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Prisoner Education Guide

Criminal Legal News: January, 2018

Issue PDF
Volume 1, Number 2

In this issue:

  1. U.S. Supreme Court Decision Temporarily Throws Florida’s Death Machine Into Disarray and Prompts Change to State’s Death Penalty (p 9)
  2. From the Editor (p 10)
  3. Ninth Circuit: Discovery Rule Applies to Judicial Deception Claims (p 10)
  4. Ninth Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment on Unreasonable Seizure Claim (p 11)
  5. Supreme Court Holds Texas May Not Use Outdated Standards to Determine Intellectual Disability in Death Penalty Cases (p 12)
  6. New York City Quietly Assembling Massive Unregulated DNA Database (p 13)
  7. U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Habeas Relief Citing AEDPA Deference (p 14)
  8. Texas Attorney General Rules Civilly Committed Sex Offenders Entitled to Vote by Mail Ballot (p 15)
  9. Tennessee Supreme Court Clarifies Split Confinement Sentence Procedures (p 16)
  10. Sentence Vacated Due to Improper Enhancement Under Sentencing Guidelines (p 16)
  11. Idaho Supreme Court: Officer Must Intend to Arrest Before Conducting a Search Incident to Arrest (p 17)
  12. DOJ Ends Unconstitutional Investigative Holds by Louisiana Police (p 18)
  13. In Case of First Impression, Louisiana Supreme Court Holds Public Records Restriction Inapplicable to Defense Attorney’s Request for Client’s Files and Awards Fees (p 18)
  14. New York Becomes First State to Require Trial Judges to Remind Prosecutors of Their Brady Obligations During All Criminal Trials (p 19)
  15. Oregon Supreme Court Announces Default Rule When Plea Agreement Silent About Reprosecution Upon Subsequent Death of Victim (p 20)
  16. Baltimore Police Department’s Misconduct Scandals Result in Hundreds of Dismissals and Indictment of Eight Officers (p 21)
  17. Idaho Supreme Court Reinstates Class Action Against the State Alleging Inadequate Public Defense System (p 22)
  18. Suffolk County District Attorney and Aide Indicted for Beating and Coverup (p 22)
  19. New California Law Safeguards Minors’ Rights When in Police Custody (p 25)
  20. What Do You Get for Kicking Handcuffed Suspects? Promoted and $130,000 Annual Pension for Life (p 26)
  21. $450,000 Settlement to Whistleblower in Case of Framing (p 26)
  22. Georgia Supreme Court Grants New Trial After Trial Transcript Lost (p 27)
  23. Trump Administration Kills Obama’s Forensic Evidence Reliability Reform Efforts (p 28)
  24. Mississippi Supreme Court Upholds Lawyer’s Contempt Sanction for “Improper” Argument (p 29)
  25. Ninth Circuit Suppresses Gang Affiliation Evidence Obtained Without Miranda Warnings (p 30)
  26. Seventh Circuit: No Federal Court Jurisdiction to Resolve State Executive and Legislative Branch Disputes (p 30)
  27. Prosecutors in New Orleans Prosecute Public Defenders for Doing Their Job (p 30)
  28. Criminal Cops: Tracking Crimes Committed by Police Officers (p 33)
  29. Eighth Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment on Ferguson Protestor’s Excessive Force Claim (p 34)
  30. News in Brief (p 35)

U.S. Supreme Court Decision Temporarily Throws Florida’s Death Machine Into Disarray and Prompts Change to State’s Death Penalty

by David M. Reutter

Following the 2016 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Hurst v. Florida, 136 S. Ct. 616 (2016), which concluded that Florida’s death penalty sentencing scheme violated the Sixth Amendment and was thus unconstitutional, the state’s death machine came to a screeching halt and was in complete ...

From the Editor

by Richard Resch

Happy New Year and welcome to Criminal Legal News (“CLN”). If you’re reading this, you’re likely familiar with the Human Rights Defense Center (“HRDC”) and its companion publication, Prison Legal News (“PLN”). We’ve sent the first issue of CLN to all current PLN ...

Ninth Circuit: Discovery Rule Applies to Judicial Deception Claims

by Mark Wilson

Applying the Discovery Rule in determining when the applicable two-year statute of limitations (“SOL”) begins to run on “judicial deception” claims, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a claim brought three-and-a-half years after a search warrant was executed was not time-barred ...

Ninth Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment on Unreasonable Seizure Claim

by Mark Wilson

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the dismissal of unreasonable seizure and First Amendment violation claims. The Court held that there were disputed issues of material fact on whether police had probable cause to cite plaintiff for obstructing a buffalo herding operation ...

Supreme Court Holds Texas May Not Use Outdated Standards to Determine Intellectual Disability in Death Penalty Cases

by Matt Clarke

In a 5-3 opinion handed down on March 28, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (“CCA”) violated the Eighth Amendment and Supreme Court precedent when it relied upon its own previous opinion and superseded medical standards to conclude that ...

New York City Quietly Assembling Massive Unregulated DNA Database

by Derek Gilna

Add overly aggressive collection of DNA samples from often unwitting individuals to the list of questionable police tactics in New York City with which criminal defense attorneys and the general public must now deal. Operating under the radar until recently, the city has been quietly building “a ...

U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Habeas Relief Citing AEDPA Deference

by Brandon Sample, Esq.

If you are a state prisoner hoping to find a sympathetic ear for a federal habeas petition, two recent decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court illustrate the challenges one must overcome.

Kernan v. Cuero

Michael Cuero sought federal habeas release, arguing that the state breached ...

Texas Attorney General Rules Civilly Committed Sex Offenders Entitled to Vote by Mail Ballot

by Matt Clarke

In May 2017, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton ruled that civilly committed sex offenders have a right to vote by mail ballot. The ruling puts an end to the confusion surrounding the issue, which resulted in all the mail ballots belonging to residents of the Texas Civil ...

Tennessee Supreme Court Clarifies Split Confinement Sentence Procedures

by David Reutter

In response to a federal district court’scertified questions of law, the Tennessee Supreme Court held that when imposing split confinement sentences under the Tennessee Sentencing Reform Act of 1989, a trial judge is authorized to fix a percentage that the defendant must serve in actual confinement before ...

Sentence Vacated Due to Improper Enhancement Under Sentencing Guidelines

by Christopher Zoukis

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated an improperly enhanced sentence of 46 months for illegal reentry after deportation.

In 2009, Roman Bartolo Genao, a national of the Dominican Republic, was convicted in New York state court of first-degree burglary and first-degree robbery ...

Idaho Supreme Court: Officer Must Intend to Arrest Before Conducting a Search Incident to Arrest

by Christopher Zoukis

The Idaho Supreme Court handed down an opinion on September 22, 2017 that clarified an important exception to the requirement that police officers obtain a warrant prior to conducting a search. The exception known as “search incident to arrest” allows police to conduct a warrantless search of ...

DOJ Ends Unconstitutional Investigative Holds by Louisiana Police

by David M. Reutter

The U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) determined that two Louisiana police agencies utilized unconstitutional “investigative holds.” The practice was used by the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office (“EPSO”) and the Ville Platte Police Department (“VPPD”) to arrest and hold people in jail without obtaining a ...

In Case of First Impression, Louisiana Supreme Court Holds Public Records Restriction Inapplicable to Defense Attorney’s Request for Client’s Files and Awards Fees

by Mark Wilson

The Louisiana Supreme Court held that an attorney representing an incarcerated felon is not subject to La. R.S. § 44:31.1 when making a public records request to get information in connection with a potential post-conviction relief application.

La. R.S. §  44:31.1 ...

New York Becomes First State to Require Trial Judges to Remind Prosecutors of Their Brady Obligations During All Criminal Trials

by Christopher Zoukis

New York Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks issued a bold (and much needed) new rule on November 7, 2017. Intended to remind prosecutors of their duty to disclose exculpatory material to the defense, the rule requires that all trial judges in the state issue a “Brady” ...

Oregon Supreme Court Announces Default Rule When Plea Agreement Silent About Reprosecution Upon Subsequent Death of Victim

by Mark Wilson

The Oregon Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of murder charges against a defendant who pleaded guilty under a plea agreement to assaulting a victim who subsequently died.

In August 2013, Trevin Michael King, 17, and an adult co-defendant assaulted a man and stole his bicycle. The victim ...

Baltimore Police Department’s Misconduct Scandals Result in Hundreds of Dismissals and Indictment of Eight Officers

by Derek Gilna

A federal racketeering investigation into Baltimore Police Department misconduct has resulted in the dismissal of approximately 300 pending prosecutions and investigations into an additional 850, including some that were already closed. News reports revealed that body camera footage from three separate incidents during the summer of 2017 ...

Idaho Supreme Court Reinstates Class Action Against the State Alleging Inadequate Public Defense System

by Mark Wilson

On April 28, 2017, the Idaho Supreme Court reversed the dismissal of a class action lawsuit alleging that Idaho’s public defense system violates federal and state constitutional standards. The Court held that claims against the State and the Idaho Public Defense Commission (“PDC”) were improperly dismissed but ...

Suffolk County District Attorney and Aide Indicted for Beating and Coverup

by Derek Gilna

Suffolk County, New York residents concerned about crime in their community apparently did not need to look any further than the activities of their own district attorney, Thomas Spota, 76. He and his aide, Christopher McPartland, were federally indicted in October of 2017 for helping to cover ...

New California Law Safeguards Minors’ Rights When in Police Custody

On October 11, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law much-needed protection for minors who are targeted by police for questioning. Senate Bill 395 requires that minors 15 years of age or younger consult with a lawyer in person, by telephone, or by video conference before a custodial interrogation ...

What Do You Get for Kicking Handcuffed Suspects? Promoted and $130,000 Annual Pension for Life

by Derek Gilna

In most jobs, if you kick a defenseless person multiple times and attempt to cover it up, you will not only get fired, but will probably also get arrested and sent to jail.  Not so in Hartford, Conn., where cops, Steven Barone and Christopher Mastroianni, kicked ...

$450,000 Settlement to Whistleblower in Case of Framing

by David Reutter

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled a one-legged woman exonerated of murder can sue a Kentucky State Police (“KSP”) detective whom the woman charged framed her. In connection with her case, a Louisville Metro Police Department (“LMPD”) detective who was integral in ...

Georgia Supreme Court Grants New Trial After Trial Transcript Lost

by Christopher Zoukis

The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously ruled on October 2, 2017 that a convicted murderer was entitled to a new trial because the original trial transcript was destroyed in a fire, and the State’s efforts to recreate it were wholly insufficient.

Craig Johnson was found guilty of malice ...

Trump Administration Kills Obama’s Forensic Evidence Reliability Reform Efforts

by Mark Wilson

Less than three months into the Trump administration, the President’s assault on science, truth, and all things Obama reached the criminal justice system. Under Trump’s watch, a commission working to improve the reliability of forensic evidence has been abolished.

In 2013, the Obama Administration created the National ...

Mississippi Supreme Court Upholds Lawyer’s Contempt Sanction for “Improper” Argument

by Mark Wilson

The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld contempt sanctions against a criminal defense attorney, finding that he prejudiced the jury against the judge and prosecutor when he insinuated that they were preventing him from telling the truth.

Adofo Minka represented William Wilson on firearms charges. The trial court interrupted ...

Ninth Circuit Suppresses Gang Affiliation Evidence Obtained Without Miranda Warnings

by Mark Wilson

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the suppression of evidence of gang affiliation obtained without Miranda warnings.

On July 4, 2012, Antonio Gilton was arrested for murder and invoked his right to counsel. He was taken to jail and locked in a ...

Seventh Circuit: No Federal Court Jurisdiction to Resolve State Executive and Legislative Branch Disputes

by Mark Wilson

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that federal courts lack jurisdiction to hear declaratory judgment actions filed by a city’s executive branch against its legislative branch. “State courts may have authority to resolve an intramural dispute,” the Court observed. “Otherwise it ...

Prosecutors in New Orleans Prosecute Public Defenders for Doing Their Job

by Matt Clarke

Where can you face criminal prosecution for doing your job? The answer is New Orleans if you work for the Orleans Public Defenders (“OPD”).

Prosecutors in New Orleans have been threatening to criminally charge the public defenders and investigators who conscientiously do their jobs, in a tactic ...

Criminal Cops: Tracking Crimes Committed by Police Officers

by Christopher Zoukis

Police officers are sworn to uphold the law. When the uniform goes on, they become arbiters and enforcers of right and wrong. But a new police crime database reveals an important and often overlooked aspect of the job: Police officers are people first, cops second. And people ...

Eighth Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment on Ferguson Protestor’s Excessive Force Claim

by Mark Wilson

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed summary judgment in favor of four police officers on an excessive force claim while arresting protestors of the Michael Brown police shooting death.

White Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson shot African-American teenager Michael Brown Jr. to ...

News in Brief

Arkansas: On October 16, 2017, former Gateway Police Chief and Benton County Constable Grant Hardin, 48, was sentenced to 30 years in prison after admitting to fatally shooting James Appleton in February. He pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in a plea agreement in which the prosecution reduced the charge from ...




 

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