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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Fifth Circuit Announces Louisiana Aggravated Assault With Firearm Still Not ‘Crime of Violence’ After 2012 Amendment for Purposes of Sentencing Guidelines

by Matt Clarke

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that a prior conviction for aggravated assault with a firearm under Louisiana state law, La. R.S. 14:37.4 is not categorically a “crime of violence” as defined by U.S. Sentencing Guidelines § 4B1.2(a) and therefore could not be ...

Washington Supreme Court Clarifies Burden of Production Standard for Entrapment to Be Entitled to Jury Instruction

by Matt Clarke

The Supreme Court of Washington held that a trial court erred when it refused to permit an attempted child rape defendant to introduce evidence of his lack of a criminal history to support his claim of lack of propensity to commit the crime and denied his requested ...

California Court of Appeal Announces Term ‘Actual Killer’ in Revised Felony-Murder Statute Refers to Person Who ‘Personally Killed’ Victim, Not Necessarily Same as Person Who ‘Caused’ Death, for Resentencing Purposes Under § 1170.95

by Matt Clarke

The Court of Appeal of California, Fourth Appellate District, held that the term “actual killer” as used in California Penal Code§ 189(e)(l) — as revised by Senate Bill 1437, which amended the felony-murder rule and natural and probable cause doctrine — means the person who “personally killed ...

Drug Detection Dogs Are Unreliable and Reflect the Vicious Heritage of Their Slave-Hunting Dog and Police-Dog Predecessors

by Matt Clarke
LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS OFTEN deploy trained dogs to detect drugs, but how accurate are the canine sniffs? Since the dog cannot testify, the courts have simply accepted that a certified drug dog is sufficient to provide probable cause for a search when the dog alerts its handlers, ...

California Supreme Court Announces Conspiracy to Commit Home Invasion Robbery Not Subject to Enhancement to Indeterminate Life Sentence Under Penal Code § 186.22(b)(4)

by Matt Clarke

The Supreme Court of California held that conspiracy to commit home invasion robbery is not subject to enhancement to an indeterminate life sentence under California Penal Code § 186.22(b)(4).

Police investigating the Norteño criminal street gang had wire taps and live surveillance in place as Pedro Lopez ...

Third Circuit: District Court’s Focus on Substance of Defendant’s Meritless Arguments in Denying Request to Represent Himself Resulted in Inadequate Inquiry Prior to Denial in Violation of Sixth Amendment

by Matt Clarke

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania erred when it denied a federal criminal defendant’s request to represent himself without first conducting an adequate inquiry.

Donte Taylor was serving parole after having been ...

California Court of Appeal: Trial Court Violated Humphrey by Setting High Bail Without Considering Financial Condition of Defendant or Nonfinancial Conditions of Release

by Matt Clarke

The Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, held the trial court erred by setting bail at an amount it knew the defendant was unable to post and failing to consider nonfinancial conditions of release for the purpose of pretrial detention in violation of In re ...

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Announces Overruled Motion for New Trial May Be Amended With Court’s Leave Within 30-Day Period After Sentenced Imposed

by Matt Clarke

The Court of Appeals of Texas held that a motion for a new trial that has been overruled by the trial court may be amended with leave of the court within the 30-day period provided for in Rule 21.4(b) of the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure for ...

Book Review: ‘The PLRA Handbook: Law and Practice Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act’ by John Boston

by Matt Clarke

Since being signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) has become the premiere obstacle to prisoners’ obtaining relief in federal courts. Touted by proponents as a solution to the fictitious “explosion” of frivolous prisoner litigation that was “swamping” the federal ...

Hawaii Supreme Court: Due Process Violation to Exclude Evidence of Victim’s BAC in Assault Case in Which Defendant Claims Self-Defense

by Matt Clarke

The Supreme Court of Hawaii held that a trial court erred by excluding evidence of the victim’s blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) in a first-degree assault case where the defendant claimed self-defense.

During a family gathering involving a day of drinking, Peter David and his cousin, Santhony Albert, ...



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