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October 11, 2013

Pennsylvania Court Rules No Notice Needed For Use of Blood Sample for Criminal Proceedings

During the evening of October 22, 2008, Daniel Roger Smith, consumed approximately eight beers while watching the Philadelphia Phillies defeat the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of the World Series. He finished drinking at 11:00 or 11:30 that night and went to bed. He awoke the next morning and, apparently feeling no ill effects from his drinking the night before, drove himself to work. Around 11:00 a.m., during the course of his work errands, Daniel was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident. Police arrived on the scene of the accident within a short period of time and requested a blood...

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March 14, 2013

Third Circuit Rules that Contraband Found in Shared Cell is Sufficient to Warrant Loss of Good Time Credits

In Denny v. Schultz, No. 11-1450 (3d Cir. Feb. 15, 2013), the Third Circuit considered the question of what limit the Due Process Clause places on the constructive possession theory in the prison context. Inmate Denny shared a cell with one other inmate. During a routine search of the cell, a corrections officer found two metal shanks located in the duct work of a ceiling vent. The duct was accessible from both Denny's cell and the adjacent cell, which housed an additional three inmates. Denny and his cell mate were both charged with possession of a weapon, but the inmates in the adjacent...

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December 31, 2012

Police Can Record Video Inside Your Home Without A Warrant

In United States v. Wahchumwah, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 24296 (9th Cir. Nov. 27, 2012), Defendant contended that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when an undercover agent who was invited into his home used a concealed audio-video device to record an illegal transaction defendant conducted in his home. United States Fish and Wildlife Service agents began an undercover investigation of Wahchumwah based on anonymous complaints that he was selling eagle parts. As part of this investigation, Special Agent Robert Romero began developing a rapport with Wahchumwah in April 2008, at a powwow in...

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March 21, 2012

Supreme Court Reiterates the Duty of the Prosecution to Disclose All Potentially Exculpatory Evidence

The Supreme Court of the United States decided the landmark case of Brady v. Maryland in 1963. 373 U.S. 83. While the Brady doctrine stemming from this case is nuanced and has been addressed many times over the past few decades - at its core, Brady imposes a duty upon the prosecution to turn over to the defense in a criminal trial all evidence which tends to cast doubt upon a defendant’s guilt. In the 2012 case of Smith v. Cain, the Court both restated and reaffirmed the Brady holding. Smith v. Cain, 132 S. Ct. 627 (2012). In Smith v. Cain, Defendant Smith was charged with killing five...

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February 21, 2012

Coach who Taped His Female Wrestlers Weighing In on a Scale Is Guilty of Attempted Sexual Exploitation

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit decided the case of United States of America, Appellant, v. Scott Johnson, Appellee, an appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri. A jury had found Scott Johnson guilty of eight counts of attempted sexual exploitation of children, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2251, after he secretly videotaped minor girls weighing themselves in the nude. Johnson was their wrestling coach. However, the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri granted Johnson’s motion for judgment...

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