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Jan 12, 2023

Man consented to search, motion to suppress denied

Where the totality of the circumstances demonstrated that the defendant consented to a search of his bag, including by maintaining a friendly and casual tone with the officer and lifting his bag from the floorboard, unzipping it and holding it out towards the officer on his own, he failed to show he was coerced into […]

Jan 12, 2023

Immigration and Nationality Act is constitutional

Where a man charged with illegal reentry in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act argued the court should review the constitutionality of the statute under heightened scrutiny, but he failed to show the statute was motivated by a discriminatory purpose, rational basis was the proper standard of review. The statute passed muster under that […]

Jan 12, 2023

17 kilos of coke suppressed because of illegal search

Where the court could not credit the testimony of a Virginia state trooper that he searched a vehicle after seeing vacuum-sealer packaging material when he initially pulled the truck over, and the remaining reasons why the trooper searched the vehicle did not objectively amount to reasonable suspicion of criminal activity, the warrantless search was illegal […]

Jan 12, 2023

Statements made after asking for counsel are suppressed

Statements defendant made after asserting his right to an attorney must be suppressed “with the exception of an unprompted comment … [defendant] made when one of the detectives entered the interview room and before the detective began speaking.” Background Defendant Ruffin was arrested on a murder charge. Police advised him of his Miranda rights, which […]

Jan 12, 2023

Sufficient evidence to convict for firearm offense

Where appellant was convicted for possession of a firearm by a violent convicted felon, the trial court properly denied his motion to suppress. Traffic stop Kelly, appellant’s brother, drove his car into a gas station. Griffin was his passenger. Appellant pulled in alongside Kelly’s car. Detective Ring was checking license plates of cars leaving a […]

Jan 12, 2023

Trial court’s suppression of evidence reversed

Even though appellant, in responding to a police request for a voluntary polygraph exam, said, “Can I speak to a lawyer about that?,” this was “a question ‘about’ counsel, rather than a request for counsel.” As a result, the trial court incorrectly suppressed any statements appellant made after his question, as well as the results […]

Jan 12, 2023

Circumstantial evidence supports murder conviction

Where appellant was convicted of first-degree murder, there was sufficient circumstance evidence to exclude the possibility that he was not the murderer. Background Smith, the murder victim, had been shot “at least seven times.” A neighbor’s security camera “shows that a man wearing a gray hoodie exited a vehicle outside of Smith’s home at 6:38 […]

Jan 12, 2023

Felon constructively possessed firearm

Where there was a shotgun in a bedroom closet at appellant’s home, he was properly convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. There was sufficient evidence that he had constructive possession of the shotgun. Discussion “To prove constructive possession of a firearm, ‘the Commonwealth must present evidence of acts, statements, or conduct […]

Jan 12, 2023

Marijuana odor statute does not apply retroactively

A statute that bars searches basely only on the smell of marijuana and excludes evidence resulting from a search does not apply retroactively. Argument Appellant “Goodwin appeals the trial court’s denial of their pretrial motion to exclude evidence of disorderly conduct and obstruction of justice, occurring during a traffic stop based solely on the smell […]

Jan 5, 2023

Assault and battery is ‘crime of violence’

Where the defendant was found guilty of first-degree assault and battery under South Carolina law after he “engaged in an unjustified, merciless beating” of an unarmed, 72-year-old security guard that caused “permanent damage” to one of the victim’s eyes, that was a “crime of violence” under the federal sentencing guidelines. Background Less than a year […]

Jan 5, 2023

Treaty didn’t divest court of jurisdiction

Where the defendant was deported to Mexico to serve his sentence, pursuant to a treaty between the United States and Mexico, and when he then illegally reentered the United States after he was released by Mexican authorities, the district court had jurisdiction to consider whether he violated the terms of his supervised release. There was […]

Jan 5, 2023

Flight from cops didn’t support sentencing enhancement

Where the defendant received a sentencing enhancement for recklessly creating “a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another person in the course of fleeing from a law enforcement officer,” but there was no evidence showing he reached for the gun or that he acted in a way that could have caused a […]

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