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Criminal Legal News: March, 2021

Volume 4, Number 3

In this issue:

  1. Qualified Immunity - A Legal, Practical, and Moral Failure (p 1)
  2. Ninth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Suit Challenging Idaho’s Sex Offender Registration Law (p 21)
  3. Column: Raising Successful Federal Habeas Corpus Claims (p 22)
  4. Tenth Circuit Vacates Enhancement for Prior Crime of Violence Because it Wasn’t Independently Eligible to Receive Criminal History Points (p 23)
  5. California Court of Appeal: Trial Court Abused Discretion by Denying Romero Motion and Life Sentence for Attempted Robbery Is Cruel and Unusual Under State Constitution (p 24)
  6. Third Circuit Announces Prohibition Against Second Resentencing Under First Step Act Can Be Waived by Government (p 25)
  7. California Court of Appeal: Counsel Ineffective for Failure to Investigate Mental Health History (p 26)
  8. Seventh Circuit Joins Other Circuits Holding Any Crack Cocaine Offense Under § 841 Qualifies for First Step Act Relief (p 26)
  9. Michigan Supreme Court: Police Must Limit Search of Cellphone Data to Uncovering Evidence of the Criminal Activity Alleged in Warrant (p 28)
  10. Fifth Circuit: No Qualified Immunity When Police Fatally Beat Unresisting Man Suffering Mental Health Crisis (p 29)
  11. North Carolina Supreme Court: Superior Court Abused Discretion by Flatly Prohibiting Questions on Racial Bias During Voir Dire (p 30)
  12. Texas Court of Criminal Appeals: Witness Testifying Remotely Via Two-Way Video Without Sufficient Reason Violates Confrontation Clause (p 31)
  13. Fifth Circuit: District Court Cannot Delegate to Probation Officer Authority to Impose Inpatient Treatment (p 32)
  14. Kansas Supreme Court: Wrong Standard Used in Review of Plea Withdrawal Motion Requires Remand (p 32)
  15. Indiana Supreme Court: Speedy Trial Right Violated After 6.5 Years Without Retrial (p 33)
  16. Raid on Data Scientist’s Home Underscores Outdated Technology Laws and Unjustifiable Police Use of Force (p 34)
  17. Nevada Supreme Court: Defendant Has Right to Withdraw Plea Where He Wasn’t Informed of Range of Possible Punishments (p 34)
  18. Voters Speak: Dump Tough-On-Crime Prosecutors, Boost Police Oversight (p 35)
  19. Texas Supreme Court Announces Factual-Sufficiency Standard of Review in SVP Determinations (p 36)
  20. Ohio Supreme Court: ‘Avoid Impregnating a Woman’ as Probation Condition for Failing to Pay Child Support Unreasonable (p 36)
  21. California Court of Appeal: SB 136 Makes Plea Agreement Containing Prior Prison Enhancement Unenforceable (p 37)
  22. ACLU Spotlights FBI’s Encryption-Breaking Tool in Freedom of Information Suit (p 38)
  23. North Carolina Supreme Court: Testimony That Improperly Bolstered Victim’s Credibility Was Plain Error (p 38)
  24. Second Circuit Clarifies What Constitutes ‘Possession of a Dangerous Weapon’ and ‘Physical Restraint’ Under the Guidelines (p 39)
  25. Ohio Supreme Court: Jury Must Find Use of Force, Not Sentencing Court, for Mandatory Minimum Sentences (p 40)
  26. San Francisco Forensic Analyst’s Arrest on Drug Charges Exposes Flawed Lab (p 40)
  27. Montana Supreme Court: Five-Year Delay Violates Speedy Trial and Is Presumptively Prejudicial (p 41)
  28. SCOTUS: RFRA’s ‘Appropriate Damages’ Includes Monetary Awards (p 42)
  29. First Circuit Joins Sister Circuits Holding Hobbs Act Robbery Conspiracy not Crime of Violence for 924(c) (p 42)
  30. Fatal Shootings by Police Rarely Prosecuted (p 43)
  31. Misinformation and the Carceral State (p 44)
  32. Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Announces Blood Alcohol Test Results From Blood Drawn Under Court Order but Without Consent Is Inadmissible (p 46)
  33. A 22-Year-Long Path to Justice (p 46)
  34. Police Departments Buying Teslas (p 47)
  35. Mens Rea: Criminal Liability Should Equal Criminal Intent (p 48)
  36. First Circuit: Rehaif Error Rendered Guilty Plea Invalid (p 49)
  37. Walter Forbes of Michigan Exonerated After 37 Years in Prison (p 49)
  38. The Need for Legislation Governing Police Use of Robots (p 50)
  39. News in Brief (p 50)

Qualified Immunity - A Legal, Practical, and Moral Failure

Qualified immunity is a judicial doctrine that protects public officials from liability, even when they break the law. The doctrine has no valid legal basis, it regularly denies justice to victims whose rights have been violated, and it severely undermines official accountability, ...

Ninth Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Suit Challenging Idaho’s Sex Offender Registration Law

In July 1993, Idaho initially passed a ...

Column: Raising Successful Federal Habeas Corpus Claims

Tenth Circuit Vacates Enhancement for Prior Crime of Violence Because it Wasn’t Independently Eligible to Receive Criminal History Points

California Court of Appeal: Trial Court Abused Discretion by Denying Romero Motion and Life Sentence for Attempted Robbery Is Cruel and Unusual Under State Constitution

Third Circuit Announces Prohibition Against Second Resentencing Under First Step Act Can Be Waived by Government

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit handed down an opinion on December 21, 2020, holding that the prohibition against a subsequent resentencing in § 404(c) of the First Step Act can be waived by the Government. Therefore, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern ...

California Court of Appeal: Counsel Ineffective for Failure to Investigate Mental Health History

In October 2018, police responded to two elderly women, Rachel D. ...

Seventh Circuit Joins Other Circuits Holding Any Crack Cocaine Offense Under § 841 Qualifies for First Step Act Relief

Michigan Supreme Court: Police Must Limit Search of Cellphone Data to Uncovering Evidence of the Criminal Activity Alleged in Warrant

On August 6, 2016, Lisa Weber agreed to stay all night at ...

Fifth Circuit: No Qualified Immunity When Police Fatally Beat Unresisting Man Suffering Mental Health Crisis

North Carolina Supreme Court: Superior Court Abused Discretion by Flatly Prohibiting Questions on Racial Bias During Voir Dire

Police arrived at a parking garage in response to ...

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals: Witness Testifying Remotely Via Two-Way Video Without Sufficient Reason Violates Confrontation Clause

Haggard was tried on charges related to alleged ...

Fifth Circuit: District Court Cannot Delegate to Probation Officer Authority to Impose Inpatient Treatment

Abran Martinez tested positive for cocaine use while on supervised ...

Kansas Supreme Court: Wrong Standard Used in Review of Plea Withdrawal Motion Requires Remand

Indiana Supreme Court: Speedy Trial Right Violated After 6.5 Years Without Retrial

Stanley V. Watson was convicted by a jury in 2001 of dealing cocaine ...

Raid on Data Scientist’s Home Underscores Outdated Technology Laws and Unjustifiable Police Use of Force

According to reporting by ...

Nevada Supreme Court: Defendant Has Right to Withdraw Plea Where He Wasn’t Informed of Range of Possible Punishments

Voters Speak: Dump Tough-On-Crime Prosecutors, Boost Police Oversight

by Dale Chappell

Voters across the nation let their votes speak loud and clear on what they wanted this past Election Day: More reform-minded prosecutors and more oversight and accountability of the police.

In Los Angeles County, George Gascon beat Jackie Lacey for district attorney, after Lacey was criticized by ...

Texas Supreme Court Announces Factual-Sufficiency Standard of Review in SVP Determinations

In 2004, Jeffery Lee Stoddard pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. He was scheduled to be released on ...

Ohio Supreme Court: ‘Avoid Impregnating a Woman’ as Probation Condition for Failing to Pay Child Support Unreasonable

It was undisputed that London Chapman fathered 11 children ...

California Court of Appeal: SB 136 Makes Plea Agreement Containing Prior Prison Enhancement Unenforceable

Jeffrey Allan Joaquin was charged with: (I) premeditated attempted murder with an allegation that ...

ACLU Spotlights FBI’s Encryption-Breaking Tool in Freedom of Information Suit

North Carolina Supreme Court: Testimony That Improperly Bolstered Victim’s Credibility Was Plain Error

Fifteen-year-old Virginia (a pseudonym) testified that ...

Second Circuit Clarifies What Constitutes ‘Possession of a Dangerous Weapon’ and ‘Physical Restraint’ Under the Guidelines

The two issues ...

Ohio Supreme Court: Jury Must Find Use of Force, Not Sentencing Court, for Mandatory Minimum Sentences

San Francisco Forensic Analyst’s Arrest on Drug Charges Exposes Flawed Lab

This alleged misconduct was uncovered after the August 31, 2020, arrest of Volk for possession of methamphetamine ...

Montana Supreme Court: Five-Year Delay Violates Speedy Trial and Is Presumptively Prejudicial

In May 2012, Chambers was arrested and confined in Stillwater County for his role in a ...

SCOTUS: RFRA’s ‘Appropriate Damages’ Includes Monetary Awards

The case ...

First Circuit Joins Sister Circuits Holding Hobbs Act Robbery Conspiracy not Crime of Violence for 924(c)

Fatal Shootings by Police Rarely Prosecuted

Misinformation and the Carceral State

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Announces Blood Alcohol Test Results From Blood Drawn Under Court Order but Without Consent Is Inadmissible

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held that consent to testing and analysis is required for the results of a blood alcohol test to be admissible in an operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol (“OUI”) prosecution even when there was a court order for ...

A 22-Year-Long Path to Justice

Police Departments Buying Teslas

Climate change and pandemic budget-cuts have police departments considering ways to both save money and prepare for a green energy future. Replacing aging gasoline-fueled patrol cars with ...

Mens Rea: Criminal Liability Should Equal Criminal Intent

The principle that, to hold someone liable for committing a criminal act, requires that the person intended ...

First Circuit: Rehaif Error Rendered Guilty Plea Invalid

Walter Forbes of Michigan Exonerated After 37 Years in Prison

The Need for Legislation Governing Police Use of Robots

News in Brief

California: Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Deputy Sukhdeep Gill, 27, was arrested in January 2021 for faking his own shooting and alleging he’d been a victim in a drive-by shooting while on patrol, according to thefreethoughtproject.com. He was charged with felony vandalism and falsely reporting a crime, a misdemeanor. Gill ...

 

 

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