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Wrongful Convictions

Want to Help Fight Wrongful Convictions? Sit on a Jury!

Not a month goes by that I don’t receive a phone call from some family member, friend, or friend of a family member, or family member of a friend, asking “What’s the best way to get out of jury service?” With about the same or similar frequency I get asked “I see that you are […]

Categories
Wrongful Convictions

NY Ct.: We Have Broad Powers to Correct Systemic Wrongs

In powerful language that will likely find its way into many future briefs to overturn wrongful convictions, a NY appeals court has reminded everyone that, when it comes to the criminal justice system, courts should not place form over substance. The case is People v. Hargrove 2018 WL 1833080, and it was handed down on […]

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Constitutional Law Criminal Law

Secret Proceedings in Holtzclaw Case Raise Serious Issues

I was recently made aware of the case of Daniel Holtzclaw, an Oklahoma City police officer currently serving a 263-year sentence for 18 sex-related felonies, arising out of alleged crimes committed during traffic stops. Journalist Michelle Malkin invited me to join a panel discussion on wrongful convictions after the screening of her documentary Railroaded at […]

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Constitutional Law Criminal Law

Speaking to the Feds is Always Dangerous and to Be Avoided if Possible

Rumors are swirling that President Trump’s personal lawyers are suggesting to him that he not voluntarily meet with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller to answer questions in Mueller’s Russia probe. Of course they are and they well should tell him to not go gently into that good night. As any good criminal defense lawyer who has […]

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Constitutional Law Criminal Law Litigation

Client: “I’m Not Guilty!” – Lawyer: “Yes, You Are!” SCOTUS to Rule on Who Decides in Louisiana Death Penalty Case

Louisiana man Robert McCoy was accused of killing Christine Colston Young, Willie Young and Gregory Colston, who were the mother, stepfather and son of Mr. McCoy’s estranged wife. There was substantial evidence that he had done so. The actual shooting was caught on tape as the victim had called 911 upon the shooter’s arrival and […]

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Constitutional Law Criminal Law

Pennsylvania Federal Judge Rules 37 Years of Solitary Confinement are Unconstitutional; State Settles Lawsuit

Arthur Johnson was 18 years old when he was convicted of murder following a street fight that occurred in 1970. He was sentenced to life without parole and committed to the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. He was a troubled inmate in his early years of incarceration, taking part in two violent escape […]

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Constitutional Law Criminal Law

Judge Texts with Prosecutor Over Strategy on Trial: Same Old Song with New Twist

Suffolk County, NY judge Janine Barbera Dalli sent text messages to Suffolk County prosecutors this week, guiding them on how to charge and try a case against a defendant, in clear violation of judicial ethics that bar judges from communicating privately with one side in a case. To their credit, prosecutors immediately disclosed the texts […]

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Constitutional Law Criminal Law

Prosecutor Overreach and Actual Facts Led to Kate Steinle Case Acquittal

Some cases take on a bigger life. Some cases get caught up in a political firestorm. Sacco and Vanzetti, The Scopes trial, The Rosenbergs, Willie Horton, Rodney King to name a few. They end up being not about what actually happened but about some larger societal issue that is reflected in the case. Anarchists, Evolution, […]

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Constitutional Law Criminal Law

Judge falls asleep during murder trial. Illinois Appeals Ct says “So what?”

Illinois Judge Jeffrey O’Connor took a short nap during the presentation of evidence in the murder trial of Nicholas Sheley, charged with a notorious killing spree. At the 2014, trial, the lights were dimmed so the jury could watch security camera footage on a monitor. When the presentation ended, an assistant attorney general asked that […]