruptcy petitions declined 8% to 1,467,221. This was the first reduction since 2007, when filings plunged after the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 took effect. Filings for 2011 were lower in 87 of the 90 bankruptcy courts. Nonbusiness petitions fell 8%, and business petitions dropped 14%.

Bankruptcy petitions decreased 10% under chapter 7, 16% under chapter 11, and 4% under chapter 13.

The Federal Probation and Pretrial Services System

The 129,780 persons under post-conviction supervision on September 30, 2011, represented an increase of 2% over the total from the previous year. The number of persons serving terms of supervised release after their departure from correctional institutions grew 2% to 105,037, and amounted to 81% of all persons under supervision.

Cases opened in the pretrial services system in 2011, including pretrial diversion cases, rose 2% to 113,875.

Click here to read the full report issued by the United States Courts.

Tenth Circuit: Congress Had Authority to Require Federal Sex Offender on Supervised Release to Comply with Registration Provisions under SORNA

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in United States v. Carel, Jr. on Friday, December 30, 2011.

The Tenth Circuit affirmed Petitioner’s conviction and sentence. Petitioner, a federally adjudicated sex offender, was convicted of knowingly failing to update his sex offender registration as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). On appeal, he contends that SORNA’s sex offender registration provision is unconstitutional. The Court disagreed and found that, based on Congress’s authority to enact Petitioner’s original statute of conviction, Congress had corresponding Necessary and Proper Clause authority to require him—a federal sex offender on supervised release for violating that statute—to comply with the registration provisions.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 12/30/11

On Friday, December 30, 2011, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and seven unpublished opinions.


United States v. Doles

United States v. Lester

Belden v. Lampert

Field v. Board of Water Comm’rs

Dumas v. The Proctor and Gamble Manufacturing Co.

O’Kelley v. Heredia

Conger v. Astrue

No case summaries are available for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.