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Media Alerts - Sixth Circuit rejects new arguments raised in hate-crime defendants' second appeal
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July 5, 2016
  Sixth Circuit rejects new arguments raised in hate-crime defendants' second appeal
Headline: Sixth Circuit rejects new arguments first raised in hate-crime defendants' second appeal

Case: United States v. Mullet

Area of law: appellate procedure; criminal law - hate crimes, conspiracy, and obstructing justice

Issue presented: In a second appeal, can criminal defendants raise new grounds for appeal that were not raised during their first appeal?

Brief summary: In the district court, sixteen Ohio-Amish community members were found guilty of numerous criminal counts including hate crimes, concealing evidence, and lying to the F.B.I., all related to shaming incidents within their community. In their first appeal, the Sixth Circuit reversed their hate-crime convictions due to faulty jury instructions. The defendants later filed a second appeal raising issues that they could have raised in the first appeal but didn't. Noting that this aspect of appellate procedure is well settled, the Sixth Circuit rejected the second appeal, finding that the arguments raised in the second appeal were late and, therefore, had been waived.

Extended summary: A jury returned guilty verdicts against 16 Ohio Amish involved in shaming incidents within their community, resulting in convictions for hate crimes, concealing evidence, and obstructing justice by lying to the F.B.I. The defendants appealed their convictions, and the court reversed their hate-crimes convictions due to jury instructions that were inconsistent with an intervening Supreme Court decision. On remand, these charges were not retried, so the district court resentenced based on the remaining convictions.

The defendants then filed a second appeal of their criminal convictions. The Sixth Circuit rejected the appeal because they could have raised these issues in their first appeal but failed to. The court observed that in "criminal case after criminal case, we have declined to allow a criminal defendant who fails to challenge part of a conviction in an earlier appeal to raise it in a later appeal." The court noted that this "forfeiture" rule is well settled and prevents everlasting litigation. The rule also encourages compliance with court rules that foster efficiency.

The Sixth Circuit declined to consider the forfeited arguments based on plain-error grounds. It also refused to disturb the district court's new sentences, which were within (or below) the relevant guidelines, finding that the district court exercised its discretion and "made reasonable choices in balancing the relevant factors and setting the sentences."

Panel: SUTTON and GRIFFIN, Circuit Judges; SARGUS, District Judge. (The Honorable Edmund A. Sargus, Jr., Chief United States District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio, sitting by designation.)

Date of issued opinion: May 4, 2016

Docket number(s): 15-3212/ 3231/ 3232/ 3237/ 3246/ 3247/ 3249/ 3250/ 3267/ 3268/ 3269/ 3270/ 3273/ 3275/ 3277

Decided: May 4, 2016

Decision: Judgment affirmed.

Counsel: ARGUED: Wendi L. Overmyer, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Akron, Ohio, for Appellants in 15-3212, et al. Joseph P. Morse, JOSEPH P. MORSE & ASSOCIATES, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellant in 15-3232. Mark R. Butscha, Jr., THOMPSON HINE LLP, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellant in 15-3237. Christine Ku, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Appellee. ON BRIEF: Wendi L. Overmyer, Edward G. Bryan, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Akron, Ohio, Nevin E. Johnson, Hudson, Ohio, for Appellants in 15-3212, et al. Joseph P. Morse, JOSEPH P. MORSE & ASSOCIATES, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellant in 15-3232. Mark R. Butscha, Jr., John R. Mitchell, Matthew D. Ridings, Holly H. Little, THOMPSON HINE LLP, Cleveland, Ohio, Joseph B. Rose III, THE ROSE LAW FIRM, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellant in 15-3237. Damian A. Billak, Canfield, Ohio, for Appellant in 15-3231. Robert E. Duffrin, WHALEN DUFFRIN LLC, Boardman, Ohio, for Appellant in 15-3246. Nathan A. Ray, Akron, Ohio, for Appellant in 15-3247. James S. Gentile, Youngstown, Ohio, for Appellant in 15-3267. Samuel G. Amendolara, AMENDOLARA & RAFIDI, LLC, Boardman, Ohio, for Appellant in 15-3268. J. Dean Carro, BAKER, DUBLIKAR, BECK, WILEY, & MATTHEWS, North Canton, Ohio, for Appellant in 15-3269. Joseph A. Dubyak, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellant in 15-3270. David C. Jack, Wadsworth, Ohio, for Appellant in 15-3273. Bridget M. Brennan, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Cleveland, Ohio, Diana K. Flynn, Thomas E. Chandler, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Appellee.

Author of opinion: SUTTON, Circuit Judge.

Case alert author: Peter J. Mancini, Western Michigan University Cooley Law School

Case alert circuit supervisor: Professor Mark Cooney

Link to opinion: http://www.opn.ca6.uscourts.go...ns.pdf/16a0105p-06.pdf

Edited: 07/06/2016 at 10:24 AM by Mark Cooney

    Posted By: Mark Cooney @ 07/05/2016 03:42 PM     6th Circuit  

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