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Flowers v. Mississippi, USSC No. 17-9572, 2019 WL 2552489, June 21, 2019, reversing Flowers v. State, 240 So. 3d 1082 (Miss. 2017); Scotusblog page (includes links to briefs and commentary)

The Court reverses Curtis Flowers’ conviction and death sentence and orders a seventh new trial on the ground that the district attorney at his sixth trial (he also prosecuted the other five) exercised at least one peremptory strike with racially discriminatory intent. Three previous convictions were overturned by lower courts because of “numerous instances of prosecutorial misconduct” (that was the first one) “prosecutorial misconduct” (two) and “as strong a prima facie case of racial discrimination” as the Mississippi Supreme Court had “ever seen” (this was trial number three). Read more

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Mitchell v. Wisconsin, No. 18-6210, 6/29/19, vacating and remanding State v. Mitchell, 2018 WI 84, Scotusblog page (including links to briefs and commentary)

This is the decision we’ve all been waiting for on whether a blood draw from an unconscious OWI suspect requires a warrant. Wouldn’t you know–the opinion is splintered. Alito, writing for 4 justices (a plurality, not a majority), concludes that when a driver is unconscious and cannot be given a breath test, the exigent-circumstances doctrine generally permits a blood draw with out a warrant. The plurality vacates the judgment and remands the case for a hearing so that Mitchell has a chance to show that there were no exigent circumstances in his case. Way to go, Andy Hinkel, for fending off the State’s contention that implied consent is actual consent. Read more

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June 2019 publication list

On June 26, 2019, the court of appeals ordered the publication of the following criminal law related decisions: Read more

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State v. Dominique M. Anwar, 2018AP2222-CR, 6/25/19, District 1 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

The court of appeals rejects Anwar’s arguments that she’s entitled to resentencing because the State offered certain information at her sentencing hearing without first disclosing the information and giving her notice it would use the information. Read more

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State v. Tyrus Lee Cooper, 2016AP375-CR, 6/20/19, affirming a per curiam court of appeals opinion, case activity (including briefs)

Cooper moved for pre-sentencing plea withdrawal and filed an OLR grievance because his lawyer failed to provide him with discovery, contact witnesses, and communicate with him. Days before trial, his unprepared lawyer misled him about the strength of the State’s case and rushed him into a plea. The circuit court denied Cooper’s motion, but OLR later concluded that the lawyer committed 19 acts of misconduct, 5 directly relating to Cooper’s plea. Consequently, SCOW suspended his license. Now, in 4-3 decision SCOW holds that the lawyer’s professional misconduct does not satisfy the requirements for an ineffective assistance of counsel claim. Read more

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Banister v. Davis, USSC No. 18-6943, certiorari granted 6/24/19

Question presented:

Whether and under what circumstances a timely Rule 59(e) motion should be recharacterized as a second or successive habeas petition under Gonzalez v. Crosby, 545 U.S. 524 (2005).

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Adams County  Health and Human Serv. Dep’t. v. D.J.S., 2019AP506, District 4, 6/20/19 (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication; case activity

You don’t see defense wins in TPR appeals very often! In this case, D.J.S., the witnesses, the GAL, and counsel for both parties were at the Adams County Courthouse. For unknown reasons,the judge appeared by videoconference from the Marquette County Courthouse. D.J.S. objected, arguing that under §885.60(2) he had a right to be present in the same courtroom as the judge, and he won! Read more

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Collateral attack on prior OWI rejected

State v. Jessy A. Rivard, 2018AP1070-CR, District 3, 6/18/19 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity (including briefs)

Rivard’s challenge to the use of a 2006 OWI conviction fails because the record supports the circuit court’s conclusion that Rivard’s waiver of counsel in that case was valid. Read more

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