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Articles by David Reutter

Maryland Court of Appeals Announces Reasonableness Standard in Providing Advice of Rights to Non-English Speaking Drivers

Before the Court was a petition for writ of certiorari filed by Walter Elenils Portillo Funes (Portillo), who was found guilty by a jury of driving under the influence of alcohol, driving while impaired by alcohol, and driving while under the influence of alcohol per se.

The charges stemmed from an October 14, 2018, incident in which Montgomery County Police Officer Devon Sharkey saw a pickup truck stopped in the right-most lane of a road. Portillo was in the running truck “slumped over the wheel, apparently not awake.”

An open can of beer was in the console, and Portillo gave off “a consistent strong odor of alcohol beverage” and had “bloodshot watery eyes.” It soon became apparent English was not Portillo’s primary language. An interpreter was not available. Portillo failed a field sobriety test.

At the police station before conducting a chemical breath ...

Seventh Circuit: Rehaif Creates Defense and Invalidates Defendant’s Guilty Plea

Robert Triggs was indicted in May 2016 under 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(9), which prohibits firearm possession by persons convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, by a federal grand jury. That conviction stemmed from a 2008 misdemeanor battery conviction that arose from a dispute with his girlfriend.

The weapons charge resulted from a home weapons check by Tomah, Wisconsin, that police conducted after Triggs’ son and other students made violent social media threats against a teacher. Police found three hunting rifles in the living room of Triggs’ home. He moved to dismiss the indictment, raising an as-applied Second Amendment challenge to the prosecution. He principally argued the predicate conviction was more than 10 years old, but he also asserted mitigating circumstances such as his personal characteristics.

The judge denied the motion. Triggs entered a guilty plea, reserving the right to appeal the Second Amendment issue. He was sentenced to 18 months’ probation. On appeal, he raised ...

Second Circuit: Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act Applies on Per-Offender, not Per-Count Basis

Before the Court was the appeal of Paul Haverkamp. He exchanged over 400 messages on the ...

Georgia Supreme Court: Counsel’s Failure to Inform Defendant of Absolute Right to Withdraw Plea Prior to Sentencing Ineffective Assistance

Morocco Jacobi Wilkey was indicted in 2014 for possession ...

Colorado Supreme Court: Plea Proviso in § 18-1-409(1) Doesn’t Bar Appeal on Manner in Which Sentence Imposed

he Supreme Court of Colorado held that the “plea provisio [in Colo Rev. Stat. § 18-1-409(1) (2019)] does not preclude an appeal related to the manner in which the sentence was imposed, including the sufficiency and accuracy of the information on which the sentence was imposed.” ...

Sixth Circuit Grants Habeas Relief for Defendant Shackled During Murder Trial Without On-the-Record Justification

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit granted conditional habeas corpus relief to a Michigan prisoner who alleged that the use of shackles upon him during trial was unconstitutional and prejudiced his guilt determination. The majority of the Court’s opinion focused on the proper ...

Michigan Supreme Court Announces Court Must Inform Defendant of Consecutive Sentencing Authority When Accepting Plea

In a case of first impression, the Supreme Court of Michigan held “that MCR 6.302(B)(2) requires the trial court, in cases where such advice is relevant, to advise a defendant of its discretionary consecutive-sentencing authority and possible consequences of that authority for defendant’s sentence.”

The Court’s ...

South Carolina Supreme Court: State Cannot Appeal Guilty Plea

The Supreme Court of South Carolina dismissed the State’s appeal of a guilty plea and affirmed denial of motions to reconsider the sentence for recusal of the trial court.

The Court’s order came in an appeal the State brought in the prosecution of Rick Quinn, Jr. ...

Using Location Surveillance to Fight COVID-19 May Chill Free Speech and Association

As governments act to contain COVID-19, tracing persons who have come in contact with infected persons is at the forefront of the move to contain the disease’s spread. Tracing people via location surveillance may prove to be an effective tool, but at what cost?

The Electronic ...

Fourth Circuit: Standalone Rehaif Error Requires Automatic Vacatur of Guilty Plea

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that the district court’s failure to give a defendant notice that he belonged to a class of persons prohibited from possessing a firearm during his plea colloquy constitutes a structural error that requires his guilty plea ...

 

 

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