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

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Some federal judges are the very model of a modern major general; then there's federal district court judge John Adams. He's definitely a model of something, just not anything modern.

Judge Adams was appointed by the second President Bush, and seems to have earned himself a reputation as a judge who just can't seem to pull himself away from his cases, even when he really should. A prime example comes courtesy of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the U.S. V. Cota-Luna matter, where two defendants that pleaded guilty to trafficking cocaine got more than they bargained for from a judge who had made up his mind before seeing the evidence.

They had nothing on Michael Taylor Gardner without his cell phone.

That was his argument anyway, saying police shouldn't have searched his cell phone without his permission. But the judge didn't buy it, and he was convicted of trafficking a minor for sex and producing child pornography.

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, mostly because Gardner gave his cell phone to a 17-year-old girl and she gave it to the cops. United States of America v. Michael Taylor Garnder is another case that shows that a cell phone can be dangerous.

Child Abuse Case: Does Medical Testing Violate 4th Amendment?

Luke Burley was 19 days old when his father took him to the emergency department.

The baby's head was swelling from multiple skull fractures. He must have been injured when he rolled off the sofa and fell on the carpet ten days earlier, the parents said.

After doctors treated the infant and reported possible child abuse, the father and other parents sued in Thomas v. Nationwide Children's Hospital. What is wrong with these people?

Taxes May Be Collected From Forfeited Property, Maybe

The thing with gambling is, you never know what you're going to get -- or lose.

That's what happened with George Marcus Hall and property he got gambling. The federal government charged him with running an illegal gambling and money laundering operation, and took away his property.

But things got complicated when the local government liened on the property for unpaid taxes. The feds didn't want to give it all up in United States of America v. Hall.

Officers who killed two pit bulls during a drug raid in 2013 have qualified immunity, the Sixth Circuit ruled recently. The dogs were shot multiple times as police in Battle Creek, Michigan, executed a search warrant. Afterwards, the dogs' owners sued, alleging that the pooch killing was an unconstitutional seizure of property under the Fourth Amendment.

It's a mixed ruling for fans of man's best friend. Though the Sixth ruled that unreasonably shooting a dog is a Fourth Amendment violation, it found the shootings reasonable here, given testimony that the dogs were barking and had lunged at officers.

Mugshots Deserving of 'Non-Trivial' Privacy Considerations

The Sixth Circuit effectively negated a 1996 ruling it had made which gave substantial media access to criminal defendants' mugshots taken during the booking process. But the decision was a tight one: 9-7.

Free press advocates were not happy with the decision, but they expressed a hope that the Supreme Court would review the issues of the case.

Is five years too short of a sentence for a man found with 19 videos and 93 images depicting child pornography? Not according to Judge James S. Gwin of the Northern District of Ohio. Gwin imposed the minimum sentence against Ryan Collins, but only after polling the jurors who had convicted him.

And those jurors, had they been in charge of sentencing, would have imposed a much lighter punishment. Some jurors thought no incarceration was appropriate, while all but one recommended a sentence of less than two and a half years.

For his role in a tire recycling scheme gone bad, Paul Musgrave was convicted of four counts of white collar crime. His punishment? Essentially no punishment at all. Despite a sentencing guideline range of 57 to 71 months' imprisonment, the district court ordered Musgrave to serve a day in jail, with a day's credit for processing. Musgrave's total punishment was hardly even a slap on the wrist, requiring just three years of probation -- there was no jail time, no fine.

The Sixth Circuit rejected that one-day sentence two years ago. When the district court resentenced Musgrave, it again gave him just a one-day sentence, but this time, the Sixth Circuit allowed the sentence to stand. What caused the change of heart?

6th Cir. Gives Hope to Juveniles Sentenced to Life Without Parole

A new ruling out of the Sixth Circuit should give hope to juvenile criminal inmates looking to get their sentencing reviewed. The Court of Appeals applied the law of recently decided SCOTUS cases Miller and Montgomery to great effect, thereby all but ensuring a loosening of many juvenile life sentences.

Both cases as well as the case sub judice deal with the constitutionality of imposing a life sentence without the possibility of parole to a juvenile defendant.

The reclusive world of Ohio's Amish community became a little less reclusive in 2011, after 16 members of a breakaway Amish sect ambushed their neighbors at night, cutting off their beards. The beard cutting was designed to humiliate its victims, excommunicated members of the small Amish community in Bergholz, Ohio.

The ten men and six women behind the attacks were convicted almost four years ago, though the Sixth Circuit reversed their federal hate crimes convictions in 2014, resulting in significantly reduced sentences. On Tuesday, the beard cutters were back before the Sixth Circuit, arguing for even lesser sentences, but this time, reductions seemed much less likely.