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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Seventh Circuit: Trial Judge Violated 5th Amendment by Modifying Instructions to Allow Jury to Convict on Offenses Not Charged in Indictment

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that a district court judge violated Ionel Muresanu’s Fifth Amendment right to be tried only on charges brought by indictment when the judge modified the jury instructions to permit conviction on offenses not charged in the indictment. ...

SCOTUS: Advocating for Shorter Sentence Sufficient to Preserve Claim that Sentence Imposed Greater Than Necessary to Comply With 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a)

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) ruled that when a defendant argues before the trial court for a sentence shorter than that sought by the Government the defendant has preserved for appeal purposes his claim that the longer sentence ultimately imposed was greater than necessary ...

New York Court of Appeals Orders Resentencing Because Trial Court Relied on Testimony from Improperly Unsealed Record

The New York Court of Appeals ordered that the defendant (not identified by name) be resentenced because the trial court had imposed an enhanced sentence based on testimony from the improperly unsealed record of a trial on another criminal charge that had resulted in an acquittal.

Defendant ...

Sixth Circuit: Cardiologist’s Right to Due Process Violated Where District Court Ordered Government to Not Disclose Third Party’s Expert Evaluation of Medical Care Provided by Him

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that cardiologist Richard E. Paulus’ Fifth Amendment right to due process was violated when the district court ordered the Government to not disclose to Paulus a third party’s expert evaluation of medical care Paulus had provided to ...

California Court of Appeal: Senate Bill 1437 Abrogates ‘Natural and Probable Consequences Doctrine’ in Attempted Murder Prosecutions and Applies Retroactively to Cases on Appeal

The Court of Appeal of California, Fifth Appellate District, held that Senate Bill 1437 (“SB 1437”) abrogates the “natural and probable consequences doctrine” in attempted murder prosecutions, and this holding applies retroactively to cases on appeal.

After being physically threatened by four men at a local park, ...

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Reverses Murder Conviction Due to Insufficient Evidence

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts reversed Jean Carlos Lopez’s murder conviction because the evidence was insufficient to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Lopez knowingly participated in the killing with the requisite intent.

When Lopez and Erving Cruz arrived at a convenience store around 11:30 p.m., ...

New Fingerprint Test Can Distinguish Whether Person Ingested Cocaine or Only Touched It

Forensic researchers from the University of Surrey in southeast England have revealed they can examine fingerprints to determine whether a person has ingested cocaine or merely touched cocaine. In 2017, Melanie Bailey and her team utilized a new test that used high-resolution mass spectrometry (“HRMS”) to examine ...

North Carolina Supreme Court Announces Defendant Can Forfeit Right to Counsel by Egregious Misconduct; Trial Court May Forgo Compliance with N.C.G.S. § 15A-1242

In a case of first impression in the Supreme Court of North Carolina, the Court announced that when a defendant forfeits the right to counsel, a trial court may forgo compliance with N.C.G.S. §15A-1242 (required court inquiry before allowing defendant to proceed without assistance of counsel).

Jeffery ...

Big Brother Is ... Tracking You

In these Orwellian times, the Detroit Police Department (“DPD”) has obtained a cell-site simulator (“CSS”). It’s a surveillance technology that locates and tracks phones by mimicking cellphone towers.

The DPD bought the technology for $622,000 and began using it in October 2017. From January 1, 2018, through ...

Georgia Supreme Court Reverses Dismissal of Second State Habeas Petition

The Supreme Court of Georgia reversed the Walker County Superior Court’s dismissal of Joseph Samuel Watkins’ second petition for writ of habeas corpus.

Watkins was convicted in 2001 of felony murder, and his conviction was affirmed on appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court in 2003. Watkins subsequently ...



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