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Articles by Matthew Clarke

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 commit ...

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.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The Court ...

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 ...

Eleventh Circuit Rules DEA’s Definition of Positional Isomer Does Not Apply to Substances on Temporary Schedule, Vacates Possession Conviction

by Matt Clarke 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that neither the definition of “positional isomer” set forth in 21 C.F.R. § 1300.0l(b) nor the specific inclusion of ethylone as a positional isomer of the temporary-scheduled substance butylone on the website of the Drug Enforcement ...

Shooting of Seven-Year-Old Girl in Houston Highlights Problems With Eyewitness Identification

by Matt Clarke

The fatal shooting of a 7-year-old black girl who was riding in a car on a Houston highway, along with her mother and three sisters, is a tragedy that starkly illustrates the problems with eyewitness identification — unreliability. 

Jazmine Barnes was struck by one of many ...

Kentucky Supreme Court Holds State Statute Defining Intellectual Disability as IQ of 70 or Lower Unconstitutional, Death Row Prisoner Entitled to Hearing

by Matt Clarke 

The Supreme Court of Kentucky held that a court erred when it denied a death-sentenced prisoner’s post-conviction motion alleging intellectual disability without a hearing based solely on the prisoner’s IQ exceeding 70. It held that prevailing medical standards should always take precedence in a court’s ...

Connecticut Supreme Court Announces Defense Counsel Has Duty to ‘Promptly’ Notify Defendant of Plea Offer, Failure to Notify Before Testifying Constitutes IAC

by Matt Clarke

The Supreme Court of Connecticut held that a criminal defense attorney was ineffective for waiting to convey to his client a plea-bargain offer until after it had been withdrawn two and a half days later.

Jennifer Helmedach was charged with felony murder and related crimes. She faced ...

NYPD’s Controversial Use of Mugshot Database Searches

by Matt Clarke 

The NYPD’s practice of using a crime victim or witness’ description of a perpetrator to generate a search of the department’s mugshot database, often generating hundreds of hits, has caused controversy and resulted in wrongful arrests. 

New York City resident St. Clair Steward, 43, ...



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