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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.

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.

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.

6th Circuit Affirms Tribal Version of 'State's Interest' Test

In a rather interesting jurisdiction case, the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed a lower court's decision which held that a tribe did not have jurisdiction over a member's off-reservation criminal conduct. The circuit rule that the tribe essentially held criminal jurisdiction over the defendant inasmuch as it was needed to protect the tribe's self-governance and internal relations.

The case represents a refreshing dip into civil procedure by breaking away from federal and state courts, and into the world of Native American law.

The Fight Over Ohio's Election Laws Fizzles From Mootness

The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit just granted the State of Ohio's motion to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Libertarian Party of Ohio in what had become a "long struggle."

The Party had previously tasted defeat when the district court granted partial summary judgment to the State, ruling that Ohio's voting statutes did not violate the First Amendment or the Fourteenth Amendment; and that Sovereign Immunity clothed the state in Teflon. This latest ruling basically just killed the Party's request to revisit those findings.

SCOTUS Refuses Cert. of Habeas Corpus Case, Scalia Dissents ... Calmly

The nation's highest court refused to intervene in a Confrontation Clause case in which a convicted murder pled for relief. This is the latest in Sixth Circuit Opinions where that court has taken its own path with regards to 'precedent.'

In an atypically calm dissenting opinion, Justice Scalia reasoned that the Sixth Circuit had built up an appetite and "taste for disregarding" the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and that the Supreme Court should have granted review to "discourage" such appetites.

Loud, unpopular, even hateful speech is still speech and it still deserves First Amendment protections. That's the gist of a recent Sixth Circuit case dealing with the classic "heckler's veto" or the ability of an angry crowd to shut down an unpopular speaker.

In this particular case, the hecklers were attendees of the Arab International Festival who were harangued by a pigs-head-on-a-stick wielding "group of self-described Christian evangelists preaching hate and denigration," according to the Sixth Circuit. When the crowd responded with violence, the evangelists were removed, a decision that the court held violated their First Amendment rights.

A religious child-care provider, whose biggest client was the state of Kentucky, will be able to continue a longstanding lawsuit a bit longer, thanks to a Sixth Circuit ruling on Monday. Sunrise Children's Services provides group housing, foster care placement and other services to Kentucky children in state custody. Those services come with a heavy dose of religious coercion, according to critics.

Those critics sued 15 years ago, alleging that the state was violating the Establishment Clause by contracting with Sunrise. After 13 years of fruitless litigation, the state and its critics finally entered into a settlement -- but only over Sunrises' objections. Now, Sunrise is entitled to make those objections heard in court, the Sixth Circuit ruled.

Call it a case of "I fought the lawn and the lawn won." A homeowner in Howell, Michigan, has been fined after he refused to mow the grass on the curb strip in front of his house -- and the Sixth Circuit is on board with that.

David Shoemaker had refused to maintain the area between the sidewalk and street in front of his house after the city cut down a tree over his objections. Unwilling to put up with the site of unkempt, eight-inch-plus grass, Howell hired a lawn company to manicure the strip. Then they sent Shoemaker the bill.