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Articles by Christopher Zoukis

U.S. Government Paid Out Over $60 Million to Settle Border Patrol Violence Claims

by Christopher Zoukis

A report from The Guardian reveals that the United States government paid out more than $60 million over a 12-year period to settle claims of violence by Customs and Border Patrol (“CBP”) agents.

Adding in settlements related to employment and property claims raises the total to more ...

Eleventh Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity to Florida Cop Who Seized iPhone from Accident Bystander

by Christopher Zoukis

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled against a Martin County, Florida, deputy sheriff who seized an iPhone used by a bystander to take pictures and video of an accident scene. The opinion denied the deputy qualified immunity from suit over the illegal ...

Fourth Circuit: Federal Conspiracy to Commit Murder in Aid of Racketeering Not a Crime of Violence for Purposes of Sentencing Guidelines Enhancement

by Christopher Zoukis

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(5), does not qualify as a crime of violence for purposes of a United States Sentencing Guidelines ...

Minnesota Supreme Court Joins the Chorus by Announcing Birchfield is Retroactive

by Christopher Zoukis

The Supreme Court of Minnesota ruled that Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S. Ct. 2160 (2016), in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that a state cannot use criminal sanctions to compel a DWI blood test absent a search warrant, applies retroactively to final convictions on ...

Seventh Circuit: Bureau of Prisons Improperly Prolonged Prisoner’s Sentence

by Christopher Zoukis

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit took the federal Bureau of Prisons to task for using its statutory authority to improperly prolong a prisoner’s sentence. The opinion vacated a district court opinion denying the prisoner habeas corpus relief and remanded for further proceedings ...

Fourth Circuit Affirms District Court Ruling that Man Committed as ‘Sexually Dangerous’ Should be Released

by Christopher Zoukis

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s ruling that a man civilly committed under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (“Act”) was no longer a “sexually dangerous person.” As a result of the April 10 ...

Tenth Circuit Grants Habeas Relief When ACCA Predicate Offense No Longer Qualifies as ‘Violent Felony’

by Christopher Zoukis

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit granted a federal prisoner’s 28 U.S.C. § 2255 petition because one of the predicate offenses used to enhance his sentence under the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”) could no longer qualify as a “violent felony” ...

Pennsylvania State Senator Sends the Cops to Collect on Overdue Trash Bills Owed to His Company

by Christopher Zoukis

If you live in south-central Pennsylvania and your trash is picked up by Penn Waste, a company owned by Republican State Senator Scott Wagner, you might want to pay the bill on time. If you don’t, police officers may come to your home, inventory your possessions, and ...

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Reverses Conviction for Improper Lesser-Included-Offense Determination

by Christopher Zoukis

The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas reversed an intermediate court of appeals because the lower court improperly determined that “deadly conduct” is not a lesser-included offense of aggravated assault by threat. The top Texas criminal court found that the elements of both offenses are functionally equivalent ...

Sixth Circuit Grants Habeas Relief When Juror Failed to Disclose History of Sexual Abuse in Sexual Assault Case

by Christopher Zoukis

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that a defendant convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct did not receive a fair trial because a juror failed to disclose her own childhood sexual abuse. The August 21, 2018, ruling reversed a federal district court’s ...


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