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Articles by Matthew Clarke

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 ...

The Real Minority Report Predictive Policing Algorithms Reflect Racial Bias Present in Corrupted Historic Databases

by Matt Clarke

In Steven Spielberg’s science fiction movie, Minority Report, police armed with nebulously sourced predictions of people who are supposedly going to commit murder before they can actually do so. Troublingly, only a few years after the film’s 2002 release, a real-world version of predictive policing was ...

California Supreme Court Announces Predicate Offenses for Gang Enhancement or Gang Participation Not Provable Using Expert Witness Testimony Without Personal Knowledge of Facts

by Matt Clarke

The Supreme Court of California held that, for charges of gang participation and gang enhancements under California Penal Code, § subdivisions (a)and (b), respectively, which require the State to prove that gang members had previously committed two or more enumerated offenses (predicate offenses), the State may not ...

SCOTUS Reinstates Death Sentence Reversed by Eleventh Circuit

by Matt Clarke

The Supreme Court of the United States reinstated the death sentence of an Alabama man who had been convicted of murder. The Eleventh Circuit had reversed, in part, the conviction based on the incorrect claim that Alabama had established a categorical rule requiring post-conviction habeas corpus applicants ...

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court: Withholding Exculpatory Statement Change by Key Witness Constitutes Brady Violation, Requiring New Trial

by Matt Clarke

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held that the prosecution in a first-degree murder (extreme atrocity or cruelty) trial failed to disclose material, exculpatory evidence that a key witness had changed her testimony to include visceral depictions of the victim’s dying last words and the defendant’s reaction, ...

North Dakota Supreme Court Holds Attempted Knowing Murder Is Non-Cognizable

by Matt Clarke

The Supreme Court of North Dakota reversed the denial of a motion for postconviction relief challenging a conviction for attempted knowing murder after holding it was a non-cognizable offense.

Lorenzo Pemberton was staying at a woman’s home. During an argument, she called 911. He knocked the phone ...

Mississippi Supreme Court: Failure to Timely File Motion to Suppress Confession Obtained as Result of Police Threats and Promises Constitutes Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

by Matt Clarke

The Supreme Court of Mississippi held that a defendant’s trial counsel was ineffective for failing to timely object to the introduction of a video recording of her client’s confession, which showed police officers making threats and promises to the defendant in order to elicit the confession.

A ...



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