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Articles by Matthew Clarke

Eleventh Circuit: Time Served Adjustment Is Mandatory Under Sentencing Guidelines Even After Booker

Christopher Henry pleaded guilty in Alabama state court to stealing eight firearms during a business burglary. Because of his prior convictions – one for assault and 10 for burglary – he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Two years later, Henry pleaded guilty in federal court to being a felon in possession of a firearm – based on his theft of the firearms. His presentencing investigation report showed a Guidelines range of 130 to 162 months but was reduced to the statutory maximum for his crime, 120 months. The court sentenced him to 108 months. 

Henry requested a downward adjustment of his sentence for the 24 months he had already served on the state burglary conviction pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 5Gl.3(b)(l). Citing his lengthy criminal ...

Michigan Supreme Court: Probation Compliance Check During Unlawfully Extended Probation Was Unauthorized Warrantless Search

The Supreme Court of Michigan ruled that a probation officer who found heroin during a compliance check after the probation had ended and then been unlawfully extended conducted an unauthorized warrantless search.

John D. Vandenpool was sentenced to two years of probation on June 24, 2013. On September 23, 2015, his probation officer petitioned the court to extend his probation until June 25, 2016, because he had been on “warrant status” during part of the probation and had not paid all of his fines and fees. The extension was granted.

On November 12, 2015, the probation officer applied for a warrant for Vanderpool because he had failed a drug screening. On December 3, 2015, he applied for another warrant because Vanderpool failed to show up for his weekly appointment at the probation office. The next day, the probation officer conducted a “compliance check” of Vanderpool’s home and found a small amount of heroin, which Vanderpool admitted was his. This led to Vanderpool’s prosecution for possession of under 25 grams of heroin.

Vanderpool filed a motion to suppress the heroin, which was denied. Vanderpool pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 18 months to eight years for possession ...

California Court of Appeal Holds Canizales Decision Limiting Kill Zone Theory Applies Retroactively

Juan Marshall Rayford and ...

Fourth Circuit: Sentencing Procedurally Unreasonable Where Special Condition Not Explained and Mitigation Argument Not Addressed

Second Circuit Announces Categorical Approach Applies to State Convictions for Sentencing Enhancement Determination Under 21 U.S.C. § 841(b)(1)(B)

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

On 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 ...

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 ...

 

 

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