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Articles by Harold Hempstead

California Court of Appeal: ‘Actual Killer’ Under Felony-Murder Rule Means Person ‘Who Personally Killed the Victim”

by Harold Hempstead

The Court of Appeal of California, Third Appellate District, held that the term “actual killer” under the current felony-murder rule, as amended by Senate Bill No. 1437 (2017-2018 Reg. Sess.), means the person who personally committed the homicidal act.

On February 3, 2017, Jerry Vang got in ...

Nevada Supreme Court: Trial Court Erred in Denying Motion to Substitute Counsel Where Ample Evidence Showed Counsel Was Unprepared and Motion Timely

by Harold Hempstead

The Supreme Court of Nevada ruled that a trial court erred in denying defendant’s motion to substitute counsel where the record demonstrated defense counsel was unprepared for trial and motion was timely.

Dequincy Brass was charged with 22 crimes based on allegations that he kidnapped and sexually ...

Fifth Circuit: District Court Erred in Finding That a Fourth Amendment Stop Did Not Occur

by Harold Hempstead

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana erred in finding that a Fourth Amendment stop did not occur when “deputies flagged down [Neguel A.] Morris’s car, or when they ordered him to get ...

NYC: The First DNA Gun Crimes Unit in America

by Harold Hempstead

In the beginning of July 2022, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the City’s Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jason Graham announced at a press conference that NYC is opening the nation’s very first DNA “gun crimes unit at a public DNA crime laboratory.”

The two-and-a-half million ...

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Announces Challenge to Presumptively Vindictive Sentence Constitutes ‘Legality Challenge’ and Thus Cognizable Under PCRA

by Harold Hempstead

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that a vindictive sentencing claim pursuant to North Carolina v. Pearce, 395 U.S. 711 (1969), meets the definition of a legality challenge that is cognizable under the Post-Conviction Relief Act (“PCRA”), 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 9541-46.

In 2007, Mark Prinkey was ...

California Court of Appeal: Statute Allowing Noncitizens to Vacate Convictions Due to Failure to Understand Adverse Immigration Consequences Applies Retroactively to Convictions Resulting From Trials That Are Not Yet Final

by Harold Hempstead

The Court of Appeal of California, Third Appellate District, held that Assembly Bill No. 1259’s (2021-2022 Reg. Sess.) ameliorative changes to Penal Code § 1473.7 apply retroactively to defendants who were convicted by trial as well as by plea, whose cases are not yet final, and who ...

Chicago’s Traffic Camera Program: Racial and Income Disparities for Black and Hispanic Drivers

by Harold Hempstead

Chicago’s automated traffic enforcement camera program is one of the largest in America, with almost 300 locations around the city being monitored by cameras. The red-light camera program was introduced in 2003, by then-Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. His successor Rahm Emanuel expanded the program in 2013 to ...

SCOTUS Announces Government Must Prove Physicians in § 841 Prosecutions ‘Knowingly and Intentionally’ Exceeded Their Authorization to Prescribe Controlled Substances, Such as Opioids

by Harold Hempstead

The Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) held that 28 U.S.C. § 841’s “knowingly or intentionally” mens rea requirement applies to the “except as authorized” clause in criminal prosecutions against physicians, meaning that the Government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant-physician had the ...

Third Circuit Announces First Step Act Applies Retroactively to Defendant Whose Pre-Act Sentence Vacated After Act’s Enactment

by Harold Hempstead

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit joined the Fourth, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits regarding the retroactivity of the First Step Act of 2018 (“FSA”) in holding that defendants who have their sentences imposed prior to the enactment of the FSA and vacated after its ...

SCOTUS: § 1983 Claim Cannot Be Based on Violation of Miranda Because Not Tantamount to Violation of Fifth Amendment

by Harold Hempstead

The Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) held that a violation of the warnings provided for in Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), does not provide a basis for a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

In March 2014, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s ...



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