Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

by
Two men robbed a store. The security video shows that one pointed a shotgun at the clerk. The gunman wore a black sweatshirt with a white skeleton pattern that zipped to form a skull hood. The gunman’s exposed hands appeared black to the clerk and on the video. The accomplice took cash. The men fled. Weeks later, officers visited Bailey’s mother. She showed the detectives Bailey's bedroom. They saw a skeleton hoodie and prepared an affidavit for a search warrant, noting that they had received an anonymous tip that Bailey, an African-American, had committed the robbery. A judge approved the warrant. Detectives seized the sweatshirt. Officers arrested Bailey after he fled. Bailey was indicted for armed robbery, possession of a short-barreled shotgun, and resisting arrest. The prosecutor dropped two charges; Bailey pleaded guilty to resisting. Bailey sued, under 42 U.S.C. 1983, claiming violations of his Fourth Amendment rights, citing inconsistencies in the description. The district court denied motions to dismiss, based on purported falsehoods in the affidavit. The Sixth Circuit reversed. The warrant did not say whether the description came from the victim or the video and mentioned both sources; it was not deliberately false. There were few disparities between the video and the warrant description. Even if the warrant were stripped of possible falsities, a fair probability remained that the officers would find evidence of the robbery in Bailey’s home; his Fourth Amendment claim and his Monell claim against the city fail as a matter of law. View "Bailey v. City of Ann Arbor" on Justia Law

by
Underwood’s step-granddaughter (Jane) told her mother that Underwood had sex with her in August 2014. According to Jane, she and her cousin (John) had gone on a work trip with Underwood in his semi-truck. Jane, John, and Underwood first went to Pennsylvania. After Underwood took John home, Underwood took Jane to Michigan with him. According to Jane, when they arrived in Michigan, Underwood sexually assaulted her. Jane’s mother took Jane to the local hospital and then to the Children’s Advocacy Center. John also accused Underwood of sexual misconduct and was taken to the Advocacy Center. Underwood was convicted of crossing a state line with intent to engage in a sexual act a minor, 18 U.S.C. 2241(c), and of transporting his step-granddaughter in interstate commerce with the intent that she engage in unlawful sexual activity, 18 U.S.C. 2423(a). The Sixth Circuit affirmed, rejecting Underwood’s argument that the district court erred in allowing his wife to testify at his trial, violating both the confidential marital communications privilege and the adverse spousal testimony privilege. The court rejected a claim that allowing Underwood’s daughter and the sexual assault nurse to testify violated Federal Rules of Evidence 403 and 803(4). View "United States v. Underwood" on Justia Law

by
Monie was charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin and cocaine, 21 U.S.C. 846 (Count 1); possession with intent to distribute, aided by others, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1) and 18 U.S.C. 2 (Count 6); use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime, 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1) (Count 7); being a felon in possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. 922(g) and the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e)(1) (Count 8). Monie pleaded guilty to Counts 1 and 8 without a plea agreement and was convicted on Counts 6 and 7. Count 8 carried a mandatory-minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. During the plea colloquy, the court erroneously did not state that ACCA carried a mandatory-minimum sentence but erroneously stated that the maximum sentence for Count 8 was 10 years. That 15-year mandatory-minimum sentence affected every aspect of Monie’s sentence. The court sentenced Monie to 15 years each for Counts 1, 6, and 8, to be served concurrently, plus five consecutive years on Count 7. There is no evidence that Monie knew about the mandatory minimum before his plea. The Presentence Report correctly stated Count 8’s penalty range. The Sixth Circuit remanded to allow Monie to withdraw his plea. Monie established that there is a reasonable probability that he would not have pleaded guilty but for the court’s Rule 11 error, and demonstrated that the error affected his substantial rights. View "United States v. Monie" on Justia Law

by
A state court in Kent County, Michigan, issued an arrest warrant for Riley, having found probable cause to believe that he had committed armed robbery of a local store. Days later, Riley purchased a cell phone serviced by AT&T. A member of Riley’s family gave that phone’s telephone number to Riley’s girlfriend, who disclosed the number to the U.S. Marshal Service Grand Rapids Apprehension Team. Deputy Bowman obtained a state court order, compelling AT&T to produce telecommunications records of Riley’s cell phone under federal electronic-surveillance laws, 18 U.S.C. 2703, 3123, 3124. The government used Riley’s GPS location data to learn that Riley was hiding out at the Airport Inn in Memphis, Tennessee and arrested him about seven hours later, only after inquiring of the front-desk clerk to ascertain Riley’s specific room number. The Sixth Circuit affirmed denial of a motion to suppress. The GPS tracking provided no greater insight into Riley’s whereabouts than what Riley exposed to public view as he traveled “along public thoroughfares” to the hotel lobby. Riley has no reasonable expectation of privacy against such tracking and the tracking did not amount to a Fourth Amendment search. View "United States v. Riley" on Justia Law