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Tag Archives: Criminal Practice

Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Post-Arrest Silence – Four Mentions – Voluntary Manslaughter (access required)

State v. Williams Twelve hours after his arrest, defendant began saying his shooting victim had had a gun. The trial court allowed the state to comment on defendant’s initial post-arrest silence four times in violation of Doyle v. Ohio, 426 U.S. 610 (1976). Although defendant only objected the first two times, we find the state’s comments to be prejudicial because the state attempted to show that, if defendant acted in self-defense, he would have immediately explained this to the police. Because the state directly tied defendant’s silence to his claim of self-defense, the error cannot be harmless.

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Criminal Practice – Guilty Plea – Appeal Waiver – Sentencing (access required)

U.S. v. Davis A defendant who was incorrectly advised that he faced a 10-year maximum sentence on a firearm charge, instead of the correct 15-year mandatory minimum for a career offender, did not knowingly and intelligently waive his right to appeal in his plea agreement; the 4th Circuit declines to enforce the appeal waiver but nevertheless affirms the enhanced sentence.

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Criminal Practice – Civil Commitment – Overturned – Obscene Phone Calls & Threats – None Since 2003 (access required)

U.S. v. Francis A man with an extensive history of making obscene phone calls threatening women with sexual violence, but who has not made such a call since 2003, will not be civilly committed as a sexually dangerous individual under 18 U.S.C. § 4248; the 4th Circuit rejects the government’s claim that the district court made an “abstract determination” that the man was unlikely to commit new offenses of a sexually violent nature.

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Criminal Practice – Sentencing – Meth Manufacture – Conditions of Release – Access to Family Members (access required)

U.S. v. Worley The 4th Circuit affirms a 100-month prison sentence for a defendant convicted of methamphetamine manufacture and related crimes, but vacates certain special conditions of release restricting defendant’s access to family members, including his girlfriend and children, based on two 2000 state convictions for carnal knowledge of a child.

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Criminal Practice – Prisons & Jails – Possession of Contraband – Shank in Shoe – Sentencing – Career Offender – Violent Crime (access required)

U.S. v. Mobley An inmate convicted of possessing contraband, after he was discovered with a shank in his shoe, can be sentenced as a career offender because possession of the shank qualified as a crime of violence under the federal sentencing guidelines, the 4th Circuit says.

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