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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Iowa Supreme Court Clarifies When Forensic Interviews of Child Complaining Witnesses Are Admissible

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Iowa clarified when forensic interviews of child complaining witnesses may be admitted into evidence at trial.

Jake Skahill was tried on sexual offenses alleged to have been committed against his seven-year-old daughter “K.W.” She testified at trial that while sitting on Skahill’s lap, ...

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals: Trial Court Did Not Abuse Discretion by Granting Rule 508 Motion to Dismiss Capital Murder Charge Where State Refused to Disclose Identity of Confidential Informant

by Douglas Ankney

The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas reversed a judgment of the Court of Appeals (“COA”) that ruled a trial court abused its discretion when dismissing a charge of capital murder pursuant to Texas Rule of Evidence 508 (“Rule 508”) based on the State’s refusal to disclose ...

California Court of Appeal: Hearing on Discretionary Resentencing Under §1170.91(b)(1) for U.S. Servicemembers Requires Only That Petition Allege Defendant ‘May’ Be Suffering From a ‘Qualifying Condition’

by Douglas Ankney

The Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, ruled that the defendant satisfied the statutory criteria of Cal. Penal Code §1170.91(b)(1) for a hearing on possible resentencing by alleging he “may be suffering from” a qualifying condition, viz., sexual trauma or substance abuse, and that the trial court ...

Search Your Constitution in Vain for the Fourth Amendment—the DOJ Seized It (Stealthily)

by Douglas Ankney

Over the past couple of decades, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and its components have been requesting and receiving data from electronic media service providers, utilizing warrants, subpoenas, and National Security Letters (“NSLs”) that come with indefinite gag orders attached. Microsoft, Google, Facebook, et al., are sworn ...

‘Possible Cause’ Is All That’s Needed for Geofence Warrants

by Douglas Ankney

Thousands of protesters stormed the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, in response to yet another killing of a Black man. At the Kenosha Public Library, lighter fluid and rags were found in a window well. There were no eyewitnesses to the incident. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, ...

Police Disparage Philadelphia Citizenry with False Report That SEPTA Riders Stood Idle While Passenger was Raped

by Douglas Ankney

During a late-night SEPTA train ride on the Market-Frankford line in October 2021, a woman was raped. In an apparent rush to disparage Philadelphia’s citizenry, Upper Darby police initially reported that other passengers looked on while the woman was being raped, with some filming for their own ...

Acquitted Conduct Sentencing

How Judges Enhance Sentences by Supplanting ‘Not Guilty’ Verdicts with Private Findings that Defendants ‘Probably Committed’ Acquitted Offenses

by Douglas Ankney

Gregory Bell was indicted on 13 charges. He exercised his right to a jury trial. The jury acquitted Bell of 10 charges and convicted him of just three distribution ...

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals: Defendant Satisfied Requirements of Confession and Avoidance, ‘Unintentional Self-Defense’ Jury Instruction Allowed Against Charge of Intentional Offense

by Douglas Ankney

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (“TCCA”) held that Marvin Rodriguez satisfied the requirements of confession and avoidance. The TCCA also instructed that Martinez v. State, 775 S.W.2d 645 (Tex. Crim. App. 1989), remains good law.

Rodriguez was charged with murder for shooting and killing Richard ...

Michigan Supreme Court Announces 2011 SORA May Not Be Retroactively Applied to Registrants Whose Offenses Predated Its Enactment Because Doing So Violates Prohibition on Ex Post Facto Laws

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Michigan held that application of the state’s Sex Offenders Registration Act, MCL 28.271 et seq. (“SORA”), as amended by 2011 PA 17 and 18 (the “2011 SORA”), violates the constitutional prohibition against ex post facto laws when applied to registrants whose criminal acts ...

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals: Although Subsequent Indictment Recites Same Language as Original Indictment, SOL Isn’t Tolled Where Subsequent Indictment Fails to Charge Same Conduct, Act, or Transaction

by Douglas Ankney

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (“TCCA”) held that, although a subsequent indictment recited the same statutory language as the original indictment, the statute of limitations (“SOL”) was not tolled because the subsequent indictment failed to charge the same conduct, act, or transaction, as required by Hernandez ...



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