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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Ohio Supreme Court: IAC for Counsel to Mention ‘Neonaticide’ at Sentencing but Fail to Explain and Use It as Mitigating Evidence

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Ohio ruled that Emile Weaver’s trial counsel was ineffective at her sentencing when he made mention of the term “neonaticide” without explaining its meaning and how neonaticide was applicable to Weaver’s case. The Court also found, in an unusually forceful manner, that the trial court judge demonstrated bias in denying Weaver’s postconviction motion for relief.

In 2014, Weaver was a sophomore at a university in New Concord, Ohio, and lived in a sorority house. Upon obtaining birth control at a wellness center, she was informed that she was pregnant. She testified at trial that she did not “completely” believe she was pregnant because she did not show any of the normal signs of pregnancy, e.g., she did not (1) gain weight, (2) have morning sickness or exhaustion, or (3) stop menstruating. Whenever her sorority sisters or friends asked if she was pregnant, she denied it. She never told her mother.

At trial, Weaver explained that she lied about her pregnancy because she was scared, “felt like [she] had no one,” and was “worried about getting in trouble.” When she discussed her pregnancy during her “rocky relationship” with her boyfriend, he encouraged her not ...

California Court of Appeal: Trial Court Erred by Concluding Senate Bill 1393 Does Not Apply to Cases Already Final on Appeal

by Douglas Ankney

The Court of Appeal of California, Sixth Appellate District, held that the trial court erred by denying recall of a prisoner’s sentence on the erroneous premise that Senate Bill 1393 (“SB 1393”) does not apply to cases already final on appeal, and the Court further held that ...

Ohio Supreme Court Clarifies Meaning of ‘Outcome Determinative’ in Context of Motion for Postconviction DNA Testing

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Ohio clarified the meaning of “outcome determinative” in the context of a motion filed pursuant to R.C. 2953.73, seeking postconviction DNA testing.

Guy Billy Lee Scott was convicted by jury in 1992 for the assault, rape, and murder of Lesa Buckley and sentenced ...

Seventh Circuit: District Court’s Failure to Address Nonfrivolous Argument Raised in First Step Act Motion Constitutes Procedural Error in Violation of Concepcion

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that when deciding a motion for a sentence reduction under § 404 of the First Step Act (“FSA”), a District Court must demonstrate it considered every nonfrivolous argument raised by the defendant.

In 2005, Jamell Newbern pleaded ...

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals: Adding Felony Counts by Amending Indictment Constitutes Addition of More Offenses

by Douglas Ankney

The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas ruled that adding felony counts to an indictment via an amended indictment constitutes the adding of additional offenses to the indictment thereby allowing the State to obtain more convictions than authorized by the original indictment, which is prohibited by Tex. ...

California Court of Appeal Holds Phrase ‘From Date of Parole’ Refers to the Start Date of Parole and the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act Does Not Preempt the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act

by Douglas Ankney

In consolidated appeals, the Court of Appeal of California, Fourth Appellate District, held that the phrase “from the date of parole” refers to the start date of parole and that the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) does not preempt the California Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act ...

Law Enforcement and Mad Men

by Douglas Ankney

About two decades ago, the TV network AMC had a hit show entitled Mad Men. Starring Jon Hamm and others, it portrayed the foibles of the financially elite but morally bankrupt men and women in the business of writing ad copy. Hence, the title “Mad ...

California Court of Appeal Affirms Grant of Suppression Motion Where Officer’s Pat Search of Defendant Based on High Crime Area, Baggy Clothes, Criminal Record, and Suspect in Separate Case

by Douglas Ankney

The Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, affirmed the Solano County Superior Court’s order granting Juan Pantoja’s motion to suppress evidence because Vacaville Police Officer Chris Hill did not have articulable facts to support a reasonable suspicion to pat search Pantoja. The Court also affirmed ...

Ohio Supreme Court: Defendant Has Reasonable and Legitimate Basis to Withdraw Guilty Plea Before Sentencing When He Discovers Evidence That Would Have Affected Decision

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Ohio held that Terry Barnes Sr. had a reasonable and legitimate basis to withdraw his guilty plea before sentencing when he discovered evidence that had been withheld from him by his attorney and that evidence would have negated his decision to plead guilty ...

Seventh Circuit: Defendant Entitled to Present Entrapment Defense Where ‘Some Evidence’ Exists of Government Inducement and Lack of Predisposition to Commit Crime

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that Robert Shawn Anderson was entitled to present his entrapment defense to the jury because there was some evidence that the Government induced him to commit the crime and some evidence that he lacked any predisposition to ...



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