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After a jury returned verdict forms finding defendant guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol (count 1) and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or more (count 2), the trial court polled the jury and one juror replied that she did not find defendant guilty of count 1. On appeal, defendant argued that the trial court erred by discharging the jury without a unanimous verdict on count 1 and that the evidence at the preliminary hearing was insufficient to hold him to answer for count 3 (driving under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and a drug). The Court of Appeal held that defendant was denied his constitutional right to a unanimous verdict as to count 1, no objection was required to preserve the issue, the error was structural, and retrial of that count would violate the prohibition against double jeopardy. However, the trial court properly denied defendant's pretrial motion to dismiss count 3. View "People v. Bailey" on Justia Law

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Cincinnati officers obtained a warrant, searched defendants’ home, and found over 2,000 grams of heroin, marijuana, drug-distribution paraphernalia, and a large amount of cash. The district court suppressed the evidence, holding that because the warrant application so failed to connect defendants’ home with drug-trafficking activity, no reasonable officer could have relied on the warrant. The Sixth Circuit reversed. The officers acted in good-faith reliance on the warrant; the warrant application established enough of a basis to believe that at least one of the defendants was engaged in a continual, ongoing drug-trafficking operation and that drug-related contraband was, therefore, likely to be found in his home. View "United States v. McCoy" on Justia Law

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Steven Yelovich and Faith De Armond dated for more than five years. Relevant to this appeal, Yelovich had an active restraining order against him, prohibiting him from coming near De Armond or having any contact with her. One day Yelovich saw someone through the fence of his son's house as he was moving boxes in the garage; he went to his car and discovered a window had been broken and some contents (including his cell phone) were missing. Yelovich saw De Armond walking down the street and had a hunch she broke the window and took his possessions. Yelovich was aware of the restraining order, but did not believe police would arrive in enough time to recover his phone. He chased her, and a struggle ensued. De Armond was treated for minor injuries; the responding police officer noted De Armond seemed intoxicated at the time of the incident. Yelovich was charged with one count felony violation of the no-contact order predicated on his assault of De Armond, and one count of bail jumping. At trial, he argued he was entitled to a jury instruction on defense of property because he was protecting his cell phone, which he believed De Armond had stolen. Yelovich appealed when the trial court denied his request. The Washington Supreme Court determined an instruction on defense-of-property is not available when there is a valid order prohibiting defendant from contacting the protected party. View "Washington v. Yelovich" on Justia Law

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A jury convicted David Ramirez of third degree assault and possession of a controlled substance, and found by special verdict that he committed the assault with sexual motivation and displayed an egregious lack of remorse. After sentencing, Ramirez presented a notice of appeal and a motion for an order of indigency, which the the trial court granted. Prior to imposing his legal financial obligations, the trial court asked only two questions relating to Ramirez' then-current and future ability to pay, both of which were directed to the State. The trial court did not ask Ramirez directly about his ability to pay at any point during sentencing. The Washington Supreme Court found that a trial court has an obligation to conduct an individualized inquiry into a defendant's current and future ability to pay before imposing legal financial obligations at sentencing. An adequate inquiry must include consideration of certain mandatory factors, including the defendant's incarceration and other debts, and the court rule GR34 criteria for indigency. The Court reversed the Court of Appeals and remanded this case for the trial court to strike the improperly imposed LFSs from Ramirez's judgment and sentence. View "Washington v. Ramirez" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment granting petitioner's application for habeas corpus relief from his death sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2254. The court held that, because the district court's partial grant of petitioner's rule 59(e) motion was not subject to this appeal, the court did not address the merits of the district court's application of Martinez v. Ryan, 132 S.Ct. 1309 (2012), and its finding of extraordinary circumstances. The court also held that the district court's finding that petitioner was prejudiced by counsel's deficient performance was supported by the evidence. Therefore, the district court properly concluded that petitioner established ineffective assistance of counsel. The court agreed with the district court that, as to Ground I, petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion was not a successive claim under 28 U.S.C. 2244(b). Finally, the district court did not err in denying respondent's Rule 59(e) motion; the judgment granting habeas relief was not the result of any manifest error; and the motion was not supported by any showing of extraordinary circumstances. View "Barnett v. Roper" on Justia Law

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Law enforcement officers seized and searched defendant Catalin Dulfu's computer and duplicated its hard drive. During a search of the duplicated hard drive, a forensic investigator discovered computer files containing visual recordings of sexually explicit conduct involving children. The state charged defendant with crimes based on 15 of the files. Defendant argued on appeal that the trial court erred in calculating his criminal history score under the felony sentencing guidelines. Under the guidelines, prior convictions generally increase a defendant’s criminal history score, unless they arose out of the same criminal episode as the crime for which the defendant is being sentenced. In this case, defendant was convicted of multiple crimes based on child pornography on his computer. Over defendant’s objection, the court increased defendant’s criminal history score after it sentenced him for each of the crimes, until it reached the maximum criminal history score. The Oregon Supreme Court determined a conviction does not count toward a defendant’s criminal history score if, for double jeopardy purposes, it arose out of the same criminal episode as the crime for which the defendant is being sentenced. Therefore, the trial court erred in using defendant's convictions for those crimes to increase his criminal history score as it did. View "Oregon v. Dulfu" on Justia Law

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Young was convicted of first-degree murder based on the 2005 stabbing death of his girlfriend. The Morgan County circuit court sentenced him to serve 40 years in prison, with 215 days of presentence custody credit. Young subsequently filed a successive post-conviction petition, which was dismissed. The appellate court declined to address Young's claim that the circuit court erred in failing to award him the correct amount of presentence custody credit, concluding that such a claim cannot be raised for the first time on appeal from post-conviction proceedings. The Illinois Supreme Court held that the claim for additional presentence custody credit under section 5-4.5-100 was forfeited. Young did not object to the presentence-credit calculation at sentencing, in post-trial motions, or in the motion seeking a reduction of his sentence. The issue was not raised on direct appeal or as the basis for a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, nor was it presented in a timely filed section 2-1401 petition. Section 5-4.5-100 does not indicate legislative intent that claims for presentence custody credit are not subject to forfeiture. Illinois Supreme Court Rule 615(b) did not permit the appellate court to grant Young's claim despite the fact that it was raised for the first time on appeal from post-conviction proceedings. The court nonetheless exercised its supervisory authority to order the circuit court to address the claim and determine the amount of additional presentence custody credit to which Young is entitled. View "People v. Young" on Justia Law

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Officer Beaty responded to a call reporting an unconscious person in a vehicle, possibly having a seizure. Defendant’s passenger side tires were on the grass; the driver’s side tires were on the road. The vehicle’s transmission was in park and the motor was running. Defendant was initially unresponsive and then gave incorrect information about his location. Beaty saw an uncapped syringe on the passenger seat and found a plastic bag containing a brown granular substance in defendant’s wallet in the center console. Finding a Red Bull can on the seat, he performed a “NARK swipe," which indicated the presence of opiates. Defendant was arrested for driving under the influence of drugs, 625 ILCS 5/11-501(a)(4). Beaty requested that he submit to chemical testing and warned that refusal would result in statutory summary suspension of his driver’s license. After he refused, his driver’s license was summarily suspended, Illinois Vehicle Code section 11-501.1(e). The circuit court granted his petition to rescind; the appellate court affirmed. The Illinois Supreme Court reversed, rejecting an argument that the officer lacked reasonable grounds to make the arrest. Expert testimony is not required in every case for an officer to testify to his opinion that a motorist was under the influence of drugs based on his inference from the totality of the circumstances. Defendant failed to make a prima facie case that the rescission of his license was improper; the burden did not shift to the state. View "People v. Gocmen" on Justia Law

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Taylor's family gathered at her mother’s Wheaton apartment to celebrate Taylor’s release from prison. Taylor’s girlfriend, Walker, joined the party. Taylor later called Defendant to arrange a ride home for Walker. When Defendant arrived, Taylor and Walker went to Defendant’s car. Defendant gave Taylor heroin, crack cocaine, a syringe, and a crack pipe (wrapped in a dirty sock that had blood on it). Taylor returned to the apartment, told her children that she was going to take a shower and went into the bathroom, Walker began calling repeatedly. Based on what Walker told him, Taylor’s son alerted family members, who tried to enter the locked bathroom and called 911. Officers arrived, forced the door open, and performed CPR. Paramedics transported Taylor to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. A jury convicted Defendant of drug-induced homicide, 720 ILCS 5/9-3.3(a). The appellate and Illinois Supreme Courts affirmed, rejecting arguments that the trial court erred in refusing Defendant’s proposed jury instructions on causation and that she was not proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The court declined to abandon the “contributing cause” standard in favor of a “but for” standard. The instruction should be modified in cases of drug-induced homicide where the defendant delivers multiple controlled substances to the victim but is charged with only one of the deliveries; in this case, the failure to do so was harmless error. View "People v. Nere" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of domestic battery, a Class 4 felony due to a prior aggravated battery conviction. The circuit court sentenced him to three years in prison, and imposed fines and fees. Defendant filed a pro se “Petition for Reduced Sentence,” alleging that his trial counsel should have pointed out several errors in the presentence investigation report but did not raise any issue regarding the fines, fees, or per diem credit. The trial court reappointed Defendant’s trial counsel and denied the motion. The appellate court found that the court's failure to conduct an inquiry into the ineffective assistance claim warranted remand and, noting the state’s concession of error with respect to the $20 "CASA" fee, and directed the circuit court to apply Defendant’s $5 per diem credit toward that assessment. The court rejected a claim that the $2 state’s attorney automation fee is actually a fine, subject to per diem credit, and stated that claims that the sheriff’s fee was improperly assessed; the clerk should not have assessed the $250 DNA fee because defendant was already in the database; and the trial court should not have imposed the $10 Crime Stoppers assessment, relate “to the imposition of fees, not fines,” and did not affect "fundamental fairness.” The Illinois Supreme Court vacated the Crime Stoppers assessment, which the state conceded was not properly imposed as a “fine,” but otherwise affirmed, noting that the DNA fee has been administratively corrected. View "People v. Harvey" on Justia Law