U.S. Sixth Circuit - FindLaw

U.S. Sixth Circuit - The FindLaw 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


The reclusive world of Ohio's Amish community became a little less reclusive in 2011, after 16 members of a breakaway Amish sect ambushed their neighbors at night, cutting off their beards. The beard cutting was designed to humiliate its victims, excommunicated members of the small Amish community in Bergholz, Ohio.

The ten men and six women behind the attacks were convicted almost four years ago, though the Sixth Circuit reversed their federal hate crimes convictions in 2014, resulting in significantly reduced sentences. On Tuesday, the beard cutters were back before the Sixth Circuit, arguing for even lesser sentences, but this time, reductions seemed much less likely.

Cell Site Records Are Like Stamps and Envelopes, Says 6th Cir.

The Sixth Circuit employed a rather fascinating analogy comparing historical cell-site records of caller data to mailing addresses, thus raising questions about reasonable expectations of privacy. The result? The Stored Communications Act within the Sixth Circuit does not equal a mega-search.

Lawyers should compare this ruling with the Houston Family case ruling, also decided by the Sixth Circuit. A quick review of the court's language shows a remarkable consistency in theme.

Jeffery Walker had had enough with his neighbor's defecating dog. When the pooch pooped in Walker's yard, he complained to his neighbor. Still the stinky trespass continued. He complained to the cops, but the feces kept piling up. Then one putrid day, Walker demanded that his neighbor come over and clean up after his canine. But, before the poop could be scooped, Walker ended up cutting off the man's arm with a machete.

Unfortunately for Walker, that feculent machete attack was a violation of his parole, and it landed him a five-year jail sentence, the maximum punishment available. The Sixth Circuit upheld that sentence on Monday, despite Walker's pleas that he was just acting in self-defense.

Chinese Citizen Can't Convince 6th Circ. of Persecution as Christian

Another circuit court has upheld an IJ and Board of Immigration Appeals decision to deny review of a Chinese citizen's petition for asylum. This Sixth Circuit decision was based on issues of credibility and inconsistencies in the petitioner's testimony before the Immigration Judge.

This is the second Christianity-asylum case involving a Chinese citizen in recent history to reach a circuit court. It will unlikely be the last.

6th Circuit Clarifies the Bounds of Detention During Search

In a recent case in the Sixth Circuit, the court upheld a lower district's decision to deny a motion to suppress evidence. The case, United States v. Binford, underscored the distinction between an arrest and a detention.

6th Cir. Affirms Against Bullied Child in Harassment Case

Bullying, it seems, is a reality of schoolyard politics. And despite the seeming injustice in a recent circuit court ruling, the Sixth Circuit determined that a defendant school district was not "deliberately indifferent" as to the sufferings of one bullied child.

The court ruling is a reminder to both schools and parents that bullying is an unfortunate reality that sometimes cannot be cured by legal means.

Three years ago, the Internal Revenue Service revealed that it had created a "Be on the Lookout" lists, identifying certain organizations for extra scrutiny. Many of those organizations shared one key feature: they had Tea Party in their name. When they applied for tax-exempt status, they were allegedly met with excessive delays and unreasonable IRS demands.

Now, after the politically targeted groups sued, the IRS is employing those same unjustified tactics in court, according to a very harshly worded opinion from the Sixth Circuit. This was a serious benchslap. IRS lawyers, you might want to rethink your litigation strategy.

6th Circuit Says It Has Authority to Clarify EPA's WOTUS Rule

If there has ever been a convoluted rule to come from the EPA/Army Corps of Engineers, it's the "Waters of the United States" (WOTUS) rule. Just recently, the Sixth Circuit decided that it had jurisdiction to review the mountain of challenges against the controversial law, and not the Federal district courts.

The rule had been the result of a couple of SCOTUS decisions that the EPA/ACE had flexed too much authoritative muscle in regulating outlying waters. And now, debate over the expansiveness of the law has ballooned into about several dozen different lawsuits by various states and groups.

10 Weeks of Non-Stop Camera Surveillance Is Not a Search

According to a recent ruling by the Sixth Circuit, it's not a 'search' for the government to have a camera on a public utility pole pointed into your backyard -- even when the camera records evidence nonstop for ten weeks.

Retiree Benefits Case Goes Back to Trial Court for the 3rd Time

After what can only be called a meandering journey of legal issues through the courts, the Sixth Circuit remanded a collective bargaining agreement case back to the district court, again to re-evaluate the law consistent with SCOTUS's newly greenlit "ordinary principles of contract law."

Chief Judge Cole was quick to point out that the case of Tackett v. M&G Polymers had seen the inside of his courtroom before, and readers of his opinion could almost hear the weariness through his pen. This would have been the third time his court would be faced with making a substantive decision as to applicable law in this most ostensibly basic of CBA disputes.