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

December 2012 Archives

Yes Sir, Attempted Rape is a Violent Felony for ACCA Purposes

Perhaps bolstered by a series of appellate victories, federal inmate Dereck Dawson continues to fight the sentence imposed as a result of a 2003 altercation with his girlfriend and her son. Testimony indicated that during the fight, he hit the girlfriend and pointed a gun at her son. When police arrived, they witnessed him ditching the stolen firearm under an air conditioner.

Dawson was initially convicted and sentenced for being a felon in possession of a firearm and for possessing a stolen firearm. The initial sentence, courtesy of the Armed Career Criminal Act, was 262 months, the low end of the range. A previous appeal, based on Booker, led to a reduced sentence of 180 months.

Fired University Official's 'Gay Lifestyle' Op-Ed Isn't Protected Speech

In 2008, Crystal Dixon — then-interim Associate Vice President for Human Resources at the University of Toledo — penned an op-ed column in the Toledo Free Press criticizing comparisons between the civil rights and gay rights movements.

Dixon wrote, "As a Black woman who happens to be an alumnus of the University of Toledo's Graduate School, an employee and business owner, I take great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are 'civil rights victims.' Here's why. I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a Black woman ... Daily, thousands of homosexuals make a life decision to leave the gay lifestyle evidenced by the growing population of PFOX (Parents and Friends of Ex Gays) and Exodus International just to name a few."

Shortly thereafter, Dixon was fired.

There's No Constitutional Right to Speedy Bail

In Tennessee, domestic violence suspects can be held for 12 hours without bail if the suspect is considered a continuing threat to the victim's safety.

Henry County takes that policy one step further. It automatically detains domestic-assault defendants for 12 hours.

While Henry County's method of applying the Tennessee bail statute was based on a misinterpretation of the law, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that the County's mistake didn't violate a defendant's the Eighth Amendment right to bail because there is no right to speedy bail.

Impartial Jury? You Only Get One Shot at a Remmer Hearing

In 2003, Marcus Middlebrook shot Nicole Bell in the face, ordered her to walk into the nearby river, and then drove away. Bell lived to tell the tale, and a jury convicted Middlebrook of three offenses the following year.

Middlebrook appealed, claiming that his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated because the jurors were exposed to extraneous influences. According to Middlebrook, the violation denied him the right to an impartial jury.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed.

Sixth Circuit Stays Affirmative Action Ruling Pending SCOTUS Review

Could the Supreme Court hear two university affirmative action cases this term?

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in November that Michigan’s affirmative action ban was unconstitutional because it posed an extraordinary burden to opponents who would try to protect affirmative action. That ruling, which would reinstate affirmative action in the state, has been put on hold.