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

February 2014 Archives

6th Cir. Reversed Twice Based on These Solicitor General Briefs

It's no secret that the Sixth Circuit is having some trouble with crack sentencing. But it's not just Fair Sentencing Act changes, or retroactivity, or their own muddled precedent that they keep botching. They're also having issues with differentiating a felony from a misdemeanor for purposes of priors and with statutes of limitations.

To be fair, this is all North Carolina's fault. Their determinative sentencing scheme, which takes into account past crimes, the nature of the present crime, and other individualized factors to determine an appropriate sentence is far more complicated than "give 'em a few decades." And the Sixth Circuit isn't the only circuit to struggle with NC's sentencing; the Fourth, being more local, has gone back-and-forth on the issue.

Expedited Appeal for Ohio Gay Marriage Death Certificates Case?

One of these cases is not like the others. While many parties have challenged states' gay marriage bans generally, and others have targeted a state's refusal to recognize other states' same-sex couplings, the Ohio gay marriage case was especially narrow, focusing on the listing of one's spouse on his or her death certificate.

The plaintiffs, who were seeking recognition of their same-sex marriages (legally entered into in other states) on their deceased loved one's death certificates, triumphed in the district court. Now, they've asked the Sixth Circuit to expedite the appeal, reports Equality on Trial.

Medical Malpractice and Medical Battery Are Different Things, Duh

Battery is an intentional tort.

Malpractice is negligence-based tort.

One requires intent. The other is failing to meet the reasonable standard of care. Any 1L could tell you this. Why is this case in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals then?

Cupid Loves the ABA's 6th Cir. Law Student Pro Bono Competition

This Valentine's Day, show some love for your community: pay it forward. Gunner law students in the Sixth Circuit can get into the spirit of generosity by participating in a pro bono competition.

Law students are often so wrapped up in their classes and job prospects that they often don't realize how much pleasure and fulfillment they can find from doing pro bono work. Take it from Dana Tapper, a then-law student recognized by Ellen DeGeneres for her commitment to public service.

Here are the nuts and bolts of the ABA's Sixth Circuit Law Student Division's Pro Bono Competition:

The Sixth Circuit's New Chief and Ageist Rules of Succession

Word on the street is, this August, Judge R. Guy Cole, Jr. will succeed current-Chief Judge Alice Batchelder.

Why? The Sixth Circuit Appellate Blog doesn't provide a reason, but we suspect that it has something to do with the ageist rules of succession for chief judges of circuit courts, set forth in 28 U.S.C. § 45.

Nifty. Sixth's Site Has CJA, Appellate Advocacy Training Videos

Appellate advocacy. Many of us do mock trial in school, and if we're lucky enough, are trained by experienced advocates in practice. Some, however aren't so lucky, get bad advice, or need a refresher course after years stuck in state trial courts.

The Sixth Circuit has a series of videos, produced by the Federal Defenders Office, aimed at training Criminal Justice Act appointed counsel on the finer points of effective written and oral advocacy, training on electronic case filing, tips for dealing with clients, and advice on avoiding billing mistakes. (Hat Tip to Squire Sanders.)