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


Some federal judges are the very model of a modern major general; then there's federal district court judge John Adams. He's definitely a model of something, just not anything modern.

Judge Adams was appointed by the second President Bush, and seems to have earned himself a reputation as a judge who just can't seem to pull himself away from his cases, even when he really should. A prime example comes courtesy of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the U.S. V. Cota-Luna matter, where two defendants that pleaded guilty to trafficking cocaine got more than they bargained for from a judge who had made up his mind before seeing the evidence.

Law Prevents Anyone Older Than 70 From Becoming a Judge

You have to wonder about the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision on old judges.

The appeals court affirmed a Michigan law that prevents anyone over 70 from being elected or appointed a judge. A 68-year-old judge sued to invalidate the law because it will make him ineligble for re-election in a couple of years.

But, if anyone's counting, nearly half the judges on the appeals court are over 70. Like Wink Wilkinson said in the Little Shop of Horrors, there's something "so very weird" here.

Recently, John B. Nalbandian was confirmed by the Senate to take the bench on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He will be filling the seat vacated by Judge John M. Rogers.

Nalbandian may not have prior experience as a federal court justice, but prior to his confirmation, he boasted a successful appellate practice in Cincinnati, Ohio. Additionally, he previously served as a law clerk to Judge Jerry Edwin Smith of the Fifth Circuit.

Judicial Take on Bias in the Court

The wheels of justice may turn slowly, but changing bias in the courtroom may take quite a few more turns of the big wheel.

Studies say that attitudes about bias in the legal system have not really changed in more than half a century. Across most of America, minorities don't think they can get a fair result in court.

Bias seems to be, for lack of a better word, "implicit" in the judicial system. The experts say it is not a criticism; it's just human nature.

Sixth Circuit Mulls Police Shooting of Dogs

Dogs are routinely euthanized after some civil process, typically when a dog has been found to be a danger to people.

But in a Michigan case, police executed three dogs during a search for drugs. They said the animals bared their teeth and charged them.

The owners sued for civil rights violations, but a trial judge thew out their case. In arguments to the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the judges searched for the truth.

Ohio Abortion Clinics Win Battle Over Withheld Funds

In an ongoing battle over abortion, a federal appeals court said Ohio unconstitutionally withheld funds from abortion clinics for unrelated services.

In Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio v. Himes, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a permanent injunction against a state law that revoked funding from abortion providers. They had long received funds to fight breast cancer, sexual violence, and other problems.

When the legislature tried to cut off those funds, the courts intervened. Basically, lawmakers were mixing apples and oranges with their cuts.

They had nothing on Michael Taylor Gardner without his cell phone.

That was his argument anyway, saying police shouldn't have searched his cell phone without his permission. But the judge didn't buy it, and he was convicted of trafficking a minor for sex and producing child pornography.

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, mostly because Gardner gave his cell phone to a 17-year-old girl and she gave it to the cops. United States of America v. Michael Taylor Garnder is another case that shows that a cell phone can be dangerous.

ACLU Sues to Block Kentucky's New Abortion Law

A recurring battle over a controversial abortion procedure is headed back to court, this time in Kentucky.

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued to stop a law there that bans a procedure known as "dilation and evacuation." Anti-abortion activists call the second-trimester surgery "dismemberment abortion."

Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas have passed similar bans on the practice, but the courts have struck them down. The ACLU says the Kentucky law is "shameless, insulting and dangerous."

CVS Sued for Revealing HIV Status of 6,000 Customers

If you are going to CVS for aspirin, just know the company has a big headache of its own.

According to a new lawsuit, CVS Health mailed 6,000 letters in envelopes that showed the recipients' HIV status on the outside. If you live in Ohio, you might want to double-check your mail.

That's the problem with those window envelopes. You never know what's going to peek through.

A funeral home in Michigan is learning one legal truth on appeal, or as the undertaker might colloquially say, postmortem: Transgender employees are protected from discrimination under Title VII.

Fortunately, no employees were murdered in the making of this appeal, but, according to a three judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, one was certainly discriminated against. Aimee Stephens sued her former employer, RG and GR Harris Funeral Homes, for firing her after she started to transition from male to female. In addition to the discriminatory termination, Stephens also alleged that a wardrobe allowance that was only provided to male employees constituted additional gender discrimination.