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Articles by Douglas Ankney

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” ...

Montana Supreme Court: Court Reporter’s Medical Emergency and Judge’s Distress Don’t Constitute Manifest Necessity for Declaring Mistrial, Retrial Violates Double Jeopardy

The Supreme Court of Montana dismissed with prejudice charges of sexual intercourse without consent and bail jumping, ruling the defendant’s second trial following a mistrial that was declared without a showing of manifest necessity was barred by the Double Jeopardy Clauses of the U.S. and Montana Constitutions. ...

Arizona Supreme Court: Trial Court’s Failure to Protect Defendant’s Right to Conflict-Free Counsel May Be Raised on Direct Appeal 16 Massachusetts Supreme Court: Error to Exclude Expert Testimony on Significance of Tattoo to Support Claim of Self-Defense

The Supreme Court of Arizona affirmed a decision of the Court of Appeals (“COA”) holding that the issue of a trial court’s failure to adequately protect a defendant’s right to conflict-free counsel—as opposed to issues broadly raised as ineffective assistance of counsel—may be raised on direct appeal. ...

Fourth Circuit Reverses ‘Abusive Language’ Conviction Where Government Failed to Offer Evidence That Racial Slur Tended to Cause Immediate Acts of Violence

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jules A. Bartow’s conviction for using “abusive language” after determining the Government failed to prove his racial slur tended to cause immediate acts of violence.

Bartow, who is white, was inside the ...

California Court of Appeal: When Federal Court Finds Petitioner Satisfies Schlup Standard, Victim Compensation Board Must Recommend Payment of Claim Without Hearing

The Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Five, held that when a federal district court finds that a habeas petitioner has satisfied the standard enunciated in Schlup v. Delo, 513 U.S. 298 (1995), and the petitioner is permanently released from custody, the California Victim Compensation ...

Atavistic South Carolinians Offer Option of Firing Squad to Condemned Prisoners

Brad Sigmon, 63, was scheduled to be killed on June 18, 2021, at the hands of the people of South Carolina in their perverse and bizarre notion of justice. But on June 16, 2021, the South Carolina Supreme Court stayed his killing. The Court announced it would ...

Sixth Circuit: District Court May Consider Disparity of Defendant’s Actual Sentence Compared With Sentence Under First Step Act When Additional Factors Present

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that, in making an individualized determination about whether extraordinary and compelling reasons merit compassionate release, a district court may include, along with other factors, the disparity between a defendant’s actual sentence and the sentence he would have ...

 

 

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