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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Sixth Circuit Vacates Firearms Possession Conviction; Government Showed Jury Unauthenticated Prejudicial Facebook Video Not Admitted as Evidence

by Matt Clarke

In March 27, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit vacated a firearms possession conviction from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio because the Government showed the jury a social-media video of a masked person it alleged was the defendant ...

Racism and Wrongful Convictions

The meaning of “race” is not clearly defined. Further, perhaps due to ...

Complexity and Lack of Standardization Makes Crime Statistics Less Useful

A lack of standardization in crime statistics and the complexity of the causes of and cures for crime have made the use of crime statistics difficult.

For instance, whether using marijuana causes crime is an important question as more states consider legalizing recreational marijuana. Legalization proponents could ...

Chicago Police Department Ordered to Release 49 Years of Misconduct Files

On January 10, 2020, a judge in Cook County, Illinois, ordered the Chicago Police Department (“CPD”) to produce by the end of 2020 all misconduct files from 1967 to 2015. Judge Alison Conlon noted that the CPD had “willfully and intentionally failed to comply” with the Illinois ...

Seventh Circuit Reverses Convictions Under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c); Holds Underlying Offenses Do Not Qualify as ‘Crimes of Violence’

by Matt Clarke 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit reversed the convictions of two federal prisoners who had been found guilty of using and discharging firearms during a crime of violence in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c). In doing so, the Court held that the ...

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 the ...

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.

On ...

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.  ...



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