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Mar 24, 2023

Maine’s chief justice: Continuing backlog ‘hurts my heart’

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine’s backlog of criminal court cases remains about 60% to 65% higher than pre-pandemic levels, a stubborn figure the state has been unable to reduce over two years, the state’s chief justice said Thursday. The primary cause is the inability to hold jury trials early in the pandemic, but other factors […]

Mar 12, 2019

Criminal Practice – Voluntary Manslaughter – Sudden Heat of Passion – Fear

Although there was evidence that defendant was sufficiently provoked when her husband stabbed her, defendant’s testimony – that she shot her husband “out of reaction … because I was scared” – did not show a sudden heat of passion. Instead, the only evidence in the record is that defendant deliberately and intentionally shot her husband […]

Jun 26, 2018

South Carolina man gets life in prison for killing, kidnap

BEAUFORT (AP) A South Carolina man has been sentenced to life in prison in the shooting death of a man and the kidnapping of the victim’s friend. The Associated Press reported Tyrone Anthony Wallace Jr. of St. Helena Island was sentenced June 22 in Beaufort. Wallace was convicted in the 2015 death of Vernon Steve. Wallace […]

May 2, 2018

Crim Pro help needed

  The South Carolina Supreme Court highlighted the need to revamp the state’s outdated rules of criminal procedure in an opinion that has affirmed a defendant’s murder conviction for the second time. In revisiting State v. Michael Beaty Jr., the court held that Beaty’s due process rights were not violated when the trial judge refused […]

Sep 4, 2012

Criminal – Post-conviction relief – Probation revocation

Arrow Bonding v. Warren Holding: The post-conviction relief judge erred in finding petitioner was required to show there were appealable issues in order to support his allegation that he was denied his right to an appeal from the probation revocation. However, the error was harmless. There were no objections made at the probation revocation hearing. Accordingly, no issues are preserved f[...]

Aug 30, 2012

Criminal – Jury Instruction – Uncharged Crime

U.S. v. Whitfield The 4th Circuit vacates a conviction and mandatory life sentence for a codefendant in a botched bank robbery and mid-escape home intrusion, which ended in the death of an elderly woman who suffered a heart attack; the district court erred in instructing the jury on an offense not charged in the indictment.

Aug 30, 2012

Criminal – Drug trafficking –– Confrontation clause – Cross-examination of witnesses

State v. Gracely Preventing cross-examination questioning which would have examined the extent of witness bias and witnesses’ possible motivations for testifying against the accused violates the Confrontation Clause and is not harmless error.

Jul 13, 2012

Criminal – Mail Fraud – Phony Permit – Engineer – Client County

U.S. v. Wynn An engineer who mailed a client county a valid permit that had been cut off an old set of plans and attached to a new plan for a county airport runway extension committed mail and wire fraud, and the 4th Circuit rejects his appellate challenges to jury instructions and the restitution calculation of $118,000.

Mar 15, 2012

Criminal – Sentencing – ACCA – B&Es – Violent Felonies

U.S. v. Foster The 4th Circuit denies rehearing en banc in this case in which the panel majority held that a defendant’s prior convictions for breaking and entering “Corner Market” and the “Sunrise-Sunset Restaurant” under Virginia’s non-generic burglary statute qualify as violent felonies under the Armed Career Criminal Act, and remanded for resentencing.

Mar 15, 2012

Criminal – Supervised Release Hearing — Evidence – Hearsay – Crime Lab Report – Chemist’s Failure to Appear

U.S. v. Doswell A district court that admitted and relied on hearsay evidence of defendant’s state-court heroin charge, nolle prossed after the chemist who authored the crime lab report failed to appear in state court, violated Rule 32.1, and the 4th Circuit vacates the district court order revoking defendant’s supervised release for an earlier robbery conviction.

Mar 15, 2012

Criminal – Sentencing – Appeals – Guilty Plea – ‘Any Sentence’ – Waiver

U.S. v. Thornsbury A convicted felon pleading guilty to possession of ammunition, who waived his right to appeal “any sentence,” cannot seek to have his sentence on the firearm charge reduced in light of his assistance to the government in prosecuting an unrelated case, and the 4th Circuit dismisses this appeal of the district court’s denial of the government’s motion for a senten[...]

Mar 15, 2012

Criminal – Sex Abuse – Venue – Air Force – Japanese Base – Statements to Investigators

U.S. v. Holmes A defendant convicted of aggravated sexual abuse of a child for twice forcing his stepdaughter, under age 9, to perform oral sex on him during a time defendant was stationed in Japan with the Air Force, has his convictions affirmed by the 4th Circuit despite his challenge to venue and claim that his statements to investigators should have been excluded.

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