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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Fourth Circuit: South Carolina Conviction for Assaulting, Wounding, or Beating Officer While Resisting Arrest Is Not Predicate Violent Felony Conviction Under ACCA

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that a conviction for assaulting, beating, or wounding a law enforcement officer while resisting arrest (“ABWO”) in violation of South Carolina Code § 16-9-320(B) (“ABWO statute”) is not a predicate offense because it does not satisfy the ...

Second Circuit: Government’s Misleading Disclosure Warrants New Trial

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the Government violated Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure when its misleading disclosure caused the defense to forego filing a motion to suppress the defendant’s statement. The Court vacated the district court’s decision ...

Why Brady Lists Still Don’t Work

by Douglas Ankney

Lists of discredited police officers whom prosecutors refuse to call as witnesses are known as Brady lists. These lists could play an important role in ensuring the criminal justice system is fair by tracking and exposing police officers who lie or engage in unethical behavior.

Unfortunately, these ...

Abolishing the Death Penalty Leads to Decline in Murders

by Douglas Ankney

In a blow to those who cling to the idea that the death penalty deters murder, a study by the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center (“ABC”) demonstrates that when nations abolish the death penalty the rate of homicides decreases. 

To be included in the study, a nation had ...

Fourth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Habeas and Remands for Hearing on Actual Innocence Claim

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of Charles Ray Finch’s habeas petition and remanded for a hearing on the merits of Finch’s claim of actual innocence.

In 1976, a jury in Wilson, North Carolina, convicted Finch of first-degree murder. ...

Seventh Circuit: Failure to Disclose that Star Witness Was Hypnotized is 'Brady' Violation

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that the State concealed materially exculpatory evidence in violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), when it failed to disclose that the prosecution’s only witness to identify the defendant was hypnotized before trial.

In ...

Georgia Supreme Court: Statutes Permitting a Defendant’s Refusal to Submit to Breath Tests to Be Admitted into Evidence Are Unconstitutional

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Georgia held that OCGA §§ 40-5-67.1(b) and 40-6-392(d), to the extent that they allow a defendant’s refusal to submit to a breath test to be admitted as evidence, violate Article I, Section I, Paragraph XVI (“Paragraph XVI”) of the Georgia Constitution.

Andrea Elliott ...

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Retroactively Applies Birchfield, Holding that Enhanced Criminal Penalties for Refusing Warrantless Blood Tests are Unconstitutional

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania retroactively applied Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S.Ct. 2160 (2016), holding that Samuel Anthony Monarch’s enhanced penalties for refusing warrantless blood tests following his arrest for driving under the influence (“DUI”) were unconstitutional.

In July 2015, Monarch was suspected of DUI. ...

First Circuit: Failure to Prove a Prior Conviction Was a ‘Controlled Substance Offense’ Under the Guidelines Requires Resentencing

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that when the Government fails to prove a prior conviction was for a controlled substance as defined by U.S. Sentencing Guideline (“U.S.S.G.”) 4B1.2(b), the defendant is entitled to resentencing.

Jose Martinez-Benitez pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm ...

SCOTUS: Presumption of Prejudice Recognized in Flores-Ortega Applies Regardless of Defendant’s Appeal Waiver

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) held that the presumption of prejudice recognized in Roe v. Flores-Ortega, 528 U.S. 470 (2000), applies regardless of whether a defendant has signed an appeal waiver.

Gilberto Garza, Jr. signed two plea agreements. In the agreements, Idaho agreed: ...



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