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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Sixth Circuit: Courts May Consider Nonretroactive Change in Law as One of Several Factors for Extraordinary and Compelling Circumstances for Compassionate Release

by Matt Clarke

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio erred when it failed to consider a change in sentencing law announced in United States v. Havis, 927 F.3d 382 (6th Cir. 2019) (“attempted” controlled ...

Connecticut Supreme Court: Trial Court Abused Discretion by Limiting Self-Represented Defendant’s Direct Examination Regarding Risk of Injury to a Child

by Matt Clarke

The Supreme Court of Connecticut held that a trial court erred when it limited the testimony of a self-represented defendant in a trial for injury to a child. The testimony at issue would have explained why the defendant felt it necessary to physically drag his daughter to ...

Colorado Supreme Court Announces Parents’ Income That’s Unavailable to Defendant Who Lives With Them Expense-Free Not Included in Indigency Determination for Court-Appointed Counsel

by Matt Clarke

In a case of first impression, the Supreme Court of Colorado announced that when calculating financial means to hire an attorney in determining whether a defendant is indigent and thus entitled to court-appointed counsel the parents’ income in a joint household is excluded from the indigency calculation ...

Ending Eyewitness Memory Contamination

Memory-Expert Psychologists Recommend Stopping All In-Court Identification and Repeated Lineups

by Matt Clarke

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is a scientific concept in quantum physics explaining that the position and velocity of a sub-atomic particle can never be truly known because the very act of measuring those quantities changes them. Now ...

Vermont Supreme Court Announces Rule 12.1 Doesn’t Require Notice of Diminished Capacity Defense When Expert Testimony Won’t Be Used

by Matt Clarke

The Supreme Court of Vermont held that a trial court erred when it prohibited a defendant from raising the defense of diminished capacity, without relying on any expert witnesses, because she failed to give notice of intent to use that defense. In refusing to consider a diminished ...

Ninth Circuit Announces Irizarry Didn’t Eliminate Wise Requirement That Sentencing Court Provide Notice of Special Conditions of Supervised Release Prior to Imposing Sentence

by Matt Clarke

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California erred in failing to provide advance notice of a special condition of supervised release that wasn’t listed in the mandatory or discretionary conditions in the Sentencing ...

Eighth Circuit: Inadmissible Hearsay Improperly Used to Revoke Supervised Release

by Matt Clarke 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held that the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri erroneously relied on inadmissible hearsay to revoke a federal defendant’s supervised release. The Court vacated the revocation of sentence and remanded for resentencing on a closed ...

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Announces Framework for Determining Whether State of Mind Exception to Hearsay Rule Applies to Out-of-Court Statements, Dual-Purpose Statements Generally Inadmissible

by Matt Clarke

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that a note implicating the husband of a woman who was drowned the day after she wrote it was inadmissible hearsay, after it had announced a new analytical framework for determining whether the state of mind exception to the hearsay rule ...

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Announces Impacted Third Party Has Right to Appeal Motion Granting Postconviction DNA Testing

by Matt Clarke

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that a third party who is ordered to provide biological materials pursuant to G. L. c. 278A has a right to appeal such order even where the party hasn’t intervened in the case.

After an evening of drinking at his ...

Fifth Circuit: Texas Police Get Qualified Immunity for Knowingly Using Taser to Ignite Gasoline-Soaked, Suicidal Man, Killing Him and Destroying Family’s House

by Matt Clarke

On June 25, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit refused to re-visit its decision that Texas police officers who used a Taser on a suicidal man who had drenched himself in gasoline knowing it could ignite him were entitled to qualified immunity. Ramirez ...



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