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Prisoner Education Guide

Articles by Christopher Zoukis

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 ...

South Dakota Supreme Court Rules that Trial Court Cannot Reject a Plea Agreement It Already Implicitly Accepted

by Christopher Zoukis

The Supreme Court of the State of South Dakota reversed a trial court’s decision to reject a binding plea agreement because it had already implicitly accepted the agreement at the change-of-plea hearing. The January 24, 2018, ruling remanded the case back to the lower court for sentencing ...

Secondary DNA Transfer: The Rarely Discussed Phenomenon That Can Place the Innocent (and the Dead) at a Crime Scene They’ve Never Been To

by Christopher Zoukis

In 1930, the French scientist Edmond Locard published a journal article in which he laid the groundwork for what would become the field of forensic science. Locard said a criminal actor will always leave traces of his or her presence at a crime scene and will always ...

$330,000 Awarded to Brooklyn Woman and Minor Nephew over False Arrest and Two Years of Malicious Prosecution

by Christopher Zoukis

A Brooklyn woman and her 16-year-old nephew, who were charged with harassing a police officer and obstruction, then compelled to attend around 20 court appearances over two years before the charges were finally dropped, were awarded $330,000 in damages by a New York jury.

     On ...

Federal Jury Awards Michigan Woman $1,048,000 over Retaliatory Arrests

A Michigan woman who police arrested twice on charges of filing a false police report of rape was awarded just over $1 million after a federal jury found that the arrests were in retaliation for her criticism of the detective who investigated her rape complaint.

     Linda Sonte Everson, a ...


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