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

March 2012 Archives

Commerce Clause Enables SORNA Convictions

The Sixth Circuit is full of sex offender appeals lately.

Earlier this month, we told you about a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision finding that a person can be found guilty of a Sex Offender Registry and Notification Act (SORNA) violation, even if SORNA wasn’t implemented in his state at the time of the violation. This week, the Cleveland-based appellate court upheld a SORNA conviction after the defendant challenged the law under Commerce Clause.

Joe the Plumber's Privacy Lawsuit Goes Down the Drain

Samuel Wurzelbacher, a.k.a. "Joe the Plumber," has parlayed a campaign stop criticism of then-Senator Barack Obama's tax plan into Internet notoriety, cable commenter gigs, and a congressional bid. He could teach a master class in how to capitalize on 15 minutes of fame. But he can't bring a First Amendment retaliation lawsuit in federal court.

Tuesday, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Joe the Plumber did not satisfy the circuit's three-prong criteria for a retaliation lawsuit.

SCOTUS to Consider Sean Carter Death Penalty Appeal

The Supreme Court granted certiorari in another death penalty appeal this week. Next fall, the Court will review the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Warren killer Sean Carter's appeals must be postponed until he is competent to participate in the proceedings, reports TribToday.com.

Carter was convicted in 1997 of raping and murdering his adoptive grandmother. In late 2007, he was transferred from death row at Chillicothe Correctional Institution to Oakwood Correctional Facility, a psychiatric prison, due to declining mental competency. He has since returned to Chillicothe, but former District Judge Peter Economus dismissed prosecutors' filing to have Carter returned to death row due to Carter's mental condition.

Showdown? Sixth Circuit OKs New Cigarette Warning Label

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that the new, graphic cigarette warning labels do not violate tobacco companies’ free speech rights, reports Politico.

In a lengthy opinion, the court affirmed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act’s restrictions on the marketing of modified-risk tobacco products and bans on event sponsorship, branding non-tobacco merchandise, and free sampling, as well as the requirement that tobacco manufacturers reserve significant packaging space for textual health warnings.

The court also agreed with the district court that the new color graphic and non-graphic warning label requirement is constitutional.

State SORNA Implementation Not Required for SORNA Conviction

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that a person can be found guilty of a Sex Offender Registry and Notification Act (SORNA) violation, even if SORNA wasn't technically implemented in his state at the time he was convicted of the SORNA violation.

Sure, this sounds like an ex post facto conviction, but the Sixth Circuit assures us that it's not, and that the conviction stands.

No Subject Matter Jurisdiction for Wrongful Arrest Victim

In 2006, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department, in conjunction with WZTV-Fox 17, smeared a Nashville’s woman’s name as a result of a law enforcement clerical error.

Last week, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said, (and we paraphrase): Eh … These things happen, but you don’t have subject matter jurisdiction for a Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) claim against the government, and the television station is protected by Tennessee’s fair report privilege.

Let’s go back to the beginning to see how this debacle occurred.

Sixth Circuit Mulls University Affirmative Action Ban

While the Supreme Court prepares to consider whether a University of Texas affirmative action policy violates the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection clause, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is deciding whether it will uphold Michigan's ban on affirmative action.

The Cleveland-based court heard arguments on Wednesday about Proposal 2, Michigan's five-year-old, voter-approved ban on university affirmative action, reports The Detroit News.

State Rule Violations Don't Nullify Judicial Immunity

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided this week that a state court rules violation does not dissolve judicial immunity.

Before ascending to the bench, Tennessee Judge James G. Martin was a lawyer and sometimes-mediator at a Nashville law firm. In 2008, he mediated Christopher Savoie’s divorce and child custody arrangement. Just months after Martin became Judge Martin, he was assigned to review a restraining order in Savoie’s custody arrangement with his ex-wife.

Sixth Circuit Mulls Recess in Bible Study Lawsuit

Litigants submitted briefs to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals this week in a civil rights lawsuit claiming that a principal violated a fourth grader's rights by banning a recess Bible study, reports the Christian Post.

Samuel and Tina Whitson, represented by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), are asking the Cincinati-based court to overturn a 2009 jury decision in favor of Knox County Schools.