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

May 2013 Archives

Death Sentence Upheld in Marvin Gabrion Case

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the death sentence of a Michigan man, who was convicted of killing a woman in a national forest in 1997. The body of the Michigan woman was found chained to cinder blocks in a lake in the Manistee National Forest in Newago County.

Michigan does not have the death penalty, but since the murder occurred on federal property, the death penalty applied in this case. The man appealed aruging that Michigan's lack of the death penalty was a mitigating factor in the penalty phase of his case.

6th Circuit: Old Sentencing for Crack is 'Whack'

Remembering the late singer Whitney Houston when she so famously told Diane Sawyer that "Crack is whack," the Sixth Circuit could not agree more. More specifically, the court would probably agree with the famous singer that the use of crack cocaine is "whack," but it's actually the old minimum sentencing rules that are really "whack."

6th Circuit: Use Common Sense, Seeing Drugs is Probable Cause

It was in Sidney Brown’s house where officers found cocaine, a Beretta pistol, and $4,700 in cash. An anonymous informant notified the police of seeing cocaine at Brown’s house and a search warrant was subsequently issued. Brown was convicted of drug related crimes. He appealed.

Sixth circuit criminal law attorneys should be aware of a recent court of appeals opinion clarifying what is sufficient informant information to create probable cause for a search warrant application. Evidently, a simple anonymous tip will do.

We all make typos. Most of the time, it's no big deal. While a typo in an email between friends is harmless, a typo on a resume or a cover letter can be devastating. It's all about the context.

So what happens when a typo causes you to miss an important filing deadline? Can a technical error in an electronic filing jeopardize your client's right to appeal? The answer is "no," according to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. In a question of first impression, the appellate court determined this week that clients shouldn't be punished for an electronic filing error on the part of their attorneys.

6th Cir Affirms Lib Party Pres. Candidate's Ballot Access Denial

Three minutes cost Gary Johnson, the 2012 Libertarian Party candidate for President of the United States, his spot on the ballot in the State of Michigan. Three minutes.

Johnson originally ran in the Republican primary. At the last minute, he requested to be removed from the ballot in that primary in order to allow him to run as a Libertarian. Elections officials notified him that he was three minutes too late.

Why not just run on both? Michigan has a "sore loser" law. This prevents a candidate, who loses the primary for one party, from running again as the candidate for another party. The purpose of this is to keep intraparty disputes out of the general election, to minimize voter confusion, and to prevent parties from splitting into factions.