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Articles by Douglas Ankney

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 ...

California Court of Appeal Orders New Trial Due to Jurors Considering Potential Penalty During Guilt Phase of Deliberations

by Douglas Ankney

The Court of Appeal of California, Third Appellate District, reversed a trial court’s denial of a motion for a new trial, ruling that jurors committed misconduct by considering the possible penalties during the guilt phase of Michael Anthony Flores’ trial.

Flores was tried on several charges, including ...

Discredited Narcotics Unit Revamped as Firearms Unit

by Douglas Ankney

In 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice reported that officers from the Narcotics Unit of the Springfield Police Department in Massachusetts engaged “in a pattern or practice of excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.” The report identified evidence showing officers ...

LASD Defends Practice of Stopping Latino Bicyclists, Says People Using Bikes for Transportation Are Generally Criminals

by Douglas Ankney

According to data obtained by the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (“LASD”) is targeting Latino bicyclists with pretextual stops. Since the bicyclists are on their vehicles—rather than in their vehicles—the stops are analogous to Terry stops (from Terry v. Ohio, 392 U.S. ...

Tenth Circuit Announces That After Borden An Offense That Can Be Committed ‘Recklessly’ Is Not Categorically a ‘Crime of Violence’ Under § 924(c)’s Elements Clause

by Douglas Ankney

In consolidated cases on remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that defendants’ Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering (“VICAR”), 18 U.S.C. § 1959, convictions that were based on violations of Arizona and Utah statutes criminalizing assault with ...

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, ...



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