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

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A group of blind voters, along with the National Federation of the Blind, successfully appealed the dismissal of their lawsuit against Ohio's Secretary of State, Jon Husted, to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case involves a challenge to Ohio's absentee voting process claiming it is discriminatory against blind voters under the ADA.

The case was dismissed after the state filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings. The state asserted that the requested relief was not reasonable or practical because the plaintiffs sought the implementation of certain online voting tools that had not been certified by the state's election board. The heart of the state's claim was that the plaintiffs were trying to use the ADA to get around state procedural laws. While the district court agreed, the circuit court did not.

Using a rarely exercised bit of appellate procedure, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to take up an interlocutory appeal of the Trump campaign rally incitement case. The lower court had denied Trump's motion to dismiss the incitement claim, but then certified the opinion so that the order could be appealed (as normally orders on a motion to dismiss are not eligible for interlocutory appeals).

But, as the circuit court noted, the procedural circumstances, like the facts, in this case, are rather unique. Clearly the appellate court sees the value in an early resolution of this issue, as a determination that Trump's speech is protected under the First Amendment would squash the incitement claim, and squashing claims against a sitting U.S. president is something the federal courts are somewhat motivated to do in order to maintain political peace.

Court Weighs Religious v. Transgender Rights

Aimee Stephens, who was born a male, worked for a funeral home for six years.

One day, Stephens went to work and told the funeral director that she was changing her gender and wanted to start wearing women's clothing to work. The director fired her, citing religious beliefs.

Now a federal appeals court is pondering whether such religious rights outweigh transgender rights. It's nearly the same issue that is already before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case of John Doe v. University of Cincinnati is not without some confused emotions. While it may sound like a typical case of a college campus 'he said she said' sexual assault dispute, the courts have found the disciplinary process to be unconstitutional.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the college's disciplinary process violated the due process rights of the student accused of sexual assault because he was denied the right to confront his accuser. However, unlike a criminal trial where a due process violation like this could be grounds for reversal, the appellate court explained that when it comes to school discipline, the law is a little bit different. Nevertheless, the appellate court upheld the granting of the preliminary injunction stopping the school from suspending the accused student.

Civil asset forfeiture is controversial and confusing, to say the least. And despite it falling out of fashion during the Obama administration, AG Sessions supports its use. However, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a decision that helps to clarify the court pleading requirements for those who are fighting to regain possession of seized property.

Civil asset forfeiture is the law enforcement equivalent of stealing candy from a baby. If an individual refuses to let their property be taken by law enforcement, they risk arrest for obstruction or some other related charge. Making matters worse, when people try to fight to reclaim ownership, procedural technicalities, and poorly crafted laws, often make recovery impossible.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has revived a pair of federal lawsuits filed as a result of the water contamination scandal in Flint, Michigan. The cases were filed on behalf of injured residents to receive compensation for their personal injuries.

The cases are against the city and local officials, as well as against the state and state officials. Though the court revived the pair of lawsuits, the claims against the state and governor have been dismissed due to immunity.

Officers who killed two pit bulls during a drug raid in 2013 have qualified immunity, the Sixth Circuit ruled recently. The dogs were shot multiple times as police in Battle Creek, Michigan, executed a search warrant. Afterwards, the dogs' owners sued, alleging that the pooch killing was an unconstitutional seizure of property under the Fourth Amendment.

It's a mixed ruling for fans of man's best friend. Though the Sixth ruled that unreasonably shooting a dog is a Fourth Amendment violation, it found the shootings reasonable here, given testimony that the dogs were barking and had lunged at officers.

Want to commemorate your vote for America's first potential Madame President? Feeling like sharing your Trump ballot with your friends on Facebook? Well, think twice before snapping a ballot selfie if you're a voter in Michigan, where a ban on displaying completed ballots has been in place since 1891, long before ballot selfies became a thing.

That ban has survived 125 years so far and will last through this election, after the Sixth Circuit stayed an injunction against the rule until after ballots are cast this Election Day.

Mugshots Deserving of 'Non-Trivial' Privacy Considerations

The Sixth Circuit effectively negated a 1996 ruling it had made which gave substantial media access to criminal defendants' mugshots taken during the booking process. But the decision was a tight one: 9-7.

Free press advocates were not happy with the decision, but they expressed a hope that the Supreme Court would review the issues of the case.

6th Cir. Affirms 'Invalid' Arrest Warrants Against Strippers

Here's an interesting case out of the Sixth Circuit fit for a bar exam question analysis. The Sixth Circuit affirmed a dismissal of case against an Ohio county whose officers had allegedly used "invalid warrants" to arrest "exotic dancers" over various time periods for crimes ranging from prostitution to drug distribution to witness intimidation. Each failed in their appeal for what looks be a stupid error on their part.

This case presents a teachable moment in pleading practice. Always include your critical elements, folks. Let's take a look at what went wrong.