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

April 2012 Archives

Passing Notes Can't Substitute for Motion to Withdraw

Letter-writing is largely a lost art, (a reality not lost on fallen institutions like Mrs. John L. Strong and the U.S. Post Office).

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals clearly lacks concern for the future of the hand-written word. This week, the Cincinnati-based appellate court ruled that a criminal defendant’s letters to asking his attorney to withdraw a guilty plea were insufficient to overcome the fact that his attorney never filed a motion to withdraw the plea.

Is Tennessee's Mandatory Welfare Drug Testing Bill Doomed?

People often say that insanity is repeating the same action with the expectation of a different result.

So is the Tennessee legislature insane for considering a measure that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals previously ruled unconstitutional?

Sixth Circuit Won't Consider Prior 'Bad' Ruling on Prior Bad Acts

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Raymond Kethledge thinks its time for the court to “clean up its law” regarding Federal Rule of Evidence (FRE) 404(b).

This week, Judge Kethledge wrote a dissental to the Sixth Circuit’s en banc rehearing denial in United States v. Clay, arguing that there are “significant and recurring issues” on which the Sixth Circuit has intra-circuit conflicts regarding the admission of prior bad acts evidence.

But if you were hoping for clarity before your next trial, you’re out of luck.

Court Upholds Sentences in John Stamos Extortion Plot

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has no sympathy for people who try to extort money from Full House'’s Uncle Jesse. This week, the court upheld the sentences of two defendants who were convicted in a celebrity extortion plot involving beloved actor John Stamos.

The Cincinatti-based appellate court rejected the defendants’ appeals of indictment deficiencies and downward adjustment errors, proving that you don't mess with Uncle Jesse.

Retroactivity: Hotter Than Stolen Car Parts

Retroactivity is a hot issue these days.

Next Tuesday, the Supreme Court will consider whether the Fair Sentencing Act should be applied retroactively to crack peddlers who committed crimes before the law's enactment. This week, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals considered whether the Supreme Court's United States v. Santos decision should be applied retroactively in a money laundering appeal.

In a bit of bad news for the defendant, the appellate court ruled that Santos applied retroactively, but it wasn't enough to reverse his conviction.

Life Sentence for Child Porn Charges Not Excessive Punishment

Child pornography sentences can vary widely. In February, we told you about a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decision finding that a one-day sentence and a $100 fine was too lax a penalty for child pornography charges. This week, the Sixth Circuit addressed the opposite end of the sentencing spectrum: whether a life sentence for child pornography charges is excessive punishment

A three-judge panel upheld Stephen Hammonds’ life sentence for child pornography, finding that then-District Court Judge Bernice Donald did not err in following the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines recommendation in Hammonds’ case.

Sixth Circuit Bound? Teen Sues Over Jesus Is Not a Homophobe Shirt

We know this case has just been filed, but it is destined for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Maverick Couch, a 16-year-old gay high school student in Ohio, claims that Waynesville High School violated his free speech rights because administrators wouldn't let him wear a "Jesus Is Not a Homophobe" t-shirt to school. Couch says the school objected that his shirt -- which shows a Christian fish symbol colored-in with a rainbow -- was "indecent and sexual," reports The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Now he's suing the school in federal court.

Written Objection to Union Election Must Be Specific

Most employers aren’t excited when their employees choose to unionize, but the National Labor Relations Act limits an employer’s ability to discourage unionization. The employer can, however, challenge the validity of a union election.

When waging a unionization vote challenge, it’s important for an employer to plead its case with specificity, as we learn in today's Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals case.