Posts Tagged ‘sentencing’

Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Double-Jeopardy Exception

double jeopardy exception

By Christopher Zoukis On December 6, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Gamble v. United States, raising the issue of whether sometimes defendants can face separate trials, and possibly conviction and sentencing, for the same violation in both state and federal courts, despite the Constitution’s provision against double jeopardy. The Fifth Amendment to the…

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Is It Curtains For The First Step Act?

By Christopher Zoukis Back in February, the House of Representatives by a 360-59 margin passed H.R. 5628, the “First Step” Act – an acronym for the “Formerly Incarcerated Re-enter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act.” With bipartisan co-sponsors, Reps. Doug Collins (R-GA) and Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the bill had cleared the House Judiciary Committee…

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Texas Governor Issues Proposal to Revise Bail Procedures

By Christopher Zoukis On August 7, Texas governor Greg Abbott announced a new package of proposals intended to reform the state’s bail system. Together the collection was named the “Damon Allen Act,” to commemorate a state trooper who was killed in the line of duty last Thanksgiving. During a traffic stop, Trooper Allen was ambushed…

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Cop Who Firebombed Supervisor’s House Gets 20 Years

By Christopher Zoukis A rogue police officer from the Edison, New Jersey police department has been sentenced to 20 years in prison following his guilty plea to a string of violent offenses, including the firebombing of his boss’s house. Michael Dotro was an Edison cop for 10 years before his arrest and conviction. During that…

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Proposed Bill Would Allow For New Sentencing Juries

Move Comes After Deadlock on Killer of BOP Officer By Christopher Zoukis After an 11-1 jury split on the penalty for the inmate convicted of killing a guard at the federal penitentiary in Canaan, Pennsylvania, two House members want to give federal prosecutors the right to empanel a new jury to decide the proper sentence,…

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Eleventh Circuit Grants Habeas Hearing in Judicial Bias Case

By Christopher Zoukis The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has reversed a district court and ruled that an evidentiary hearing is required when a criminal defendant has sufficiently alleged actual bias on the part of a trial judge. Harrison Norris, Jr., who is black, was convicted of 24 counts of forced…

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Fifth Circuit Vacates Child Pornography Sentence

By Christopher Zoukis The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has vacated and remanded the sentence of a convicted child pornographer. Jason Daniel Scott pleaded guilty to one count of possessing child pornography and was sentenced to 108 months of imprisonment and lifetime supervised release. As part of his supervision, Scott was…

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Mass. Supreme Court: Field Sobriety Tests Inadmissible Re: Marijuana

By Christopher Zoukis The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that field sobriety tests (“FSTs”) may not be used as definitive evidence of impairment in cases involving allegations of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. The Court also ruled that FSTs are admissible as contemporaneous observations of the police officer, as a lay…

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