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Articles by Douglas Ankney

Delaware Supreme Court: ‘The Sixth Amendment Demands More Than the Presence the Morning of Trial of a Warm Body With a Law Degree’

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Delaware ruled that an attorney’s limited pretrial contact deprived a defendant of effective assistance of counsel.

Everett Urquhart was charged with numerous felonies, including first-degree robbery. A witness saw the vehicle that had been loaned to Urquhart fleeing the area at the time ...

Fourth Circuit Holds 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(B) is Unconstitutional

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, sitting en banc, held that the definition of a “crime of violence” in 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(3)(B)—commonly referred to as the “residual clause”—is  unconstitutional for vagueness.

Joseph Decore Simms pointed a gun at the manager of a ...

Fourth Circuit: District Court Must Provide Rationale When Denying Motion for § 3582(c)(2) Sentence Reduction

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that a district court must provide its rationale when denying a motion seeking a sentence reduction pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). 

In this case, the Court consolidated the appeals of Paulette Martin and Luis Felipe ...

Fourth Circuit: Unreasonable Post-Seizure Delay in Obtaining Warrant Requires Suppression of Evidence

by Douglas Ankney

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that a 31-day delay in obtaining a search warrant after seizing a defendant’s cellphone, without reasonable justification, violates the Fourth Amendment and requires suppression of the evidence obtained from the phone.

Samuel Pratt was suspected by the ...

Georgia Supreme Court Announces Statute Mandating Lifetime GPS Monitoring of ‘Sexually Dangerous Predator’ Even After Completion of Sentence Is Facially Unconstitutional

by Douglas Ankney

The Supreme Court of Georgia held 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.

In 2003, Joseph Park was convicted of numerous sexual offenses. ...

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. ...



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