Federal Court of Appeals

Sixth Circuit Cases

On May 15, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided the case of United States v. Aleo.  In the case, the court reversed a 720-month sentence involving, among other charges, possession of child pornography and improper contact with a minor.  In the court’s view, “[t]he 720-month sentence threatens to cause disparities in sentencing, because it provides a top-of-the-range sentence for what is not a top-of-the-range offense.”  The opinion was written by Judge Boggs.  The court also reverses a $2,000 sanction the district judge imposed on the defense lawyer.  Along with Judge Boggs’ analysis is a noteworthy concurring opinion by Judge Sutton examining limits of a district court’s ability to impose sanctions in a federal criminal case.  The opinion can be found here. United States v Aleo, Case No. 10-1569/1570/1833

On May 8, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit remanded for resentencing the case of United States v. Jackson because of the new sentencing guidelines promulgated as a result of the Fair Sentencing Act, which President Obama signed into law on August 3, 2010.  The opinion, which was by a 2-to-1 vote and written by Judge Merritt with Judge Boggs writing a dissent, for the first time clarifies that defendants who meet career offender criteria can nevertheless benefit from the lower sentencing ranges embodied in the new sentencing guidelines.  A copy of the opinion can be found here. United States v. Jackson, Case No. 10-3923

On January 9, 2012, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit decided the case of U.S. v. Bistline. In an opinion written by Judge Raymond Kethledge, the Court reverses a lower court (Judge James L. Graham, S.D. Ohio) for imposing a sentence of one-day in the courthouse lock-up and 10 years of supervised release for possession of child pornography
where the sentencing range under the Sentencing Guidelines was 63 to 78 months. The opinion analyzes U.S.S.G. § 2G2.2 and, more importantly, the relationship between the power of Congress and the power of the United States Sentencing Commission to set a sentence for a particular federal crime. The opinion also involves an analysis of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) and the
requirements that must be met before a district judge can sentence outside a guideline range. The opinion’s analysis goes far beyond the specific guideline applicable to the defendant’s situation. United States v. Bistline, Case No. 10-3106


For Additional Sixth Circuit Case Information:  Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Opinions