Sixth Circuit

The Federal Docket

United States v. Manndrell Evann Lee (6th Cir. September 2020)

The Sixth Circuit under abuse of discretion vacated the defendant’s sentence and remanded for resentencing, holding that upward variance applied by the district court based on the defendant’s criminal history was unreasonable because it applied too much weight to a prior conviction and parole violations from the same offense. The Court also held that it was the defendant’s first firearm offense, a 15-year gap existed from prior dangerous conduct, and compared to similar cases, the doubling of his sentence had no meaningful relationship to his likelihood of reoffending.

United States v. Bryan Bailey, Calvin Bailey, Sandra Bailey (6th Cir. September 2020)

The Sixth Circuit vacated a defendant’s sentence for healthcare fraud based on the district court’s abuse of discretion in attributing losses to the defendant stemming from his wife”s use of forged prescriptions and referral payments since there was no evidence that he agreed to undertake those acts. The Court held that while jointly undertaken criminal activity can be used to determine conspiracy criminal liability, the acts of a co-conspirator cannot be used in the scope of conduct analysis to calculate a defendant’s offense level under the sentencing guidelines if the defendant did not agree to undertake the specific activity, though those acts could be held against the defendant in calculating restitution.

United States v. Joseph Ward III (6th Cir. July 2020)

The Sixth Circuit upheld a search warrant under the good faith exception in Leon where there was no probable cause and the affidavit only relied on undated text messages between the defendant and a drug purchaser, loose marijuana and untested substances found in the defendant’s trash, and the defendant’s prior criminal history.

United States v. Michael Bourquin (6th Cir. July 2020)

The Sixth Circuit vacated a defendant’s sentence based on insufficient evidence to support the district court’s application of the four-level enhancement under U.S.S.G. 2A6.1(b)(4), which applies when the offense a substantial expenditure of funds to…otherwise respond to the offense. The government had not presented any specific accounting of its expenses in responding to the offense, nor had it distinguished its expenses as “substantial” as opposed to “typical.”

United States v. Calvin McReynolds (6th Cir. July 2020)

The Sixth Circuit vacated the defendant’s sentence for drug conspiracy and remanded it to the sentencing court after the court held the defendant accountable for a higher drug quantity than the jury did at trial, which the defendant argued violated his Sixth Amendment claim. The court held that the sentencing court did not adequately explain its reasoning, so it could not review the constitutionality of the defendant’s claim.

Ervine Davenport v. Duncan MacLaren, Warden (6th Cir. June 2020)

The Court vacated the defendant’s state law conviction for first degree murder. The defendant’s shackling during trial violated clearly established federal law and was not harmless since the evidence of first-degree premeditation was not overwhelming.

United States v. Wesley Scott Hamm (6th Cir. March 2020)

Drug Offenses/Elements – Sufficient evidence existed of a drug conspiracy, as opposed to a mere buyer-seller relationship, where the relationship was ongoing, the quantities involved were large, the transaction involved extensive planning, and the alleged seller taught the buyer how to mix the drugs for resale. Drug Offenses/Death Counts – Sufficient evidence existed that the …

United States v. Wesley Scott Hamm (6th Cir. March 2020) Read More »

United States v. Jermain Marvin Alexander (6th Cir. March 2020)

The Court held that a defendant who requested a reduced sentence under Section 404 of the First Step Act, which makes the Fair Sentencing Act retroactive, is not entitled to a de novo re-sentencing hearing.

United States v. William Dale Wooden (6th Cir. December 2019)

The Court held that the defendant’s consent for an undercover officer to enter his house was not tainted by “police deception.” While the officer did not identify himself as law enforcement to the defendant when he asked to talk to the defendant’s wife and to step inside “to get out of the cold,” the officer did not take any affirmative acts to conceal his identity from the defendant. The Court also held that Wooden’s burglary convictions under Georgia law qualified as crimes of violence under the ACCA.

United States v. Ray Foster (6th Cir. December 2019)

The Court held that the double jeopardy clause did not bar the Government from retrying the defendant where the prosecution did not “coax” the defendant into requesting a mistrial at his first trial. Despite the fact that the prosecution had repeatedly and obviously violated the defendant’s right to confrontation of witnesses at that trial, the district court did not clearly err in finding that the prosecutor had not intended to lure the defendant into requesting a mistrial, citing the strength of the prosecutor’s case and the prosecution consistently arguing that the confrontation clause did not apply.

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