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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Seventh Circuit: District Court’s Failure to Exercise Discretion After Erroneously Finding Defendant Ineligible for Relief Under First Step Act Was Abuse of Discretion

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois abused its discretion when it failed to exercise its discretion after erroneously determining Montrell McSwain was ineligible for relief under § 404(b) of the First Step ...

Seventh Circuit Vacates Sentence Where District Court’s Rationale for Defendant’s Offense Level Unclear

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit vacated Darrell Loving’s sentence because the reasons given by the U.S. District Court for the District of Indiana for arriving at an offense level of 24 were unclear.

Loving pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine and heroin with intent ...

New York Court of Appeals: Frye Hearing Required to Determine Admissibility of DNA Evidence Generated by Proprietary Forensic Statistical Tool

by Douglas Ankney

The Court of Appeals of New York reversed an order of the Appellate Division that had affirmed a trial court’s order denying a hearing requested pursuant to Frye v. United States, 293 F. 1013 (D.C. Cir. 1923), and the Court remitted to the trial court to ...

California Court of Appeal: Trial Court Must Receive Parole Agency’s Written Report Before Ruling on Parole Revocation Petition for Lifetime Parolee Despite Remand to Prison Being Mandatory

by Douglas Ankney

The Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, held that Penal Code § 1203.2(b)(1) requires trial courts to receive a parole agency’s written report before ruling on a parole revocation petition and that there is no exception for a petition filed against a lifetime parolee.

Jerry Denton Williams, ...

West Virginia Supreme Court: Defendant Who Provided False Information to Detective Who Failed to Identify Himself as Police Officer Has No Duty to Cure False Statement Upon Learning Detective Is a Police Officer

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia ruled that a person who provided false information to a detective who failed to identify himself as a police officer had no duty under City of Martinsburg Municipal Code § 509.05 (“§ 509.05”) to cure the prior false statement ...

Maine Now Requires Criminal Conviction Before Property May Be Forfeited

by Douglas Ankney

Maine passed LD 1521 without the governor’s signature to become the fourth state in the nation to abolish civil asset forfeiture, requiring instead a criminal conviction before property may be forfeited. The law took effect July 13, 2021. “It’s a very simple concept; you don’t lose your ...

Tenth Circuit: Judgment of Conviction Becomes Final for § 2255 SOL Purposes Upon Conclusion of Direct Review of Deferred Restitution

Answering an open question, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that a judgment becomes final for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 2255’s statute of limitations upon conclusion of direct review of the deferred restitution judgment.

On October 26, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Western ...

Maryland Court of Appeals Announces Accepting Empaneled Jury Doesn’t Waive Prior Objection to Trial Court’s Refusal to Propound a Voir Dire Question

by Douglas Ankney

The Court of Appeals of Maryland affirmed a decision of the Court of Special Appeals (“CSA”) that held a defendant’s acceptance of a jury as empaneled did not waive his earlier objection to a trial court’s denial of the defendant’s request to propound a proposed voir dire ...

Thanks to Homeowner’s Private Security Camera Catching Cops’ Blatant Misconduct, He’s a Free Man

by Douglas Ankney

Two police officers from Gowanda, New York—Sean Hotnich and Richard Cooper—claimed they got several “key details” wrong in their affidavit supporting a search warrant, as well as in their police report. For example, the police report states that once the two officers entered David Yezek’s kitchen, “patrol ...

Minnesota Supreme Court Announces Confession Must Be Corroborated by Independent Evidence Crime Occurred, Rejects Federal ‘Trustworthiness Standard’ for Corpus Delicti Rule

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Minnesota announced that Minn. Stat. § 634.03 (2020) requires a defendant’s confession to be corroborated by independent evidence reasonably tending to prove that the specific offense charged has been committed.

During a police interview, Bryan Morgan Holl confessed to several incidents of sexually ...



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