Sorry for the irregular posts. I’m in trial. Things should be back to normal next week. Read more »

SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS POLICE ENTRY INTO RESIDENCE FOR OFFICER SAFETY PURPOSES

Burbank Police received a call from Bellarmine-Jefferson High School reporting a rumor that a student, Vincent Huff, planned to bomb the school. Four officers arrived. They began an investigation. They learned that Huff had been absent from school for two days and that he was often subject to bullying. They decided to go to the Huff’s home and interview him. When they arrived and knocked on the door,neither Huff or his mother answered the door or the house phone. Eventually […] Read more »

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US

Today is the third anniversary of the date we published the first post on Taking the Fifth. In that time we have written 643 posts. This week we are in the top four percent of criminal law blogs on Justia and also in the top four percent of all blogs. We continue to try to keep people up to date on interesting stories in the field of criminal law and new changes in the law. We can be followed on […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT LIMITS SEX REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS

The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), became law July 27, 2006. It requires all sex offenders to register. As part of the registration they must provide their name, address, business address, and school status. Everyone who has been convicted of certain sex offenses must register, regardless of whether the conviction predated or post-dated SORNA’s passage. Those who are convicted after SORNA’s passage must register before getting out of custody. Those who are not given a jail sentence must […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT REJECTS WARRANTLESS GPS SEARCH

The Supreme Court, Monday, denied the government’s petition to reinstate the drug conviction of Antoine Jones after it was reversed by the DC Circuit. Jones was convicted after government agents attached a GPS monitor to the underside of the automobile that he drove for four weeks obtaining 2000 pages of data showing every place he went. While the decision was unanimous the court was divided as to the reason to deny the government’s petition. Five justices signed onto Justice Scalia’s […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT SAVES CLIENT ABANDONED BY ATTORNEYS

Cory R. Maples was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in Alabama. Alabama does not pay post conviction attorneys. It relies upon pro bono attorneys, generally from large firms out of state. Some defendants never get pro bono attorneys and therefore remain unrepresented. Maples was represented by two New York attorneys associates with the firm of Sullivan & Cromwell, Jaasai Munanka and Clara Ingen-Housz. Alabama law required that Munanka and Ingen-Housz have local counsel who is supposed to fully […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT REFUSES TO LIMIT THE USE OF IDENTIFICATION EVIDENCE

The Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a New Hampshire man despite an identification with limited reliability. Around 3 a.m. on August 15, 2008, Joffre Ullon called the Nashua, New Hampshire police to report that a man was checking out cars in the parking lot of his apartment house. One officer contacted Barion Perry who was in the parking lot with audio parts from a car stereo system. Another officer went into the apartment house and spoke with Ullon’s wife. […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT PLACES ADDITIONAL LIMITS ON HABEAS CORPUS

Last week the Supreme Court ruled on another case clarifying the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA). In Gonzalez v. Thaler The AEDPA requires that prior to appealing a denial of a petition for habeas corpus to the Circuit Court the petitioner get a certificate of appealability from either the District Court judge or a judge of the Circuit Court. The first question determined that the requirement that the COA indicate the requisite constitutional to be considered […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT REFUSES TO EXTEND BIVENS TO EIGHTH AMENDMENT VIOLATIONS IN PRIVATE PRISONS

In the 1971 landmark case, Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics the Supreme Court announced that citizens had the right to sue individual government agents in Federal Court for violations of their Fourth Amendment rights. In Carlson v. Green the Supreme Court extended the rights granted under Bivens to sue Federal custodial agents for violation of the Eighth Amendment right protecting inmates from deliberate indifference to their medical needs. This week the Supreme Court […] Read more »

NEW ORLEANS MURDER CONVICTION OVERTURNED FOR VIOLATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DISCOVERY

The Supreme Court, yesterday, reversed the murder conviction of Juan Smith for the failure of the government to comply with Brady v. Maryland. In Brady the Supreme Court held that prosecutors have a duty to provide the defense with all evidence that is both exculpatory and material. Several men broke into the New Orleans residence of Rebe Espadron in a home invasion robbery and killed five people. Smith was convicted on the basis of only one witness. Larry Boatner, one […] Read more »