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Articles by Douglas Ankney

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: ...

Third Circuit: Pennsylvania’s SORNA Requirements Sufficiently Restrictive to Constitute Custody for Habeas Jurisdiction

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that the registration and reporting requirements of Pennsylvania’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”) are sufficiently restrictive to constitute custody for the purposes of habeas corpus jurisdiction.

Jason Piasecki was convicted in the Court of Common ...

Nebraska’s Death Row Prisoners Must Bring ‘Repeal Challenges’ Individually

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Nebraska has dismissed on technical grounds a lawsuit filed by eight death-row prisoners represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”).  The suit alleged the death sentences of Nebraska’s death-row prisoners must be converted to life sentences because the Nebraska Legislature repealed ...

$8.4 Million Combined Settlement Reached by ‘Norfolk Four’

by Douglas Ankney

Four former Navy sailors (the “Norfolk Four”), who were wrongly convicted of the rape and murder of Michelle Bosko, agreed to a $4.9 million settlement with the City of Norfolk, Virginia. 

Governor Ralph Northam then signed legislation directing that the men receive an additional $3.5 million ...

Georgia Supreme Court Announces Defendant May Invoke Rape Shield Statute to Bar State From Offering Evidence of Victim’s Past Sexual Behavior

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Georgia held that a defendant may invoke O.C.G.A. § 24-4-412 (“Rape Shield Statute”) to prohibit the State from offering evidence of a complaining witness’ past sexual behavior. In so doing, the Court overruled prior decisions of the Court of Appeals that held the ...

Tennessee Supreme Court: Attempting to Secretly Videotape 
Teen Changing Clothes Does Not Support Conviction for Attempted Production of Child Pornography

by Douglas Ankney

On January 7, 2019, the Supreme Court of Tennessee ruled that evidence of placing a camera in a teen’s bedroom with the intent of recording her in the nude while changing clothes is insufficient to support a conviction for attempted especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor, ...

Georgia Supreme Court Holds Statute Authorizing Lifetime GPS Monitoring of ‘Sexually Dangerous Predator’ Is Unconstitutional

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Georgia held that the state statute authorizing the lifetime global positioning system (“GPS”) monitoring of persons determined to be a “sexually dangerous person” (“SDP”) but who are no longer serving their sentences is unconstitutional on its face.

In 2003, Joseph Park was convicted ...

North Dakota Supreme Court Announces Implied Consent Advisory Must be Read After Arrest and Before Administering Test

by Douglas Ankney

In December 2018, the Supreme Court of North Dakota held that the implied consent advisory pursuant to N.D.C.C. § 39-20-01(2) and (3) must be read after placing an individual under arrest and before administering a chemical test to determine blood-alcohol content or the presence of other ...

Counsel Ineffective for Failing to Move for Mistrial When Court Coerces Unanimous Verdict

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that a defendant did not receive effective assistance of counsel when his attorneys failed to object and move for a mistrial while two judges coerced a jury to return a unanimous verdict.

Sumnar Robert Brewster was tried ...



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