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Criminal Law

4th Cir.: SC involuntary manslaughter can be non-violent (access required)

The defendant’s prior conviction for involuntary manslaughter in South Carolina did not qualify as a “violent felony” under the Armed Career Criminal Act. Background Appellant Jarnaro Carlos Middleton pled guilty to being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. ...

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4th Cir.: Intervenor’s claim to seized cash not plausible (access required)

A man alleging that $200,000 found in a storage unit was his life savings did not have standing to claim it in a civil-forfeiture proceeding, as his financial difficulties contradicted his ability to save such a sum. Background In 2014, ...

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SCV: Inmate’s name-change petition properly denied (access required)

The circuit court did not abuse its discretion in denying an incarcerated man’s petition to change his name, following a religious conversion. The court reasoned that the name change was antithetical to his sentencing. Background Appellant Brian Wendell Jordan is ...

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EDVA: Solitary confinement was cruel and unusual (access required)

The Eastern District enjoined the Department of Corrections from reverting back to solitary-confinement conditions for Virginia death-row inmates prior to 2015, as such conditions violate the Eighth Amendment. Background Plaintiffs Thomas Porter, Anthony Juniper, and Mark Lawlor have been convicted ...

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4th Cir.: Officer’s history of excessive force admissible (access required)

An officer’s conviction for injuring an arrestee was affirmed, in part because the officer’s past conduct toward individuals he perceived as disrespecting law enforcement was probative of his state of mind during the events giving rise to the crime. Background ...

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4th Cir.: NC voluntary manslaughter requires volition (access required)

Federal law permitted harsher sentencing for a defendant’s drug crimes because his prior conviction for voluntary manslaughter in North Carolina qualified as a “violent felony” under the applicable statute. In sentencing Appellant Antoine Smith for drug-possession convictions, the district court ...

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EDVA: Constructive amendment requires acquittal (access required)

Following his trial and conviction by jury, a deportee was acquitted for forcibly resisting ICE officers after the government offered evidence of forcible resistance only to CBP officers. Background Defendant Koffi Ameyapoh, a citizen of Togo, was ordered removed from ...

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