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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Pennsylvania Police Motor Vehicle Recordings Not Exempt From Disclosure

by Matt Clarke

On September 14, 2016, a Pennsylvania appellate court held that video and audio recordings made by police vehicles were not automatically exempt from disclosure under the Right-to-Know Law, 65 P.S. §67.101-76.3104 (RTKL) or the Criminal History Record Information Act, P.S. §§9101-9183 (CHRIA).

Michelle Grove made a request ...

Faulty Forensics and Lab Scandals Highlight Urgent Need for Enforceable Scientific Standards

by Matt Clarke

A 2009 report by the National Academy of Sciences (“NAS”) criticizing the varying quality of crime labs throughout the nation and questioning the scientific basis of several forensic methods that were routinely used to convict criminal defendants led to the hope that enforceable standards would soon be ...

Prosecutors in New Orleans Prosecute Public Defenders for Doing Their Job

by Matt Clarke

Where can you face criminal prosecution for doing your job? The answer is New Orleans if you work for the Orleans Public Defenders (“OPD”).

Prosecutors in New Orleans have been threatening to criminally charge the public defenders and investigators who conscientiously do their jobs, in a tactic ...

Texas Attorney General Rules Civilly Committed Sex Offenders Entitled to Vote by Mail Ballot

by Matt Clarke

In May 2017, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton ruled that civilly committed sex offenders have a right to vote by mail ballot. The ruling puts an end to the confusion surrounding the issue, which resulted in all the mail ballots belonging to residents of the Texas Civil ...

Supreme Court Holds Texas May Not Use Outdated Standards to Determine Intellectual Disability in Death Penalty Cases

by Matt Clarke

In a 5-3 opinion handed down on March 28, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (“CCA”) violated the Eighth Amendment and Supreme Court precedent when it relied upon its own previous opinion and superseded medical standards to conclude that a ...

Texas Court of Appeals Upholds Dismissal of Suit Against Parole Board

by Matt Clarke

On February 23, 2016, a Texas court of appeals upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit brought against a parole board member and two parole commissioners.

John Henry Boykin, a Texas state prisoner, filed a state lawsuit against parole board member Cynthia Tauss and parole commissioners Lynn Ruzika ...

California Court of Appeals Vacates Parole Denial for Claiming Innocence

by Matt Clarke

On September 1, 2015, a California court of appeal vacated the decision of the Board of Parole Hearings to deny parole to a prisoner who had been convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison because the decision was impermissibly based upon the prisoner’s claim ...

North Carolina Supreme Court Upholds Social Media Ban for Registered Sex Offenders

by Matt Clarke

In an opinion handed down on November 6, 2015, the Supreme Court of North Carolina upheld a state law banning registered sex offenders from accessing commercial social media websites on the Internet.

Lester Gerard Packingham, a registered sex offender (RSO), was convicted of accessing commercial social media ...

Despite Opposition, California Governor Moves to Reduce Prison Terms

by Matt Clarke

When California Governor Jerry Brown announced his intention of getting a voter initiative to reduce the length of time nonviolent prisoners would spend in prison onto the ballot, it engendered opposition ... and a sense of irony. Brown was the governor who ushered in California's "tough-on-crime" era ...

Fifth Circuit Dismisses Interlocutory Appeal of Roadside Body-Cavity Search Suit

by Matt Clarke

On January 12, 2017, the Fifth Circuit court of appeals dismissed the interlocutory appeal of a deputy sheriff who was a bystander when a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) officer conducted a roadside body-cavity search of two women.

DPS Officer Nathaniel Turner stopped Brandy Hamilton and ...



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