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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Court’s in Session: The Honorable Algorithm Presiding

by Douglas Ankney

According to a new report from MIT Technology Review, judges are increasingly relying on “criminal risk assessment algorithms.” The algorithms assign recidivism scores to prisoners that estimate the likelihood he or she may reoffend. A lower score means a kinder fate while a higher score leads to ...

Taking Pictures in the Dark: Florida Police Not Forthcoming About Investigations Using Facial Recognition Software

by Douglas Ankney

Florida law enforcement uses what is known as the Face Analysis Comparison Examination System (“FACES”), which selects from more than 33 million driver’s license and law enforcement photographs.

FACES is designed to return multiple possible matches for an uploaded image. The current system was implemented in 2001. ...

In a Rare Move, California Court of Appeal Discharges Prisoner from All Forms of Custody, Including Parole, After Finding Time Served in Prison Grossly Disproportionate to His Offense

by Douglas Ankney

The Court of Appeal of California, First Appellate District, discharged William E. Palmer II from all forms of custody, including parole supervision, after finding the time he had previously served in prison was grossly disproportionate to his offense.

In 1988, 17-year-old Palmer waited in a parking garage ...

Hawai’i Supreme Court: Cumulative Effect of Multiple Instances of Prosecutorial Misconduct Requires Reversal

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Hawai’i reversed the murder conviction of Iosefa Meafua Pasene due to the cumulative effect of multiple instances of prosecutorial misconduct.

In the early morning hours of March 28, 2009, Pasene, Cedro Muna, and Antonius Toloai were released from the custody of the Honolulu ...

Eighth Circuit: Forfeited Claim of Miscalculated Criminal History Score Is Reviewable Under Plain Error Standard

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that the forfeited claim of a miscalculated criminal-history score is reviewable for plain error.

Barthman pleaded guilty to one count of child pornography involving a prepubescent minor, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a)(4)(B), (b)(2). He was ...

Hawai’i Supreme Court Announces New Rule Requiring Tachibana Colloquy in All Trials

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Hawai’i announced a new rule beginning April 10, 2019, that all trial courts are required to conduct an on-the-record colloquy regarding the right to testify or to not testify when either right is waived to determine if the defendant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily ...

Missouri Supreme Court Issues Writ of Prohibition Prohibiting Circuit Court From Revoking Probation After Probation Term Had Already Expired

by Douglas Ankney

On December 11, 2014, the circuit court sentenced Travis Jones to 10 years in prison following his guilty plea to one count of felonious restraint. The circuit court suspended execution of that sentence and placed Jones on probation for five years. Beginning from January 2015 until his ...

11th Circuit Holds Conviction Under Georgia’s Aggravated Assault Statute Is Not a ‘Crime of Violence’ When Based Upon a Mens Rea of Recklessness

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that convictions under Georgia’s aggravated assault statute, O.C.G.A. § 16-5-21(a)(2), that are based upon simple assault, O.C.G.A. § 16-5-20(a)(2), are not crimes of violence for purposes of the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”). 18 U.S.C. § 924(e). ...

Attempted Felony-Murder Is Not a Cognizable Crime in West Virginia

by Douglas Ankney

Maurice Stephen Sanders and Deshaun Evans decided to rob drug dealer Josh Palmer. Both Sanders and Evans had guns. In the course of the robbery, a neighbor of Palmer—Christopher Greene—was pistol-whipped and robbed. Greene’s wife, Michelle, sustained a single gunshot wound. Fortunately, no one died. Sanders and ...

Washington Supreme Court Rules Attenuation Doctrine Inapplicable Where Police Illegally Seize Person Followed by Ferrier Warnings and Consent to Search, Evidence Must Be Suppressed

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Washington held that the federal attenuation doctrine is not incompatible with the exclusionary rule of article I, section 7 of the Washington State Constitution if the attenuation is narrowly applied only to instances “where unforeseeable circumstances genuinely sever the causal connection between official ...



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