Aaron Lichtenberger was arrested for failing to register as a sex offender. His girlfriend, wondering why she was never allowed to use his computer, hacked into it and found images of child pornography. She notified the authorities, police obtained a warrant to search the computer, which led to more pornography. The Sixth Circuit, however, suppressed all this evidence as the product of an unconstitutional search.
Recently in Civil Rights Law Category
What good is a law allowing the open carrying of handguns when the police are just going to arrest you for it? Shawn and Denise Northrup of Toledo, Ohio were just walking their dog one evening when a motorcyclist saw them and yelled, "You can't walk around with a gun like that!"
For, you see, Shawn was walking the dog while armed with a semiautomatic handgun. The motorcyclist, Alan Rose, called the police, who confirmed that it was legal to carry openly in Ohio, but nevertheless sent an officer out to investigate.
After Leslie Ashmore, a convicted felon, was found in possession of firearms, he was tried for violating federal law and sentenced to 20 years in prison. On appeal however, he earned a new trial, since the court had improperly introduced evidence that was obtained through the use of a two step Miranda technique meant to undermine the effectiveness of Ashmore's Miranda rights.
One October night, police found Ashmore passed out in his vehicle, alongside drug paraphernalia. A search of the car revealed two firearms, safely tucked away in a lock box for which Ashmore had the key. Two weeks later, a team of 10 to 20 officers, including the city's SWAT time, was deployed to arrest Ashmore. Special Agent Jamie Jenkins questioned Ashmore as to whether there were any guns in the car he was arrested in -- before he received his Miranda warnings.
Kentucky law prohibits electioneering signs within 300 feet of a polling place -- or, at least, it did until October, when a federal judge held the law unconstitutional, finding that the 300-foot restriction was much larger than necessary to combat the evils of voter coercion and intimidation.
Today, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's ruling, finding the statute facially invalid under the First Amendment for prohibiting way more speech than was necessary.
The city of St. Johns, Michigan passed an ordinance banning unattended outdoor charitable donation bins. Planet Aid is a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable food production and healthy lifestyles. Part of its business involves the use of such outdoor bins to get donations of clothes and shoes.
Of course you know where this is going, right? In January 2013, St. Johns directed Planet Aid to remove its donation bins, claiming the bins attracted "boxes and other refuse." Planet Aid refused and the city removed them. A year later, the city council passed an ordinance banning such bins, leading to this lawsuit.
Courts are continuing the trend toward striking down Draconian laws targeting sex offenders. Last year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal disapproved of California's requirement that sex offenders hand over all their Internet usernames to the state attorney general. Last month, the California Supreme Court overturned a state law categorically banning sex offenders from living in certain areas.
At the end of March, a federal district judge in Michigan similarly struck parts of that state's Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA).
A man stopped for speeding and arrested for possessing a kilo of heroin did not have his Fourth Amendment rights violated when police detained him so that a dog could sniff his car, the Sixth Circuit ruled on Tuesday. Sniffing out a car isn't a search under the Fourth, the court held, and does not implicate a citizen's reasonable expectation of privacy.
The case, United States v. Winters, challenged the further detention of Patrick Winters after he was pulled over and issued a speeding ticket and the use of the dog to sniff his car without a warrant.
A Mexican citizen who pled guilty to violating U.S. immigration law cannot have his sentence overturned because the district court failed to directly reference applicable sentencing guidelines, the Sixth Circuit ruled on Monday. Jose Solano-Rosales was sentenced to supervised release after he pled guilty to entering the U.S. without authorization after having been previously removed subsequent to a felony conviction.
During the sentencing, the district court never explicitly referenced the relevant federal sentencing guidelines, which generally recommended against supervised release. However, the district court's error did not impact Solano-Rosales' substantive rights, the Sixth Circuit ruled, since the reasons for supervised release and its deterrent effects were thoroughly discussed during sentencing.
One town over from where your author grew up lies the City of Painesville, Ohio, where in 2010, Painesville police officers electrocuted David Lee Nall with a TASER for 26 seconds. Nall suffered a heart attack and permanent brain damage as a result. He needs assistance with daily life tasks and has trouble remembering things.
The Sixth Circuit today batted away a labor suit brought by the Michigan Corrections Organization, a union of prison correction officers, against the Michigan Department of Corrections.
The federal appeals court had no trouble affirming the district court's dismissal for absence of a cognizable federal claim. It took the time, however, to address, and dismiss, some of the plaintiffs' more novel theories of relief.