The Sixth Circuit generally hears en banc cases twice a year, in December and June.  The en banc sitting for June is today, and the Sixth Circuit will hear two cases en banc, Stumpf v. Robinson & USA v. Gabrion.  Interestingly, both cases happen to be death penalty cases, one of which is a habeas case and the other of which is an unusual federal death penalty case.  Both cases have a somewhat tortured history (including prior visits to the Sixth Circuit), both involve the panel reversing the imposition of the death sentence, and both arose from divided (2-1) panel decisions.  As a result, it will be interesting to see what the full court does with these cases and whether there is any interplay between the cases given the facial similarities (notwithstanding substantial differences, including in governing legal standards).

Another observation of note is that there are only two en banc cases for this sitting.  As we have previously observed, the Sixth Circuit has recently been trending towards fewer en banc cases, and this recent sitting seems to illustrate the trend.