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

April 2016 Archives

Appeals Court Applies Statutory Immunity in Wheelchair-Skiing Case

An interesting case was affirmed for the defendant ski-resort at the Sixth Circuit recently, offering refresher insights into the proper means and technique of statutory interpretation.

The case involved a lady in a wheelchair on a ski-lift tramway. Despite the prosaic facts, the plaintiff offered some curious legal theories in her injury claim.

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.