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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Massachusetts Supreme Court: Discharge From Civil Commitment 
Required When Examiners Conclude Defendant Is Not Sexually Dangerous

by Douglas Ankney

Following convictions for two counts of rape of a child in 1977, Wayne Chapman was sentenced to prison for a term of 15 to 30 years. But later that same year, Chapman was found to be a sexually dangerous person and committed to the Massachusetts Treatment Center ...

West Virginia Supreme Court Announces Parole Eligibility Statute for Prisoners Who Committed Crimes as Minors is Retroactive

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of West Virginia announced that the provision of the Juvenile Sentencing Reform Act of 2014 that applies to parole eligibility for persons who committed crimes when they were less than 18 years of age is to be applied retroactively.

Sixteen-year-old Christopher J. sexually abused ...

California Supreme Court: Prop 47 Requires Dismissal of Conviction Based on a Predicate Felony That Is Later Reduced to a Misdemeanor

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of California ruled that when the felony underlying a conviction for “street terrorism” is later reduced to a misdemeanor, then the street terrorism conviction must be vacated and the charge dismissed.

In 2013, Luis Donicio Valenzuela and his associate Timothy Medina confronted Mannie Ramirez. ...

Hawai’i Supreme Court Remands for Resentencing Where Circuit Court Considered Defendant’s Refusal to Admit Guilt in Imposing Consecutive Sentences

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Hawai’i remanded for resentencing in a case where the circuit court based the sentence, in part, on the defendant’s refusal to admit guilt.

In 2015, Ronald Melvin Barnes was convicted by a jury of four counts of first-degree sexual assault against a minor ...

Maryland Court of Appeals Rules That Courts Must Ask Non Compound ‘Strong Feelings’ Question Upon Request During Voir Dire

by Douglas Ankney

The Court of Appeals of Maryland reaffirmed that, upon request, trial courts must ask non-compound “strong feelings question” of potential jurors during voir dire in the following form: “Do any of you have strong feelings about [crime with which defendant is charged]?” 

During voir dire in Gordon ...

Minnesota Supreme Court Holds ‘Stalking-by-Mail’ and ‘Mail-Harassment’ Statutes are Facially Overbroad

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Minnesota held that Minn. Stat. § 609.749(2)(6) (“stalking by mail”) and Minn. Stat. § 609.695(1)(3) (“mail harassment”) are facially overbroad. Juvenile defendant “A.J.B.” was convicted of stalking by mail and mail harassment stemming from a series of vicious “tweets” he simultaneously sent to ...

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court: Consent to Search Does Not Attenuate Seized Evidence From Taint of Illegal Search of CSLI

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts suppressed illegally obtained CSLI, ruling that the Commonwealth failed to meet its burden under the Fourth Amendment of proving police did not exploit the illegally obtained evidence to obtain the defendant’s consent to search. 

After Josener Dorisca was indicted for ...

Snohomish County Pays $1 Million Settlement in Death of Man in Chemical Cloud

by Douglas Ankney

Snohomish County, Washington, agreed to pay Michelle Vincent $1 million to settle her claim that the county killed her husband Michael with a chemical cloud.

On April 21, 2011, Sergeant Rogers of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department (“SCSD”) led Deputies Chad Humphries, Michael Valfeados, and Michael Sutherland ...

Caught by the Hair: New Forensic Tool Could Differentiate People

by Douglas Ankney

A new study published by a team from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (“LLNL”) in California concludes their method of proteomics sequencing of short, single strands of hair will revolutionize the forensic criminalistic science of the future.

“Protein-based human identification has the potential to be a powerful ...

Police, Prosecutors Use Asset Forfeitures to Lease SUVs, Customize Motorcycles, Install WiFi at Home, and More

by Douglas Ankney

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, District Attorney Craig Stedman spent more than $21,000 of drug forfeiture money to lease a 2016 Toyota Highlander. After Stedman was ordered to release records of hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional expenditures from “drug-related” forfeitures, he appealed to the Court of Common ...



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