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Articles by David Reutter

Arkansas Supreme Court Rules Justification Defense Available When Charged With Manslaughter

by David Reutter

The Supreme Court of Arkansas held that the defense of justification is available to a defendant charged with manslaughter if the defendant was not reckless or negligent in forming the belief that force was necessary.

The Court had before it the appeal of Christopher Schnarr. It ...

New York Court of Appeals: Jury Trial Right Attaches to Deportable Crimes Punishable by Less Than Six Months in Jail

by David Reutter

As a matter of first impression, the Court of Appeals of New York ruled that a noncitizen defendant charged with state crimes that carry a maximum penalty of less than six months in jail but subject him or her to deportation is entitled to a jury trial ...

Fourth Circuit: 9-Year Increase in Guidelines Range Due to Misclassification as Career Offender Warrants § 2241 Petition to Be Heard on Merits When § 2255 Relief Unavailable

by David Reutter

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that where an erroneous career offender designation raises a defendant’s mandatory prison term, the resulting sentence is fundamentally defective. 

The Court further ruled that when a 28 U.S.C. § 2255 petition is inadequate and ineffective to ...

Illinois Supreme Court: Warrantless Dog Sniff of Apartment Front Door in Locked Building Violates Fourth Amendment

by David Reutter

Physically intruding on the cutilage of an apartment to conduct a dog sniff of the threshold is a violation of the Fourth Amendment, the Illinois Supreme Court held. The court’s holding expanded its precedent to include an unlocked apartment building.

Acting on a tip, East Molina ...

Fourth Circuit Announces Reasonably Foreseeable Acts of Co-Conspirators Not Sufficient for Fleeing Sentence Enhancement Under U.S.S.G. § 3C1.2

by David Reutter

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that to impose an offense level enhancement on grounds that the defendant “recklessly created a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another person in the course of fleeing from a law enforcement officer” requires ...

California Supreme Court: Competence Hearing Required When Formerly Incompetent Defendant Quits Taking Psychotropic Medication and Exhibits Signs of Incompetence

by David Reutter

The Supreme Court of California ruled that “when a formerly incompetent defendant has been restored to competence solely or primarily through administration of medication, evidence that the defendant is no longer taking his medication and is again exhibiting signs of incompetence” a “formal investigation before a trial ...

Plea Bargaining: Prosecutors Leave Trail of Injustice When Playing Hardball with Defendants

by David Reutter

To fight against government tyranny in the criminal justice system, America’s Founding Fathers enshrined into the Constitution the “right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury.” Plea bargains, however, have become, as the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) said, “not only ...

Fourth Circuit Rules 3 Marijuana Stems Discovered in Single Trash Pull Insufficient for Search Warrant, Suppresses Evidence Found in Residence

by David Reutter

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the suppression of evidence obtained while executing a search warrant based on the discovery of three marijuana stems in a trash pull.  Prince George Police found the phone number of Tyrone Lyles in the cellphone of a homicide ...

Fourth Circuit Grants Habeas Relief for Death Row Prisoner Because Trial Court Excluded Expert Testimony Defendant Represents Low Risk of Violence in Prison

by David Reutter

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed the denial of habeas corpus relief to a death row prisoner. The Court held that where the jury’s only choices were life in prison without parole or death, the exclusion of expert testimony that the defendant “represents ...

Fifth Circuit Holds Special Conditions in PSR Appendix but Not Orally Pronounced by District Court Must Be Removed From Sentence Where Conflict With Written Judgment

by David Reutter

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that where a defendant did not have an opportunity to object to special sentencing conditions because they were not announced at sentencing, it conducts an abuse of discretion review and any “unpronounced” special conditions must be stricken from the ...



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