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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Seventh Circuit Vacates Sentence Because Government Failed to Meet Its Burden to Support Uncharged Drug Quantity Under Rule 32

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit admonished that “sentencing proceedings are not a free-for-all” and vacated Edward Gibbs’ sentence where the requirements of Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32 (“Rule 32”) were not followed when determining the amount of methamphetamine (“meth”) attributable to Gibbs ...

Colorado Supreme Court Announces ‘Reasonable Likelihood’ Framework for Determining Whether Trial Court’s Comments to Prospective Jurors Lowered Prosecution’s Burden of Proof

by Douglas Ankney

In companion cases, the Supreme Court of Colorado adopted the functional “reasonable likelihood” framework for determining whether a trial court’s comments to prospective jurors lowered the prosecution’s burden of proof.

During jury voir dire at Ernest Joseph Tibbels trial on charges that included possession of contraband, the ...

Maryland Court of Appeals: Kazadi Applies to Cases Where Issue Was Preserved at Trial but Appeal Not Yet Noted at Time Kazadi Decided

by Douglas Ankney

The Court of Appeals of Maryland (“MCOA”) held that its holding in Kazadi v. State, 223 A.3d 554 (Md. 2020) applies to cases where a defendant had not yet noted an appeal when Kazadi was issued but had preserved a Kazadi issue at trial.

In Kazadi ...

Fifth Circuit: District Court Miscalculated Sentencing Guidelines Range by Implausibly Finding Defendant Would Use All Cash Proceeds of Drug Sales Seized to Purchase More Meth to Resell

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas erred in its drug quantity attribution by implausibly finding that Zaira Valenzuela Lujan would have used all of the $10,694 seized from her to purchase additional ...

Sixth Circuit: COA Not Required to Appeal Order Denying Rule 4(a)(5) Motion for Extension of Time to File Notice of Appeal

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that a Certificate of Appealability (“COA”) is not required when appealing a district court’s order denying a motion for an extension of time to file a notice of appeal brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure ...

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Clarifies Ex Post Facto Analysis Focuses on When, Not Where, Crime Occurred and Does Not Require Showing of Disadvantage to Defendant

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that the state’s sex-offender registry law constitutes punishment when imposed retroactively to sex offenders who committed their offenses prior to the law’s enactment and whose triggering offenses occurred in another state and thus amounts to an unconstitutional ex post facto law. ...

Inflation Transforming Petty Offenses Into Felonies

by Douglas Ankney

In the recent collective memory of Americans, $200 purchased almost 100 gallons of gasoline. Today, fewer than 50 gallons of gas can be purchased with that same $200. Two years ago, theft of that 50 gallons of gas in New Jersey was a misdemeanor. Today, that same ...

The War in Ukraine Raises Awareness About Secure Communications During a Crisis

by Anthony W. Accurso

While many people in the U.S. see their government as nosy, but largely benign when compared to oppressive regimes such as North Korea or Iran, the people of Ukraine and Russia are learning hard lessons about the importance of secure messaging, especially when it concerns the ...

NYPD Continues Its Longstanding Tradition of Thwarting Misconduct Investigations and Evading Accountability

by Douglas Ankney

New York City’s Police Department (“NYPD”) has been described by journalists as being worse than the CIA and FBI when it comes to record requests. According to, the FBI and the CIA say the NYPD is worse than a rogue state when it comes to ...

Border Patrol Agents Track and Spy on U.S. Journalists and Unidentified Members of Congress

by Douglas Ankney

The Associated Press (“AP”) confirmed a Yahoo News report revealing that in 2017, Department of Homeland Security’s (“DHS”) Customs and Border Patrol (“CBP”) unit identified as the Counter Network Division used government databases designed for tracking terrorists to investigate as many as 20 U.S.-based journalists, congressional staffers, ...



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