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Federal Prison Handbook

Articles by Matthew Clarke

Ninth Circuit Grants Habeas for IAC of Resentencing Counsel Who Failed to Challenge Sole Aggravating Factor or Investigate Mitigating Circumstances

by Matt Clarke

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered the granting of habeas relief to an Arizona death row prisoner based on ineffective assistance of counsel (“IAC”) at resentencing.

Michael Ray White was manipulated by a woman he was having an affair with into shooting her ...

Kansas Supreme Court Holds Travel Plan Questions Unconstitutionally Extended Traffic Stop

by Matt Clarke

The Supreme Court of Kansas held that a police officer unconstitutionally extended the traffic stop he had made for following too closely when he asked questions about the driver’s travel plans for four-and-a-half minutes before requesting warrant information and criminal history checks. This required the suppression of ...

Ninth Circuit Grants Habeas for Appellate Lawyer’s Failure to Raise Denial of Self-Representation Claim

by Matt Clarke

On July 6, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a federal court’s denial of a California state prisoner’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus after determining that appellate counsel failed to raise a viable claim under Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. ...

First Circuit Vacates Supervised Release Condition Effectively Prohibiting Contact with His Minor Children

by Matt Clarke

On June 20, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that a condition of supervised release prohibiting contact with minors without pre-approval from a probation officer in a plea-bargained possession of child pornography case was clear error and a miscarriage of justice as ...

Do Las Vegas Prosecutors Routinely Ignore Discovery Disclosure Requirements?

by Matt Clarke

Attorneys for the Office of the Clark County (Nevada) Public Defender say prosecutors routinely violate state and federal laws governing the sharing of information known as “discovery.” They claim the situation is so grave that they have started tracking instances of prosecutorial discovery abuse. Sometimes the information ...

From the Big Box to the Big House: Walmart Helps Tennessee Prosecutors Felonize Shoplifting

by Matt Clarke

Across the country, retailers’ associations are lobbying legislatures to stiffen the punishment for retail theft, allegedly to prevent “organized retail crime,” a fuzzy term often used to describe repeated shoplifting. In Tennessee, Walmart and local prosecutors have taken advantage of a broadly worded burglary statute to felonize ...

Many Sheriffs Tempted by Lack of Oversight or Fiscal Accountability

by Matt Clarke

It is a perfect storm of temptation. Many sheriffs in America have little oversight, independent sources of revenue with little fiscal accountability, low salaries, and a lot of power. This leads some of them to pocket funds intended for other purposes.

Some Alabama sheriffs have become examples ...

Plainclothes Officers, 6 percent of NYC Police Force, Involved in 31 percent of Fatal Police Shootings

by Matt Clarke

Recently published information shows that plainclothes officers, who make up about 6 percent of the New York Police Department (“NYPD”), are involved in 31 percent of New York City’s fatal police shootings. This has led critics to question the behavior of NYPD’s plainclothes officers, who often act ...

Texas Courts Rubber Stamp Post-Conviction Fact Findings in Death Penalty Cases, Study Says

by Matt Clarke

A study by researchers from the University of Texas School of Law Capital Punishment Center published in the Houston Law Review found that in 96 percent of post-conviction proceedings in cases where the defendant received the death penalty, Harris County judges adopted the prosecutors’ proposed findings of ...

Hawaii Supreme Court Vacates Conviction Due to Prosecutor’s Bogus Argument Attacking Defense Counsel

by Matt Clarke

On May 21, 2018, the Supreme Court of Hawaii held that a prosecutor’s improper closing argument stating that defense counsel tried to get the complaining witness to commit perjury required that a conviction be vacated.

A jury convicted Brian Underwood of second-degree unlawful imprisonment and abuse of ...



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