ELEVENTH CIRCUIT FINDS BATSON ERROR AND REMANDS MURDER CASE TO TRIAL COURT

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the death sentence conviction of Vernon Madison to the Alabama courts for a proper determination of his Batson objection. Madison who is African American has had three trials for the murder of a White police officer. The first trial was reversed for Batson error. In Batson v. Kentucky the Supreme Court set a three step procedure to deal with claims of using race as a determinate in jury selection. First the party making […] Read more »

FOURTH CIRCUIT UPHOLDS DENIAL OF QUALIFIED IMMUNITY

Officer Robert M. Bauer, a Fairfax County Virginia police officer, investigated a complaint that a vehicle later determined to belong to Dr. Rose Merchant had forced another car off the freeway and that Merchant’s vehicle had blue flashing lights. Bauer made plans to meet Merchant and her husband. It was determined that her husband had the car during the time in question but their was no proof the car had blue flashing lights or that such lights had at some […] Read more »

SUPREME COURT FINDS WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS TIMELY

Patrick Wood was convicted of murder. The Colorado Court of Appeals denied his appeal and the state Supreme Court refused to hear the matter. He filed a writ of Habeas Corpus in the Federal District Court. The District Court invited the state to argue the issue of timeliness of the writ. The State responded that it “[would] not challenge, but [is] not conceding, the timeliness of Wood’s habeas petition.” The District Court denied the appeal on its merits. He appealed […] Read more »

CALIFORNIA PUTS THE DEATH PENALTY ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT

California voters submitted over 800,000 signatures placing an initiative on the November ballot which if passed will abolish the death penalty in the state. If the initiative is approved in November California will join five other states which have abolished the death penalty in the last five years. But it will be the first state to abolish the death penalty through an initiative since Oregon voters abolished the death penalty in the 1960’s. Currently 17 states and the District of […] Read more »

DEATH PENALTY REVOKED UNDER NORTH CAROLINA’S RACIAL JUSTICE ACT

A North Carolina Judge revoked the death penalty for Marcus Reymond Robinson and sentenced him to life in prison without parole after finding that “race was a materially, practically and statistically significant factor in the decision to exercise preemptory challenges during jury selection by prosecutors ….” North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act provides for statistical evidence to be used to establish that “race was the basis for seeking or obtaining the death penalty in any case.” Under the law those on […] Read more »

SETTING THC LIMITS FOR DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MARIJUANA

There is an interesting article on FindLaw Blotter. Scientists are developing a roadside test, much like tests currently used to test for alcohol to determine if a driver is under the influence of marijuana. Some states have already set limits. Ohio and Nevada have set limits at 2 nanograms(ng) of THC per milliliter(mL) of blood. Pennsylvania’s limit is half of that, 1 ng/mL of blood. Washington residents are voting on a proposition that sets the limit at 5 ng/mL of […] Read more »

CONNECTICUT JOINS THE TREND TOWARDS THE ABOLITION OF THE DEATH PENALTY

The Connecticut House of Representatives has approved a a bill to abolish the death penalty. The bill was previously approved by the State Senate. Governor Daniel Malloy has promised to sign it. With Governor Malloy’s signature Connecticut will become the fifth state in the last five years to abolish the death penalty. Five states may not seem to be strong evidence that support for the death penalty is declining since the death penalty still exists in 33 states. However the […] Read more »

FOURTH CIRCUIT UPHOLDS TERRORIST ALLEGATION AGAINST ALI ASAD CHANDIA

Ali Asad Chandia was convicted of conspiring to provide, material support to terrorists and a foreign terrorist organization. He was convicted for providing support to Lashkar-e-Taiba (“LET”). It was alleged that he attended a LET training camp in Pakistan and that he provided support for Mohammad Ajmal Khan a LET leading during Khan’s trip to the United States. LET is a fundamentalist Muslim organization headquartered in Pakistan which among other goals works for an independent fundamentalist nation in Kashmir. It […] Read more »

SIXTH CIRCUIT UPHOLDS SEARCH WARRANT FOR COUNTERFEIT MONEY

Jesse Carney, Jr. plead guilty to possession of counterfeit bills and being a convicted felon in possession of a gun charges. While he plead guilty, he reserved the right to appeal the denial of his motion to suppress evidence found in his white SUV with the license plate number 871-JKC and his residence located at 4902 Saddlebrook Court. He alleged that the affidavit supporting the search warrant was not supported by probable cause. Furthermore he alleged the affidavit contained misstatements […] Read more »

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN CHARGED WITH SECOND DEGREE MURDER

Special Prosecutor Angela Corey charged George Zimmerman, Wednesday, with second degree murder in the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Second degree murder is probably the correct charge. It is certainly not first degree murder which requires premeditation and malice aforethought. While these terms may be somewhat vague they certainly do not describe the murder of Trayvon Martin which occurred on the spur of the moment without planning. The only other choice of a charge would be manslaughter. The basic difference between […] Read more »