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Articles by Douglas Ankney

SCOTUS: § 2(a) of Fair Sentencing Act Modifies Statutory Penalties Only for Subparagraphs (A) and (B) of 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)— the Mandatory-Minimum Provisions

by Douglas Ankney 

A unanimous Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) held that § 2(a) of the Fair Sentencing Act modified the statutory penalties for only subparagraphs (A) and (B) of 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1), i.e., the mandatory-minimum provisions, not for subparagraph (C).

Tarahrick Terry pleaded guilty in 2008 ...

SCOTUS: ‘Exceeds Authorized Access’ Under the CFAA Means Accessing Areas of Computer That Are Off-Limits on Computer Otherwise Authorized to Access

by Doug Ankney

The Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) held that for purposes of 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(2), the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 (“CFAA”), an individual “exceeds authorized access” when he accesses a computer with authorization but then obtains information located in particular areas of ...

Massachusetts Supreme Court Revisits Lougee and Announces Framework for Determining When Pretrial Detention Prolonged Due to COVID Violates Due Process

by Doug Ankney

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (“SJC”) announced the framework for deciding whether a defendant’s due process rights were violated where the defendant’s pretrial detention has been prolonged due to the COVID-19 pandemic, revisiting Commonwealth v. Lougee, 147 N.E.3d 464 (Mass. 2020) (as of June 2020, ...

California Court of Appeal: § 1170.95(e) Permits Trial Courts to Redesignate More Than One Underlying Felony in Resentencing Vacated Felony-Murder Conviction

by Doug Ankney

The Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, Division Three ruled that § 1170.95(e) permits a vacated felony-murder conviction to be redesignated as more than one underlying felony for purposes of resentencing. (Note: All statutory references are to the California Penal Code.)
In 1987, Donald Alexander Watson, Timothy ...

Arizona Supreme Court: Trial Courts Have Broad Discretion to Disqualify Entire Prosecutor’s Office Based on Appearance of Impropriety

by Douglas Ankney 

In a case of first impression, the Supreme Court of Arizona held that trial courts have broad discretion to vicariously disqualify a prosecutor’s office based on an appearance of impropriety.

In 2010, Darren Irving Goldin was charged with murder, and the Attorney General sought the death penalty. ...

Indiana Supreme Court Applies Recently Announced Proportionality Framework for In Rem Fines and Holds Forfeiture of $35,000 Land Rover Grossly Disproportionate to Underlying Offense in Violation of Eighth Amendment, Ending 7-Year Saga

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Indiana affirmed the holding of the Grant Superior Court, which found that forfeiture of Tyson Timbs’ Land Rover was grossly disproportionate to his crime of conviction in violation of the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause.
Timbs had been prescribed opiates and had become ...

11th Circuit: District Court Must Demonstrate It Considered § 3553(a) Factors When Denying Motion for Compassionate Release

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit vacated the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida’s order denying compassionate release because the district court failed to demonstrate it had considered the applicable factors under 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).
Horace Cook pleaded guilty to ...

Fourth Circuit: RICO Conspiracy Isn’t ‘Crime of Violence’ for § 924(c) Purposes

by Doug Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) is not categorically a “crime of violence” under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(A).

Antonio Simmons, Nathaniel Mitchell, and Malek Lassiter (collectively, ...

Concealed Exculpatory Evidence and New Palm Print Evidence Frees Wrongfully Convicted Man After 21 Years in Prison

by Douglas Ankney

In April 2021, Jonathan Smith, Sr. was freed after serving nearly 21 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Last year, the Maryland Court of Appeals unanimously reversed the 2001 murder convictions against Smith and his codefendant, David Faulkner, and granted both men Writs ...

Virginia Supreme Court Reverses Concealed Weapon Offense Because Statutory Exception Applied

The Supreme Court of Virginia reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeals (“COA”) that had affirmed Dorain Jerod Myers’ conviction for carrying a concealed weapon, second offense, in violation of Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-308(A), which makes it illegal for anyone to carry “about his person” ...



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