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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.

Is five years too short of a sentence for a man found with 19 videos and 93 images depicting child pornography? Not according to Judge James S. Gwin of the Northern District of Ohio. Gwin imposed the minimum sentence against Ryan Collins, but only after polling the jurors who had convicted him.

And those jurors, had they been in charge of sentencing, would have imposed a much lighter punishment. Some jurors thought no incarceration was appropriate, while all but one recommended a sentence of less than two and a half years.

For his role in a tire recycling scheme gone bad, Paul Musgrave was convicted of four counts of white collar crime. His punishment? Essentially no punishment at all. Despite a sentencing guideline range of 57 to 71 months' imprisonment, the district court ordered Musgrave to serve a day in jail, with a day's credit for processing. Musgrave's total punishment was hardly even a slap on the wrist, requiring just three years of probation -- there was no jail time, no fine.

The Sixth Circuit rejected that one-day sentence two years ago. When the district court resentenced Musgrave, it again gave him just a one-day sentence, but this time, the Sixth Circuit allowed the sentence to stand. What caused the change of heart?

6th Cir. Gives Hope to Juveniles Sentenced to Life Without Parole

A new ruling out of the Sixth Circuit should give hope to juvenile criminal inmates looking to get their sentencing reviewed. The Court of Appeals applied the law of recently decided SCOTUS cases Miller and Montgomery to great effect, thereby all but ensuring a loosening of many juvenile life sentences.

Both cases as well as the case sub judice deal with the constitutionality of imposing a life sentence without the possibility of parole to a juvenile defendant.

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.

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.

When Samantha Bachynski was arrested by Michigan police -- after being found in a stolen truck with the dead owner in the back -- the 19-year-old initially invoked her Miranda rights, refusing to speak until she had an attorney present. But when it came time to pick a lawyer, she changed her mind, confessing to murder, torture, and other crimes.

Bachynski later moved to suppress her confessions, arguing that they were coerced in violation of her Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Her confessions were admitted anyway and she was convicted. The Sixth Circuit upheld that conviction last Wednesday, finding that Bachynski voluntarily waived her Miranda rights.

Ohio Man Convicted of Possessing Ricin, Lying to FBI

An Ohio man was convicted of possessing weaponized ricin with intent to use it as a weapon in a rather dramatic suicide plot -- a conviction upheld by the Sixth Circuit yesterday.

Readers will recall that ricin was the favorite murder toxin of choice by the now loved and infamous Walter White of Breaking Bad fame. The amount that Levenderis had refined was enough to kill 250 Tucos or Gus Frings.

Kwame Kilpatrick, the former mayor of Detroit convicted of fraud and racketeering, is taking his case to the Supremes. Not Motown hero Diana Ross, but the Supreme Court. Kilpatrick is currently asking the High Court to hear his case after the Sixth Circuit upheld his conviction in August and rejected his petition for en banc review.

Kilpatrick's tenure as mayor was long plagued by scandal, including accusations that he held wild parties in the major's mansion and even covered up the murder of an exotic dancer. It was much more quotidian corruption that landed him with a 28 year jail sentence, however, after the government accused him of extorting money from government contractors.

6th Cir. Creates Split in Private Searches on Computers

What are the limits of the "private search doctrine" when it comes to a computer? The Sixth Circuit answered that question last week in a case that is sure to make it to the Supreme Court.

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.