FAILURE TO GRANT CONTINUANCE RESULTS IN REVERSAL OF CONVICTION

In a rare case the Ninth Circuit reversed a conviction for the judge’s refusal to grant a two day mid-trial continuance. By a two to one vote the court reversed the conviction of Garth Kloehn for tax evasion when the trial judge refused the defense’s request for a two day continuance so that the defendant could spend the time with his dying son. Kloehn was the sole defense witness. On the fifth day of his testimony he learned that his […] Read more »

SUICIDE BY COP IN SAN JOSE

A couple of days ago I wrote about a man who planned to randomly shoot people at the Super Bowl, knowing that the police would commit him. It is called “suicide by cop.” Here is another example. An unnamed man who lived in San Jose, California attempted to commit suicide with a nail gun. His estranged wife called the police. Three officers were sent to the residence. He refused to come out of the house or open the door. The […] Read more »

IOWA COURT DENIES SEARCH WARRANT BASED ON LEGAL PURCHASES OF PSEUDOEPHEDRINE

The Iowa Court of Appeals reversed a district court decision upholding a search at the residence of Pamela Robbins. Officer Bruce Rhoads of the Tama County Sheriff’s Department obtained a search warrant for Robbins residence and for the residence of Michael Watson. The search warrant was based upon Rhoads’ experience, Watson’s criminal history, Watson’s purchases of pseudoephedrine, Robbins’ purchases of pseudoephedrine, suspicious traffic near Watson’s house, and the presence of Robbins’ car parked at Watson’s house. Pseudoephedrine is a drug […] Read more »

TROY DAVIS FAILS TO PROVE INNOCENCE

Last year the Supreme Court, in a highly unusual move ordered the lower courts to hold a hearing to determine whether Troy Davis, a convicted murderer was actually innocent. While the Supreme Court often hears direct appeals and appeals involving writs of habeas corpus. these appeals generally involve procedural and legal matters. In the absence of a flawed procedural or legal matter it is generally assumed that the finding of a jury is sacrosanct. Pursuant to the Supreme Court’s order […] Read more »

CONVICTION OF JAIL GUARDS FOR CONSPIRING TO VIOLATE INMATE’S CIVIL RIGHTS UPHELD

Wesley Lanham and Shawn Freeman were corrections officers at the Grant County, Kentucky, Detention Center on February 14, 2003 when a deputy brought “J. S” into the jail on a traffic charge. “J. S.” was 18 years old, six foot tall and weighed 125 pounds. He has blond highlights in his hair and on that Valentines Day holiday he wore a bright colored shirt and underwear with red hearts. Sergeant Shawn Sydnor the supervising officer on duty at the jail […] Read more »

THREATENING COMMUNICATIONS STATUTE EXPLAINED

Kurt William Havelock had this plan. He planned to arrive at the Super Bowl in Glendale in 2008 and start shooting people. His goal was to commit “suicide by cop.” His first stop on Super Bowl Sunday was a post office near the stadium. From there he mailed six identical envelopes addressed to The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Phoenix New Times, the Associated Press; theshizz.org and azpunk.com. The last two being music related websites. The “media […] Read more »

THANK YOU MARLYSE

A belated thank you to Marlyse Hansemann of DomainDomino.com for updating WordPress to Version 3.0.1 last week. The academic in me is particularly glad that it has a plugin that allows me to use footnotes. I hope this doesn’t make it more difficult for you to read. Any comments as always are appreciated. Read more »

THE FOURTH AMENDMENT IN THE POST 9/11 PERIOD

Kathy Parker was flying from Philadelphia to North Carolina on business. She was flying out of Philadelphia International Airport. As she was going through the metal detectors a TSA agent selected her carry on baggage for an in depth inspection. Her personal items were spilled out on the inspection table for everyone to see. (The agent asked if the diet pills work?) Checks, in her purse, made out to her and her husband were inspected. The agent claimed that they […] Read more »

SEVENTH CIRCUIT REVERSES CONVICTION FOR VIOLATION OF THE RIGHT TO COUNSEL

Kerry L. Smith was indicted on marijuana related charges in April 2007. He retained John Rogers to represent him. Both sides dealt with voluminous amounts of discovery. Various motions were filed and superseding indictments were issued. Approximately a year into the case Rogers requested a competency evaluation for Smith. It was completed in June of 2008. No trial date was set. On August 25, 2008 Smith filed a motion asking to substitute in Beau Brindley as his attorney. On September […] Read more »

MICHELLE ALEXANDER ON THE INCARCERATION OF AFRICAN AMERICAN YOUTH

The statistics are shocking. Human Rights Watch reported in 2000 that in seven states 80 to 90 percent of those sent to prison for drug offenses were African American. In at least fifteen states African Americans were sent to prison from twenty to fifty-seven times as often as white men. In 2000 twenty-six times as many African Americans were sent to prison for drug offenses as in 1983. Likewise the number of Latinos sent to prison increased by 22 times […] Read more »