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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Identification Via DNA, Fingerprints, and 3D Scanning of Footwear

by Douglas Ankney

Eyewitness identifications of possible perpetrators of crime are often unreliable. Scientific identifications by comparison of DNA profiles and fingerprint exemplars are, by far, more trustworthy. But coming soon may be identifications made by analysis of 3D-scanned footwear.

Analysis of footwear impressions left at crime scenes has long ...

California Court of Appeal: Probation Condition Prohibiting Possession of Pornography Impermissibly Vague

by Douglas Ankney

The Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, held that a probation condition prohibiting possession of pornographic materials was impermissibly vague.

Michael Gruis pleaded no contest to one count of possession of child pornography in violation of California Penal Code § 311.11(a). The trial court suspended imposition ...

DOJ Spending Over $6 Billion in Firms to Seize Innocent Citizens’ Property Via Civil Asset Forfeiture

by Douglas Ankney

According to a September 2023 report from, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) is “shelling out more than $6 billion to private companies to manage its asset forfeiture investigations.” When the government merely alleges that money, homes, land, boats, cars, and other property is linked to ...

Survey: Why Defendants Cooperate with the Government in a Process Described as ‘Unfair’ by Defense Attorneys

by Douglas Ankney

“Cooperation is a horrible thing for clients. Doing law enforcement’s job and requiring someone to bargain for their freedom encourages an ugly, unfair, and unjust system to become even more so that way.”

Those are the words of an anonymous federal defense attorney who participated in a ...

Maryland Supreme Court Announces Expectation of Privacy Covers Electronic Data, Not Physical Devices, Thus War-rantless Search of Government’s Copy of Defendant’s Hard Drive After Consent Revoked Violated Fourth Amendment

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Maryland (formerly the Court of Appeals) held that a defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the digital content of the hard drive to his computer; therefore, a warrantless search of the Government’s copy of the hard drive after the defendant had ...

Fifth Circuit Affirms Habeas Relief Granted to Capital Defendant Where Counsel Failed to Impeach State’s Pivotal Wit-ness with Available Forensic Evidence

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana’s grant of habeas relief to a capital defendant where defense counsel failed to impeach the State’s pivotal witness with available forensic evidence.

Jarrell Neal, his half-brother Zannie ...

Human DNA Retrieved From Dogs Might Provide Evidence

by Douglas Ankney

Researchers from Flinders University in Australia published the results of a study involving the work of the Victoria Police Forensic Services Department and Deakin University regarding the collection of human DNA from 20 dogs from separate households. Wearing clean gloves, researchers swabbed samples from the dogs’ chests, ...

Sixth Circuit: Trial Judge’s Personal and Condemnatory Remarks Directed Toward Defendant Requires Recusal

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that a trial judge’s personal and condemnatory remarks directed toward a defendant required recusal of the judge.

Leron Liggins was charged with drug-related offenses in Michigan and Kentucky in 2018. Liggins stated his intention to plead guilty ...

California Court of Appeal: Defendants Who Plead Guilty to Stipulated Sentence Eligible for Resentencing Under Amended § 1170.91

by Douglas Ankney

The California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, held that defendants who plead guilty to a stipulated sentence are eligible for resentencing under California Penal Code § 1170.91, as amended. (Note: All statutory references are to the California Penal Code.)

In 2002, Ronnie Keith Harrell, pursuant to a ...

California Bans Bogus ‘Excited Delirium’ Diagnosis as Cause of Death

by Douglas Ankney

In October 2023, California Governor Gavin Newsome signed a bill into law that prohibits “excited delirium” from being recognized as a valid diagnosis or cause of death. The law was prompted by the death of Angelo Quinto in 2020 who, while suffering a mental health crisis, lost ...



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