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Articles by David Reutter

Hawaii Supreme Court Announces Five-Factor Test in Determining Whether There’s ‘Fair and Just Reason’ to Withdraw Plea

by David M. Reutter

The Supreme Court of Hawaii held that a trial court abused its discretion in denying a defendant’s motion to withdraw his no contest plea before sentencing. The Court’s ruling announced a five-factor test for trial courts to use in evaluating whether a fair and just reason ...

"Eighth Circuit: Government Breached Plea Agreement by Endorsing PSR’s Calculation of Higher Base Offense Level Than Plea Agreement, Curing Breach Not Recognized in Circuit"

by David M. Reutter

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that the Government breached a plea agreement because the Government endorsed a base offense level in the Presentence Investigative Report (“PSR”) that was higher than the base offense level in the plea agreement.

The Court’s opinion ...

Hawaii Supreme Court: Trial Counsel Must Inform Defendant That Deportation ‘Will Be Required’ for Plea to Aggravated Felony, IAC for Advising Deportation ‘Almost Certain’

by David M. Reutter

THe Supreme Court of Hawaii held where defendant was precluded from discretionary relief from deportation as result of her plea of no contest to an aggravated felony charge, counsel was ineffective for advising her that it was “almost certain” that she would be deported when in ...

Study: Innocent Children Likely to Plead Guilty

by David M. Reutter

The developmentally immature decision-making decisions of child defendants makes them “likely to be systematically pleading guilty to crimes that they did not commit in predictable circumstances,” concluded a study by Rebecca K. Helm from England’s University of Exeter Law School. To protect children from such an ...

Clemency Woefully Inadequate Remedy for Injustice

by David M. Reutter

When the justice system fails a criminal defendant, the last hope is clemency. The rash of 70 pardons and commutations in the waning days of the Trump presidency show that the clemency process is an inadequate alternative to criminal justice reform.

Steve Bannon, a former White ...

Trial Penalty: The Harm in Coercive Prosecutorial Tactics and Plea Bargains

That warning ...

Massachusetts Supreme Court: Error to Exclude Expert Testimony on Significance of Tattoo to Support Claim of Self-Defense

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts found a trial court abused its discretion when it excluded an expert who sought to testify as to the cultural significance of a tattooed symbol on an alleged victim’s arm.

The Court’s order was issued in an appeal brought by ...

California Court of Appeal Vacates Guilty Plea That Resulted in Legal Fiction

The Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, Division Three, reversed a guilty plea where a trial court approved a plea bargain for human trafficking of a minor for a sex act because it was undisputed that the victim was an adult. The Court held ...

Eighth Circuit: Plain Error to Impose Destructive-Device Enhancement for .410 Shotgun

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit remanded for resentencing on a defendant’s guilty plea because the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa improperly assessed a destructive-device enhancement.

The Court’s opinion was issued in an appeal by Adrian Zarate. He pleaded ...

Mississippi Supreme Court: Drug Buy Between Dealer and User Doesn’t Constitute Conspiracy to Distribute

The Supreme Court of Mississippi reversed a defendant’s conviction after finding the State failed to prove he conspired with anyone to distribute methamphetamine.

The Court’s en banc ruling was issued in an appeal brought by Duane Robert Henderson. After April Newman was contacted on the internet ...



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