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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Eleventh Circuit: Conspiracy to Commit Hobbs Act Robbery not a Crime of Violence Under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery is not a crime of violence as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3).

In 2014, Michael Brown pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery in violation of 18 ...

On Remand from Supreme Court, Eleventh Circuit Holds in Specific Circumstances an Ake Violation Constitutes Structural Error

by Douglas Ankney

On remand from the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that in the particular facts and circumstances of James McWilliams’ sentencing, the Alabama sentencing court’s violation of the provisions of Ake v. Oklahoma, 470 U.S. 68 ...

Refusing to Permit Attorney to Make Offer of Proof Is Abuse of Discretion, Says Indiana Supreme Court

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Indiana held that a superior court abuses its discretion when it refuses to allow an attorney to make an offer of proof when the attorney has done nothing to delay or abuse the trial process.

In 2011, the Marion Superior Court sentenced Anthony ...

Payouts for Police Misconduct Claims Rise While Number of Claims Appear to Fall

by Douglas Ankney

Municipalities and insurers are spending more in costs and payouts from law enforcement misconduct claims, but it appears that the total number of claims is dropping.

The rise in costs may be attributed to the heightened public focus on holding police accountable. “In the last five years, ...

Michigan Supreme Court Reverses Criminal Sexual Conduct Convictions in Two Consolidated Cases Due to Improperly Admitted Expert Testimony

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Michigan reversed convictions for criminal sexual conduct in two consolidated cases due to improperly admitted testimony of expert witnesses.

Joshua Thorpe was in a relationship with Chelsie. The couple had a daughter together. Chelsie also had a daughter from a previous relationship (identified ...

New Law Makes It Harder for California’s Cops to Get Away with Killing People

by Douglas Ankney

Beginning January 1, 2020, cops in California will be allowed to use deadly force only when the “officer reasonably believes ... that deadly force is necessary to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury.”

The law was inspired by the 2018 shooting of ...

Not Guilty but Punished Anyway

by Douglas Ankney

Many people are aware that Pilate found Jesus “not guilty,” but Jesus was sentenced to death anyway. Fortunately, the American system of justice doesn’t permit such outcomes. Or does it?

According to, federal judges can — and often do — use what is called “acquitted conduct” ...

Maryland Court of Appeals Announces Circuit Court Retains Authority to Exercise Its Revisory Power for Up to Five Years After Granting Belated Postconviction Motion

by Douglas Ankney

In a case of apparent first impression, the Court of Appeals of Maryland announced that a circuit court has authority to revise a criminal defendant’s sentence for up to five years from the date the circuit court granted postconviction relief, permitting a belated motion for modification of ...

Indiana Supreme Court: Postconviction Petition Addressing Only Issues From New Trial, New Sentencing, or New Appeal From Federal Court via Habeas Proceedings Is Not a Second Petition Under State Law

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Indiana held that a postconviction petition that raises only issues emerging from the new trial, new sentencing, or new appeal obtained from a federal court through habeas proceedings is not a second or successive petition under Indiana Post-Conviction Rule (“Ind. P-C. R.”) 1(12). ...

Sixth Circuit Grants § 2254 Habeas Relief in Unusual Case of Attorney Failing to Initiate Plea Negotiations

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the decision of a district court that denied habeas relief. In an unusual ruling, the Sixth Circuit found that defense counsel was ineffective for failing to initiate plea negotiations.

In February 2010, Curtis Byrd and his girlfriend ...



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