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Articles by Christopher Zoukis

The G-Men are Coming: Local Cops Partner with Federal Authorities to Deport Undocumented Immigrants

by Christopher Zoukis

Donald Trump spoke ill of the undocumented immigrant population during his run for president and promised to ramp up deportation efforts if elected. As president, he is making good on his campaign promise.

According to Reuters, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) has greatly increased its ...

U.S. Supreme Court: Death Penalty Case Involving Racist Juror Requires Further Consideration

by Christopher Zoukis

In a brief per curiam opinion, the United States Supreme Court vacated an Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision that foreclosed potential relief for a prisoner on death row whose conviction may have been influenced by a racist juror.

The January 8, 2018, opinion allowed Keith Tharpe’s ...

Colorado Supreme Court: Conviction of Drunk Motorist for Attempted Reckless Manslaughter and Attempted Second Degree Assault Requires Risk to Discernable Person, Not Merely Public At-Large

by Christopher Zoukis

The Colorado Supreme Court struck down the convictions of a habitual drunk driver because the convictions — one for attempted reckless manslaughter and one for attempted second-degree assault — required that an actual, discernable person be placed at risk, and the evidence did not establish that fact. ...

Ninth Circuit Reverses Drug Smuggling Conviction for Improper Exclusion of Evidence of Third-Party Culpability

by Christopher Zoukis

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a defendant’s conviction for importation of methamphetamine because the district court improperly excluded relevant evidence that someone else committed the crime.

Angelica Urias Espinoza, a citizen of Mexico, ran a business in which she imported clothing ...

Colorado Supreme Court Limits Bottom End of Aggravated Sentencing Statute for Habitual Sex Offenders

by Christopher Zoukis

The Supreme Court of Colorado ordered that a habitual sex offender be resentenced because the trial court miscalculated the bottom end of the defendant’s sentence. The December 18, 2017, opinion clarified that there is an upper limit on the minimum end of a habitual sex offender’s sentence. ...

LA County Deputy Sheriff Awarded $4.5 Million in Retaliation Suit

by Christopher Zoukis

Darren Hager, a deputy with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department received a jury award of $4.5 million upon their finding that Hager was wrongfully terminated in retaliation for looking too closely into the disappearance of a fellow officer.

     On June 11, 1998, LASD Deputy Jonathan Aujay ...

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules FBI Admission Microscopic Hair Analysis Wrong 90% of the Time is Newly Discovered Fact Allowing Untimely Post-Conviction Relief Petition

by Christopher Zoukis

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court allowed the post-conviction relief petition of a prisoner on death row to go forward to hearing based on a highly unusual “newly discovered fact,” viz., a 2015 FBI press release (“Press Release”) that admitted, for the first time, that microscopic hair analysis testimony ...

Book Review: California Habeas Handbook 2.0 by Kent A. Russell

Reviewed by Christopher Zoukis

The writ of habeas corpus is an extraordinary remedy that allows a person held against his or her will by the state to challenge the legality of confinement. It is often referred to as “The Great Writ,” and has its roots in common law going back ...

Sex Offender Registries: Common Sense or Nonsense?

by Christopher Zoukis

In October 1989, 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling was kidnapped at gunpoint and never seen again.

When the boy’s mother, Patty Wetterling, learned that her home state of Minnesota did not have a database of possible suspects—notably convicted sex offenders—she set out to make a change.

Wetterling’s efforts led ...

$150,000 Jury Award Against NYPD for Excessive Force, False Arrest

by Christopher Zoukis

     A 45-year-old man who was arrested for public urination was awarded $150,000 after a jury found that officers of the New York Police Department used excessive force during his unlawful arrest.

     On January 27, 2005, Emilio Rivera stopped in a Harlem restaurant to use the ...



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