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Parsons v. United States Department of Justice

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

December 18, 2017

Mark Parsons; Brandon Bradley; Scott Gandy; Robert Hellin; Joseph F. Bruce; Joseph W. Utsler, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
United States Department of Justice; Federal Bureau of Investigation, Defendants-Appellees.

          Argued: October 11, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan at Detroit. No. 2:14-cv-10071-Robert H. Cleland, District Judge.

         ARGUED:

          Emily C. Palacios, MILLER, CANFIELD, PADDOCK AND STONE, Ann Arbor, Michigan, for Appellants.

          Lindsey Powell, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Appellees.

         ON BRIEF:

          Emily C. Palacios, MILLER, CANFIELD, PADDOCK AND STONE, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Michael J. Steinberg, Daniel S. Korobkin, ACLU FUND OF MICHIGAN, Detroit, Michigan, Howard Hertz, HERTZ SCHRAM PC, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, for Appellants.

          Lindsey Powell, Michael S. Raab, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Appellees.

          Before: BOGGS, BATCHELDER, and KETHLEDGE, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          ALICE M. BATCHELDER, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Juggalos are fans of the musical group "Insane Clown Posse." In 2011, the National Gang Intelligence Center labeled Juggalos "a loosely-organized hybrid gang." A group of self-identified Juggalos brought Administrative Procedure Act ("APA") claims against the Department of Justice ("DOJ") and Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"), asserting that the gang designation violated their First and Fifth Amendment rights. The district court determined that the gang designation was not a final agency action and dismissed the suit. We agree and affirm.

         I.

         In 2005, Congress directed the Attorney General to "establish a National Gang Intelligence Center [("NGIC")] and gang information database to be housed at and administered by the [FBI] to collect, analyze, and disseminate gang activity information from" various federal agencies and federal, state, and local law enforcement, prosecutors, corrections officers, and jails. Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005, Pub. L. 109-162, § 1107, 119 Stat. 2960, 3093-94 (codified at 34 U.S.C. § 41507). Congress also directed NGIC to make the gang-activity information available to federal, state, and local law-enforcement agencies and to submit an annual gang-activity report to Congress. Id. NGIC published reports in 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015.

         Insane Clown Posse ("ICP") is a musical group from Farmington Hills, Michigan. The group is known for its elaborate live performances and songs that "often use harsh language and themes." ICP fans call themselves "Juggalos" and demonstrate their affiliation with the group by wearing, obtaining, or displaying distinctive tattoos, art, clothing, symbols, or insignia, including clown face paint and the "hatchetman" logo. Appellants allege that Juggalos associate with each other "to listen to ICP's music, to share ideas surrounding the music, to express their support of or interest in the ideas that ICP expresses through its music, ...


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