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Articles by Matthew Clarke

The Role of Police Misconduct in Wrongful Convictions

by Matt Clarke

Police misconduct takes on many forms, from unjustified violence, murder, torture, sexual assault, theft of evidence—usually cash or drugs—and extortion, to actively assisting or participating in organized crime. However, this article will focus on a narrow segment of the many-faceted police misconduct problem—misconduct that leads to wrongful ...

Sixth Circuit Holds Chalking Car Tires for Parking Enforcement Constitutes a Search Under Fourth Amendment

by Matt Clarke

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that chalking the tires of parked vehicles to gather information about whether they have committed a parking violation constitutes a search for Fourth Amendment purposes and that, at the pleading stage of the current case, neither ...

Unanimous Vermont Supreme Court Finds State Liable for Discriminatory Search and Seizure

by Matt Clarke

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of Vermont issued a 51-page unanimous decision holding that, under Article 11 of the Vermont Constitution, law enforcement is liable for discriminatory searches and seizures.

On a snowy day in 2014, Gregory W. Zullo, who is black, was pulled over by ...

Supreme Court Declines Deciding Whether Parking Violation Justifies Seizure of Vehicle

by Matt Clarke

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review a Seventh Circuit decision permitting the seizure of a parked vehicle for a parking violation, permitting evidence developed during the seizure to be used against one of the vehicle’s passengers. This leaves the Seventh Circuit decision in force ...

Kansas Supreme Court: Correcting Illegal Sentence After Fully Served Violates Prohibition Against Double Jeopardy

by Matt Clarke

In a case of first impression, the Supreme Court of Kansas held it was double jeopardy to correct the sentence of a man who was convicted of aggravated sexual battery—to impose the lifetime post-release supervision mandated by statute after his illegally-imposed sentence had been completely served.  ...

North Dakota Supreme Court Reinstates Postconviction Relief Application Dismissed Without Notice of Motion for Summary Disposition

by Matt Clarke  

The Supreme Court of North Dakota held that a district court erred when it dismissed a prisoner’s application for postconviction relief after the State filed its answer “but was not put on notice that the State had effectively motioned for summary disposition” of the ...

Eighth Circuit Vacates Supervised Release Conditions Prohibiting Alcohol Consumption and Setting Curfew Not Contained in Plea Agreement

by Matt Clarke

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed and vacated a federal prisoner’s special conditions of supervised release prohibiting the consumption of alcohol and setting a curfew.

Under a binding plea agreement, David Bell pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to ...

Police Not Required to Protect; Are They Required to Serve?

by Matt Clarke

At a recent hearing, former Broward County, Florida, Sheriff’s Deputy Scot Peterson claimed that he had no legal duty to protect the children inside the Parkland high school he was assigned to while Nikolas Cruz committed mass murder. 

Broward County Circuit Judge Patti Englander Henning disagreed ...

D.C. Circuit Holds Attempted Drug Offenses Do Not Count Toward Career Criminal Designation

by Matt Clarke

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that prior convictions for attempted distribution of, and attempted possession with intent to distribute drugs, could not be used to render a criminal defendant a career offender under § 4Bl.l(a) of the U ...

Can Criminal Records Ever Truly Be Expunged in the Internet Era?

by Matt Clarke 

Expunction of criminal records is a traditional method of protecting those falsely arrested, falsely convicted, or deemed deserving of a second chance after completing probation. But with the prevalence of mugshot sites and other Internet-based methods of disseminating public information, which are not subject to expunction ...


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