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David Hamilton - CONFIRMED
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
President Barack Obama has nominated United States District Court Judge David Hamilton to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Judge Hamilton has an exemplary record in the law, sterling credentials and bipartisan support from both of his home state senators.
1957: Born in Indiana
1979: Graduated from Haverford College
1983: Graduated From Yale Law School
1983-1984: Clerked for Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Cudahy
1984-1989: Private practice at law firm Barnes and Thornburg
1989- 1991: Counsel to then-Indiana Governor Evan Bayh
1991-1994: Member of Indiana State Ethics Commission
1991-1994: Partner at Barnes and Thornburg
1994-present: Federal judge, United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
Present: Advisory Board Member, Center for Constitutional Democracy at Indiana University
SELECTED NOTABLE DECISIONS
Tucker v. SmithKline Beecham Corp. Judge Hamilton initially ruled that federal law preempted a state tort claim against the drug company. In the matter before him, a priest had committed suicide after taking the anti-depressant, Paxil. Then, Judge Hamilton reassessed his earlier decision and allowed the claim to proceed. His reasoning why the claim wasn't preempted almost mirrors the recent Supreme Court decision by Justice Stevens in Wyeth v. Levine, which upheld the right of an injured patient to sue a drug company for their faulty product.
American Amusement Machine Ass'n v. Cottey. Judge Hamilton upheld the state's interest in protecting children. The city of Indianapolis enacted an ordinance requiring parental consent for children to have access to video games with extreme violence or explicit sexual content. The video game industry challenged the ordinance, but Judge Hamilton showed deference to lawmakers and upheld the ordinance. He reasoned that in the same way the law allows for the government to restrict adult access to explicit sexual content, the city could restrict children's access to extremely violent content.
United States v. Sherman. During his time on the bench, he has held white collar criminals accountable for their corporate malfeasance. Judge Hamilton sentenced a former credit union head teller who embezzles $7 million to eight years and one month in prison, five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay over $7 million in restitution fees. In another case from 2007, United States v. Tauer, a former real estate executive has written $217 million in bad checks and fixed bank loans to keep his real estate company afloat when it started experiencing financial trouble in 2002. In sentencing the executive to 6 and ½ years, Judge Hamilton told the man that he had "turned lives upside down." He also ordered him to pay $9 million in restitution and to apologize to those who had been injured. Also, in United States v. Turner, Judge Hamilton sentenced a child pornographer to 100 years in prison; the sentence was upheld by the Seventh Circuit.
A Woman's Choice East-Side Women's Clinic v. Newman. Judge Hamilton struck down an Indiana abortion law that called for counseling from a physician at least 18 hours before an abortion, thus requiring a woman to make two trips to a hospital or clinic. The Seventh Circuit overturned the decision in a divided opinion, and majority author Judge Easterbrook noted the lack of clear guidance from the Supreme Court on the issue at bar.
Watkins v. Miller. The accused had been wrongly convicted of the rape and murder of a young girl. After the trial, DNA tests showed that it was virtually impossible for him to have committed the crime. Yet, state courts rejected the newly discovered data. In federal habeas proceedings, Judge Hamilton ruled that the accused met the strict requirements under the law to have his case heard. The case went forth and the man was exonerated. Although the state appealed, later more sophisticated DNA tests clearly showed the man's innocence.
United States v. Ingram. Six defendants were involved in a drug conspiracy to sell 20 grams of cocaine; all had prior drug and violent crime convictions. The issue was whether, in making its case, the government could use video surveillance gathered of the men in their hotel room. Although the police did not have a warrant, they had permission from a person with access to the room to tape them. Judge Hamilton ruled that although the defendants could assert Fourth Amendment rights, the video was admissible.
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