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Articles by David Reutter

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 ...

New Mexico Supreme Court: Constitutional Error to Accept Plea Without Assistance of Counsel

The Supreme Court of New Mexico held that a magistrate court committed constitutional error by accepting a defendant’s plea of no contest without the assistance of counsel. The Court said the “case serves as a reminder that fundamentals constitutional rights cannot be jettisoned for the sake ...

$10.3 Million Verdict Against City of Albuquerque in Man's Wrongful Death by Cop Shooting

By David M. Reutter


A New Mexico state court jury awarded $10,342,558 to the Estate of Kenneth Ellis, III. The jury found that Albuquerque police officer Brett Lampiris-Tremba used excessive force in using and killing Ellis.

Lampiris-Tremba and officer Byron Economidy were working with a unit on January 13, ...



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