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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Sixth Circuit: Grant of Habeas on Grounds that State Trial Court Violated Defendant’s Right to Present a Complete Defense

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a district court’s conditional grant of a petition for writ of habeas corpus on grounds that the state court violated the petitioner’s right to present a complete defense when it excluded two exculpatory statements.

When Parish Hickman ...

Washington Supreme Court Affirms Warrantless Search of CSLI Data but Holds Convictions for Both First-degree Rape and Felony Murder Predicated on Rape Violate Double Jeopardy

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Washington affirmed the warrantless search of Bisir Bilal Muhammad’s real-time cell-site location information (“CSLI”) based on exigent circumstances. However, the Court also held that Muhammad’s convictions for first-degree felony murder predicated on rape and for first-degree rape violated double jeopardy.

In November 2014, ...

11th Circuit: General Threat of Harm Inherent in Every Bank Robbery Doesn’t Qualify for ‘Threat-of-Death’ Enhancement

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that the general threat of harm required in every bank robbery under 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) does not justify the two-level “threat-of-death” enhancement of U.S.S.G. § 2B3.1(b)(2)(F).

In March 2017, an unarmed Roberto Arturo Perez entered a ...

In Case of First Impression, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Holds Compelling Suspect to Disclose Computer Password Is Testimonial in Nature and Violates Fifth Amendment’s Privilege Against Self Incrimination

By Douglas Ankney

In a case of first impression, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that compelling a suspect to disclose the access password to his lawfully seized, but encrypted, personal computer violates the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination.

In 2015, agents from the Office of the Attorney General (“OAG”) ...

Washington Supreme Court Announces Rules for Trial Courts When Implicit Racial Bias Alleged in Jury Decision

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Washington announced procedural rules for trial courts to follow when a post-verdict motion for new trial alleges implicit racial bias of a juror or jurors.

The day after Tomas Mussie Berhe was convicted of murder and other crimes, Juror 6 contacted the trial ...

Indiana Supreme Court Announces Analytical Framework When Determining Whether Punitive In Rem Forfeiture Violates Excessive Fines Clause

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Indiana announced the analytical framework for courts to use when determining whether a punitive in rem forfeiture violates the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. [Note: An action in rem is brought against “a thing or property” as ...

First Circuit: Application of Subsequent Guidelines Manual to a Prior, Ungrouped Offense Violates Ex Post Facto Clause

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that a district court violated the Ex Post Facto Clause when it applied the 2016 Guidelines Sentencing Manual to an ungrouped offense committed in 2001. This case of first impression in the First Circuit “concerns the interaction ...

Tennessee Supreme Court Reverses Conviction Because Trial Court Refused to Give ‘Necessity’ Jury Instruction Because Defendant Never Testified About Mental State

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Tennessee reversed Brandon Cole-Pugh’s conviction because the trial court refused to instruct the jury on the defense of necessity.

According to witness Michael Douglas, while Cole-Pugh was inside The Gold Line Market, he saw that a Ms. Thomas was arguing with two men. ...

Sixth Circuit Reverses District Court’s Denial of Safety-Valve Relief

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed the judgment of a district court that denied safety-valve relief under U.S.S.G. §§ 5C1.2 and 2D1.1(b)(17) to Nestor Barron.

In July of 2017, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at the residence of Lara Salas in ...

Georgia Supreme Court Announces Fundamental Overhaul of Jurisprudence Governing Appeals of Guilty Pleas and Out-of-Time Appeals

by Douglas Ankney

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of Georgia completely overhauled the state’s jurisprudence governing appeals of cases that resulted in guilty pleas and governing out-of-time appeals, overturning more than 75 prior decisions.

In September 2009, Cordalero Collier pleaded guilty to felony murder, and the court sentenced ...



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