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Articles by Mark Wilson

Missouri Supreme Court Holds Probation Revocation for Nonpayment of Court Costs Unconstitutional

by Mark Wilson

The Missouri Supreme Court sitting en banc ruled that a sentencing court improperly revoked a defendant’s probation for failing to pay court costs without first inquiring into the reasons for his failure to pay.

On July 31, 2008, William Fleming pleaded guilty to two counts of domestic ...

Seventh Circuit Vacates Death Sentence Because Stun Belt Worn by Defendant Contaminated Penalty Phase

by Mark Wilson

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit vacated a death sentence, finding that requiring the defendant to wear a stun belt at trial contaminated the penalty phase.

In March 1996, John M. Stephenson was charged with murdering three people in Indiana. The case eventually ...

California SVP Determination Based on Hearsay Evidence Reversed

by Mark Wilson

The Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District reversed a Sexually Violent Predator (“SVP”) adjudication, finding that the State’s expert witnesses improperly testified about inadmissible hearsay evidence in support of their conclusion that the SVP statutory criteria were satisfied.

On May 12, 2009, California prosecutors filed ...

Eighth Circuit: Warrantless Seizure of Handgun Not Permitted under Plain View Doctrine

by Mark Wilson

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that the warrantless seizure of a handgun did not fall within the Plain View exception and was thus an illegal seizure.

Looking for a person of interest, undercover Independence, Missouri police officer Loran Freeman entered Freaks ...

Oregon Supreme Court Rules No Vindictiveness in Resentencing Where Longer Term for Specific Conviction but Overall Multi-Conviction Sentence Shorter

by Mark Wilson

The en banc Oregon Supreme Court ruled that the “presumption of vindictiveness” is not triggered by an increased sentence on a single count when the aggregate sentence length decreases on resentencing.

Roger Robert Febuary was convicted of five crimes for giving alcohol to a minor and sexually ...

Seventh Circuit: Violent Cop’s Below-Guideline Sentence Not Justified, Again

by Mark Wilson

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held for a second time that a lower court improperly failed to explain its rationale for sentencing a violent police officer significantly below the applicable guideline range.

Terry Joe Smith was a police officer with Indiana’s Putnam ...

Unloaded Firearm in Zipped Case Is Not “Deadly Weapon” under Oregon’s First-Degree Burglary Statute

by Mark Wilson

The Oregon Court of Appeals held that an unloaded firearm in a zipped carry case is not a “deadly weapon” for purposes of Oregon’s burglary in the first-degree statute.

Michael Norwood was charged with burglary in the first degree, among other offenses. The burglary charge alleged that ...

Ninth Circuit Concludes Mandatory Supervision Akin to Parole for Fourth Amendment Analysis

by Mark Wilson

In 2014, Steven Cervantes pleaded guilty to California counterfeiting and drug felonies. He was sentenced to three years in jail. The sentencing court then divided the sentence into two years of imprisonment followed by one year of mandatory supervision. As part of his plea agreement, Cervantes agreed ...

Oregon Enacts Law Requiring Grand Jury Testimony to Be Recorded—Finally!

by Mark Wilson

"Recording grand juries will have a chilling effect on justice,” Clatsop County District Attorney Joshua Marquis inanely protested. “Why ‘fix’ a system that isn’t broken,” said the fox from deep inside the hen house!

Oregon law allows felony charges to be brought against criminal defendants by grand ...

Kentucky Court Rules Death Penalty Statute Applied to Defendant under 21 Years Old Unconstitutional

by Mark Wilson

On August 1, 2017, a Kentucky trial court judge declared the state’s death penalty statute unconstitutional when applied to defendants who were younger than 21 years of age at the time they committed the crime.

In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Roper v. ...



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