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

December 2013 Archives

6th Circuit Places Hold on Mich. Parole Hearings for Juvie Lifers

We've seen a lot of confusion emerge from the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last year in Miller v. Alabama. The Court issued a mushy standard to follow-up on two prior holdings, one banning the death penalty outright for minors, and another banning life-without-parole sentences for juveniles convicted of non-homicide offenses.

In Miller, the Court addressed homicide offenders, and held that while a life-without-parole sentence may be appropriate, there must first be consideration of the offender's age, childhood, life experience, degree of responsibility the youth was capable of exercising, and the chances for rehabilitation. The Court also implied that a life sentence is almost never appropriate.

Of course, that doesn't help those who have already been sentenced. Or does it?

All Eyes on D: Bankruptcy Appeal Gets Fast Track to 6th Circuit

Municipal bankruptcies, at least until recently, were a rare phenomenon. Even more rare is a bankruptcy filing of this magnitude. Detroit has $18.5 billion in debt and liabilities that it cannot afford to pay, including $3.5 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.

In a 150-page order earlier this month, Judge Steven W. Rhodes held that Motown was eligible to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy and more importantly, could restructure or avoid some of its massive pension obligations, despite the Michigan Constitution's protections for pensioners from cuts, as federal bankruptcy law trumps state law.

Both holdings may now head to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, after Judge Rhodes certified his rulings for appeal directly to the appeals court, bypassing the intermediate district court, though as USA Today notes, it'll be up to the Sixth Circuit to decide whether it wants to accept the immediate appeal.

Amici Tech Giants Raise Stakes in TheDirty v. Cheerleader Case

Our first take on this case was that it seems to be pretty cut and dried: the Kentucky-based federal district court misinterpreted the Communications Decency Act when it held gossip site TheDirty.com could be held liable for users' scurrilous comments about Sarah Jones, a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader.

The comments discussed her rumored sexual habits and certain sexually transmitted diseases that she was alleged to have acquired.

Local Case: Catholic Hospitals, Abortions and Standard of Care

This isn't our usual appellate fare, but a local district court case may interest you, especially if you've been following other swirling legal conflicts between religious rights and healthcare.

In a lawsuit headed for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, a plaintiff, Tamesha Means, alleges that a local Catholic hospital negligently denied her proper healthcare, and exposed her to unnecessary pain, due to mandates from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which issues the "Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services."