Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Friday, January 6, 2017
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Friday, December 30, 2016
One portion of Judge Welch's opinion that has caught the eyes and ears of readers and listeners is this one:
The circuit court finds that the nature and circumstances of the offenses are the most serious in nature and there still is compelling evidence against Petitioner.[FN5]
FN5 Although the State characterizes the cell phone evidence against Petitioner as strong, the circuit court notes that this evidence was the basis of the circuit court's grant of post-conviction relief and likely would be offered and attacked differently at a new trial.
So, what should we take away from Judge Welch's statement that "there still is compelling evidence against Petitioner"?
Thursday, December 29, 2016
Today, Judge Welch issued a Memorandum Opinion denying Adnan Syed's motion for release pending the State's appeal of Judge Welch's prior opinion granting Adnan a new trial. As I've noted before, this was the likeliest result, but there were also aspects of Judge Welch's opinion that are promising in terms of Adnan's future chances of release pending (re)trial.
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Monday, December 19, 2016
Friday, December 16, 2016
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Monday, December 12, 2016
Friday, December 9, 2016
Thursday, December 8, 2016
According to the foreman of the jury in the Michael Slager trial,
the jury was focusing on a lesser manslaughter conviction for Slager rather than murder, which under South Carolina law requires "malice aforethought."
"We had to come to find out that he didn't do anything malicious," Montgomery said on NBC's "Today" show. "He had a brief disturbance in reason at that moment."
So, what are "malice" and "manslaughter" under South Carolina law?
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
The key Alaska case regarding the Allen Charge is Fields v. State, 487 P.2d 831 (Alaska 1971). In Fields, Eugene Field and Joseph Bassett appealed from their convictions for assault with a dangerous weapon, attempted robbery, robbery, and grand larceny. When the jury had been deadlocked in the case, the judge gave the following instruction:
Following up on my (still to be completed) series of posts about the different approaches that states take with regard to prior inconsistent statements, I wanted to do a series of posts about the different approaches that states take with regard to Allen charges. As we reminded recently with the Michael Slager trial, an Allen charge is an instruction that the judge gives to the jury to continue deliberating after the jury has indicated that it is deadlocked. According to Wikipedia,
Allen charges have been rejected, in whole or in part, by at least twenty-three states. Twenty-two states have rejected the charge by judicial decision: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota,Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Additionally, Kentucky has eliminated the Allen charge through its rules of criminal procedure.
So, is that correct, and what have other states done with regard to the Allen charge?
Saturday, December 3, 2016
What Effect Does the Judge Knowing the Jury Alignment Have on the Allen Charge in the Michael Slager Trial?
I've gotten a lot of questions about whether Michael Slager might have grounds for appeal if he is convicted of murdering Walter Scott, given that the judge gave an Allen charge while knowing that the jury was 11-1 in favor of conviction. The answer is "maybe."