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Articles by Mark Wilson

DNA Evidence: New Jersey Court Vacates Two 1996 Murder Convictions

by Mark Wilson

After spending 24 years behind bars for murder, Eric Kelley and Ralph Lee walked out of a New Jersey prison in November 2017. Weeks earlier, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Michael Portelli had vacated their convictions for the 1993 murder of a store clerk after new DNA ...

Oregon Appeals Court: Defense Counsel Constitutionally Inadequate in Sexual Abuse Case

by Mark Wilson

The Oregon Court of Appeals upheld a post-conviction court’s judgment that a criminal defendant was denied effective assistance of trial counsel when his lawyer failed to object to an expert witness vouching for the credibility of the alleged victim’s sexual abuse claim. As such, the lower court ...

Overworked Missouri Public Defenders Fear Suspensions and Firing

by Mark Wilson

"They just demonstrated they’re going to prosecute us, and the Supreme Court just demonstrated that they’re going to punish us,” said Michael Barrett, director of the Missouri public defender system, in response to the suspension of an overworked lawyer.

Karl William Hinkebein is a 21-year veteran of ...

Prosecutor’s “Animosity” Toward Defense Leads Oregon Appeals Court to Vacate Convictions

by Mark Wilson

The Oregon Court of Appeals concluded that a prosecutor’s criticism of defense counsel during closing argument “crossed the boundary of permissible argument and prejudiced defendant’s right to a fair trial.”

Doug Brunnemer was tried on several Oregon domestic violence offenses. The State’s case was based largely on ...

Fifth Circuit Vacates Sex Offender Supervised Release Conditions

by Mark Wilson

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated several sex offender supervised release conditions, finding that the lower court abused its discretion in imposing the conditions.

In 1998, Chanda Huor, 16, pleaded guilty to raping a four-year-old girl. He was sentenced to several years ...

Eighth Circuit Reverses Convictions Due to Constructive Amendment of Charges

by Mark Wilson

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed a man’s convictions for interfering with two forestry workers, ruling that the prosecution and court constructively amended his charges.

Thomas McDill owned property adjacent to the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota. On May 20, ...

Georgia Hearsay Admissible Under Co-Conspirator Exception

by Mark Wilson

The Georgia Supreme Court held that a criminal defendant was not denied effective assistance of trial counsel when his attorney failed to object to hearsay and a detective’s improper comment on his pre-trial silence. Rather, the hearsay was admissible under a co-conspirator exception to the hearsay rule, ...

Oregon Court Vacates Order Refusing to Seal Arrest Record

by Mark Wilson

Under ORS 137.225(l)(b), “at any time after ... a dismissal of the charges,” an “arrested person may apply” to the trial court “for an order setting aside the record of arrest.” The court is required to seal the records if it finds after a hearing that “the ...

Vermont Guilty Plea Requires Defendant to Personally Acknowledge Factual Basis for Each Element of the Offenses Charged

by Mark Wilson

The Vermont Supreme Court reversed a defendant’s conviction because she never personally admitted to a factual basis for her plea in violation of Vermont Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(f).

In 2013, Alexis Gabree was charged with two counts of grossly negligent operation of a vehicle, death resulting, ...

Eighth Circuit Upholds Warrantless Search of Cellphone Owned by Person on Supervised Release Due to Diminished Expectation of Privacy

by Mark Wilson

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld a lower court’s refusal to suppress evidence obtained during a warrantless cellphone search. The Court of Appeals found that an Iowa prisoner did not have an expectation of privacy in his cellphone while serving a supervised ...



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