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Articles by David Reutter

10th Circuit: Oklahoma’s Second-Degree Burglary Not an ACCA Qualifying Offense

by David Reutter

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals held convictions for burglary under Oklahoma law do not qualify as violent felonies for sentence enhancement under the federal Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”).

Raymond Hamilton was convicted of possession of a firearm after a felony conviction. He was sentenced to ...

New Jersey Appellate Division Extends Urbina Self-Defense Rule to Defense of Others in Plea Allocution

by David Reutter

The Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division held that a defendant was entitled to post-conviction relief (“PCR”) based on his claim that his guilty plea was involuntary due to his counsel’s failure to explore the defense of others.

Anwar H. Belton appealed the denial of his ...

First Circuit Holds Appeal Not Barred by Plea Agreement Waiver Provision When Sentence Exceeds Agreement

by David Reutter

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held a plea agreement’s appellate waiver provision did not bar an appeal where the district court imposed a home confinement provision that was not set forth in the agreement.

Jose Luis Lopez-Pastrana entered into a plea agreement ...

Mississippi Supreme Court Clarifies that Appellate Courts Never Serve as ‘13th Juror’ for Motion for New Trial

by David Reutter

The Supreme Court of Mississippi held that neither it nor an appellate court sits as a “thirteenth juror” when reviewing a motion for new trial. The Court clarified that in a court’s appellate capacity it does not reweigh evidence, assess witness creditability, or resolve conflicts between evidence. ...

Utah Supreme Court: Procedural Due Process Violated Where Failure to Participate in Sex Offender Treatment Program Used to Deny Parole to Prisoner Not Convicted of Sex Offense

by David Reutter

The Supreme Court of Utah held that the Board of Pardons and Parole (“Parole Board”) violated a prisoner’s due process rights by adjudicating him a sex offender. The designation as a sex offender was based on unproven allegations in a police report and a mistrial without conviction ...

Vermont Supreme Court: Defendant Cannot be Compelled to Submit to Competency Evaluation by State’s Expert

by David Reutter

The Supreme Court of Vermont held that the State may not compel a defendant to submit to a competency evaluation conducted by a mental-health expert of the State’s choosing after a court-ordered competency evaluation by a neutral mental-health expert.

Following his arrest for second-degree murder, Christopher Sharrow’s ...

Iowa Supreme Court Rules District Courts Have Authority to Hear Postconviction Relief Actions Involving Deprivation of Liberty or Property Interest

by David Reutter

The Supreme Court of Iowa held that a motion for postconviction relief is the proper vehicle to challenge a substantial deprivation of liberty or property interest in certain Iowa Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) administrative actions.

In 1990, Kevin Franklin pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and second-degree sexual ...

Intellectual Disability and Wrongful Conviction in Death Cases: A Lethal Combination

by David M. Reutter

The death penalty is sold by its advocates as a crime deterrent or a penalty reserved for the most heinous of crimes. The reality is that the death penalty is often used as a political tool for prosecutors and judges to enhance their re-electability and to ...

Philadelphia Tests Automating the Bail Risk Assessment Process

by David M. Reutter

Philadelphia is using part of a $3.5 million grant to create a computerized bail-risk assessment tool. The effort is part of the city’s Reentry Project.

The MacArthur Foundation selected Philadelphia to take part in its Safety and Justice Challenge. According to Gabriel B. Roberts, spokesman for ...

9th Circuit: District Court Improperly Deferred to Nevada Supreme Court in AEDPA Analysis

by David Reutter

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held a Nevada federal district court erred in its analysis under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”) by deferring to a state court’s determination that a death-sentenced prisoner was not intellectually disabled. The Court further held the ruling in ...



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