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Articles by Douglas Ankney

U.S. Supreme Court Announces § 2255(e)’s ‘Saving Clause’ Does Not Enable Prisoners to File § 2241 Petition Based on AEDPA’s Rule Against Second or Successive § 2255 Motions

by Douglas Ankney

Resolving a split among the U.S. Courts of Appeals, the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) held that “§ 2255(e)’s saving clause does not permit a prisoner asserting an intervening change in statutory interpretation to circumvent AEDPA’s restrictions on second or successive § 2255 motions by filing a ...

Maryland Supreme Court: Firearms Identification Methodology Does Not Provide Reliable Basis for Expert’s Unqualified Opinion That Bullets Recovered at Crime Scene Were Fired From Defendant’s Gun

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Maryland (formerly known as the Court of Appeals of Maryland) held that the methodology of firearms identification presented to the trial court did not provide a reliable basis for the expert witness’ unqualified opinion that four bullets and one bullet fragment found at ...

California Court of Appeal: Trial Court Abused Discretion in Failing to Recall Terminally Ill Prisoner’s Sentence Following CDCR’s Recommendation for Compassionate Release

by Douglas Ankney

The Court of Appeal of California, Sixth Appellate District, held that the Monterey County Superior Court plainly abused its discretion when it refused to recall the sentence of terminally ill prisoner Adnan Judeh Nijmeddin following the recommendation of the Health Care Services Director (“Director”) of the California ...

Fourth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Habeas Petition Where District Court Failed to Review Magistrate’s Report De Novo After Characterizing Petitioner’s Objections as ‘Attempt to Reargue Case’

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed a District Court’s dismissal of Larone F. Elijah’s 28 U.S.C. § 2241 Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus (“habeas petition”) where the District Court characterized Elijah’s objections to the magistrate’s report and recommendation (“R&R”) as an attempt to ...

Ninth Circuit Announces No Deference to Application Note 1 to Guideline § 4B1.2(b) Because It Impermissibly Expands Definition of ‘Controlled Substance Offense’

by Douglas Ankney

In deepening an already wide Circuit split, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit announced that the Court cannot defer to Application Note 1 to U.S. Sentencing Guidelines (“U.S.S.G.”) § 4B1.2(b) because the Guideline is unambiguous and does not include inchoate offenses for purposes of career ...

Third Circuit Vacates Denial of First Step Act Relief Because District Court’s Failure to Expressly Identify Which § 841(b) Provision Supported Sentence Precludes Appellate Review

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit vacated the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s denial of Darryl E. Coleman’s motion for a sentence reduction under § 404(b) of the First Step Act of 2018 (“FSA”) because the District Court’s failure to expressly ...

Geofence Warrants: Little-Known Search Makes Innocent People Suspects Simply for Having a Phone Near a Crime Scene

by Anthony W. Accurso

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” and requires that warrants be issued only “upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing ...

California Court of Appeal Reverses Felony Murder Conviction Because Evidence Insufficient to Support Underlying Predicate Felony of Attempted Robbery

by Douglas Ankney

The California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, reversed Dwayne Lamont Burgess’ felony murder conviction because the evidence was insufficient to support the underlying predicate felony of attempted robbery.

In December 1990, Burgess was a participant in a crime that ended in the death of a drug ...

No Discipline for NYPD Officers Who Deface License Plates in Apparent Attempt to Evade Tickets

by Douglas Ankney

Gersh Kuntzman, editor of Streetsblog, spent the first quarter of 2023 documenting New York Police Department (“NYPD”) officers who defaced their license plates, making the plates unreadable to the city’s speed, red-light, and bus-lane violation cameras. The results of the investigations into his complaints reveal none of ...

New York Court of Appeals: Constitutional Prohibition Against Restraining Defendant Without Explanation Remains in Force During Announcement of Verdict and Polling of Jurors

by Douglas Ankney

The New York Court of Appeals held that until the jury returns to the courtroom and publicly announces and confirms the verdict, the defendant is still presumed innocent, so the constitutional prohibition on restraining a defendant without explanation remains in force.

Oscar Sanders was tried by jury ...



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