The US Supreme Court in Carpenter v. US issued a significant opinion potentially limiting the Third-Party Doctrine and recognizing the Fourth Amendment’s application to technology. Timothy Carpenter was arrested on suspicion of multiple robberies committed in various jurisdictions. Carpenter was not a suspect until a co-defendant provided his cell phone number to officers. Law enforcement sent … More Fourth Amendment Prevails!
As many know, I have spent the last year teaching criminal and constitutional law at a Maine University. I am enjoying teaching immensely, and I was able to create a course focused entirely upon wrongful convictions. Educating young minds on our complicated and complex appellate and post-conviction processes has been incredibly rewarding. While I unfortunately … More Updates
Marty v. State, 2D15-1218 (Fla. 2d DCA 9/16/2016) In a rare move, the appellate court found trial counsel ineffective on direct appeal resulting in a new trial for a defendant convicted of aggravated assault. During an altercation with several neighbors, the defendant grabbed a firearm to defend himself. He aimed the weapon away from the … More 2DCA Reverses on Ineffective Assistance Claim
Ms. Elvington prevailed in Bergeron v. State, 2D15-3028 (September 16, 2016). In Bergeron the defendant elected to represent herself during a VOP hearing, and although the court initially complied with Faretta, the court failed to renew the offer of assistance prior to sentencing. Thus, the defendant’s sentence was reversed for a new hearing. On an … More Appellate Win – VOP Faretta
Ms. Elvington prevailed in L.A.H. v. State, 2D15-2174 (Fla. 2d DCA August 17, 2016). The defendant was convicted of burglary arising out of a stolen vehicle taken from the victim’s driveway. The defendant’s fingerprints were recovered from items inside of the glove compartment. The victim and defendant had no known connection, and there would have … More Appellate Win – Burglary JOA
Underhill v. State, 4D15-1778 (July 13, 2016) In a case representing a significant change in Florida law, the Fourth District reversed a conviction for possession of methamphetamine after concluding that the Trial Court erred by denying a motion to suppress. In Underhill, LEO conducted a traffic stop based upon a seatbelt violation. Upon approach, the … More Suppression warranted in K9 search – a change in Florida law
Burgess v. State, 2D14-4680 (Fla. 2d DCA July 6, 2016). In an enbanc decision the Second District reversed a felony conviction for driving with a suspended license after being designated a habitual offender under 322.34(5). In doing so, it receded from its earlier position in Carroll v. State, 761 So. 2d 417 (Fla. 2d DCA … More Second District recedes from Carroll v. State, 761 So. 2d 417 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000): Defendant must have had a valid driver’s license under 322.34(5) for felony conviction to apply.
Angelo Atwell v. State, SC14-193 (May 26, 2016). In line with virtually every opinion post-Miller, the Florida Supreme Court struck down another life sentence imposed upon a juvenile offender. Mr. Atwell, who was 16 at the time of the offenses, was convicted of armed robbery and first-degree murder. Pursuant to the sentencing scheme at the … More Florida Supreme Court reverses life sentence with parole for juvenile offender pursuant to Miller.
Laisha Landrum v. State, SC15-1071 (Fla. June 9, 2016). Landrum, aged 16, was convicted of second-degree murder arising out of the death of another teenaged girl. The sentencing guidelines called for a sentence ranging from 22.3 years to life. Defense counsel argued for a downward departure; however, the trial court imposed a life sentence without … More Florida Supreme Court reverses “discretionary” life sentence for juvenile offender based on Miller, Gridine and Graham.
Allen v. State, 4D13-4459 (May 18, 2016) The Fourth District reversed a second-degree murder conviction for a new trial based upon erroneous admission of the defendant’s pre-arrest refusal to submit to DNA testing. The defendant was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend. The police questioned the defendant, and wanted to compare his DNA to blood samples … More New trial for man convicted of 2nd-degree murder where court allowed jury to hear testimony about defendant’s pre-arrest refusal to submit DNA