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Articles by Christopher Zoukis

Fifth Circuit Affirms Habeas Relief Granted to Louisiana Prisoner Who Overcame SOL by ‘Credible Showing of Actual Innocence’

by Christopher Zoukis

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit upheld a federal district court’s ruling that a Louisiana man who has served over 35 years in prison for murder should get a new trial. The April 6, 2018, ruling vacated the stay of habeas relief and ...

Seventh Circuit: ‘Force’ for Aggravated Sexual Abuse Requires ‘Physical Force,’ Not Psychological Coercion

by Christopher Zoukis

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed the denial of a prisoner’s § 2255 claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, rendering the prisoner’s conviction on charges of aggravated sexual abuse void. The February 20, 2018, opinion sent the case back to the district ...

Washington Supreme Court Clarifies Process by Which Insanity Acquittees May Petition for Release

by Christopher Zoukis

The Supreme Court of Washington clarified the procedures for an insanity acquittee seeking to obtain conditional release from commitment. The March 8, 2018, opinion held that such detainees may petition the court directly without first having to apply indirectly through a petition to the Department of Social ...

Cato Institute: Require Cops to Carry Liability Insurance

by Christopher Zoukis

Clark Neily, vice president for criminal justice at the Cato Institute, made an unusual proposal in a recent op-ed piece in The New York Daily News: require all police officers to carry not just a gun, but also an insurance policy.

Neily’s idea is inspired by the ...

Eighth Circuit Rules Officer’s Inability to Read Temporary Vehicle Tag Does Not Justify Traffic Stop, Evidence Obtained Must be Suppressed

by Christopher Zoukis

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirmed a district court’s ruling that evidence obtained during a traffic stop that was not supported by reasonable suspicion must be suppressed. In its April 13, 2018, opinion, the Court said in this case, a police officer’s ...

New Jersey AG Intervenes in Possible Wrongful Conviction Case, Considers Reforms

by Christopher Zoukis

Newly appointed New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has directed his prosecutors to take over an investigation into the 1993 murder conviction of two men who might be innocent.

He also formed a panel to consider whether New Jersey should establish a “conviction review unit” to look ...

Sixth Circuit Reverses Relevant Conduct Firearm Enhancement Because No Connection Between Possession Charges Based on Two Separate Shootouts

by Christopher Zoukis

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed a lower court’s ruling that two unrelated instances of gun possession were part of the same course of conduct. The March 27, 2018, opinion ruled that for two, non-contemporaneous illegal firearm possessions to be part of ...

Third Circuit Grants Habeas Relief to Prisoner Convicted of First-Degree Murder Without Evidence of Specific Intent to Kill

by Christopher Zoukis

The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit granted a Pennsylvania state prisoner conditional habeas corpus relief because the jury instructions used to convict him of first-degree murder did not require a finding that he had the specific intent to kill. The March 26, 2018 ...

Maryland’s Top Court Rules Actual Notice by Trial Judge Unnecessary to Trigger Hearing Requirement On Defendant’s Request to Replace Defense Counsel

by Christopher Zoukis

Maryland’s top court, the Court of Appeals, reversed the conviction of a defendant because the trial court failed to entertain and rule on the defendant’s multiple written requests to fire his attorney.

The February 21, 2018 opinion upheld an intermediate court of appeal order that reversed his ...

California Property Owners Billed for Their Own Prosecution

by Christopher Zoukis

An investigation by the Desert Sun has uncovered an unusual phenomena in two California communities: The cities are taking property owners accused of public nuisance infractions to criminal court with the help of private prosecutors. The law firm providing those services is then billing the property owners ...




 

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