Top 3 Cases from 2016 I'm Thankful For
AMENDED: Oops, Villagomez, while still a great opinion, isn't as broad as I assumed below. See State v. Stewart.
First, State v. Villagomez. Before this case, you'd virtually never see a level-4 DCS. They would all be level-6 or level-8. After Villagomez, most Boyd deliveries will be level-4s. What's the difference between 6 and 4? In some cases less prison, in other cases, no prison, and in others, less probation.
Secondly, keeping with the CDO theme, State v. Rankins. This case, by weakening one of the CDO factors (specifically drug records, which no longer include routine texts between dealer and buyer), in combination with Villagomez, will help save a lot of people from prison.
Third, State v. Mansor,, the one computer search warrant case that is essential reading. Police are now routinely getting search warrants for our client's phones, especially in drug cases and homicides. This case will significantly reduce the state's discovery -- and reliance -- on a lot of bullshit character evidence. For example, read this story from Sentencing Law and Policy blog about how a Facebook post written by a defendant when he was 13 is being used by the prosecutor to give a minor life in prison. Key quote:
- Prosecutors will use a Facebook post from 2010 when Gerome Moore was 13 showing him in possession of a handgun and "arguably" displaying gang signs to try to show Moore should be sentenced to life without parole in the January 2015 shooting death of Carolyn Temple in Belhaven. Moore was convicted of capital murder in September, but his sentencing is on hold. A capital murder conviction had meant a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole, but a 2012 Supreme Court ruling said judges must consider the unique circumstances of each juvenile offender....
- Moore was 17 at the time of the crime. He didn't shoot Temple, but his gun was used. He and at least two others were driving around that evening looking for someone to rob. Prosecutors say they followed Temple's vehicle, a Mercedes, to her boyfriend's house in Belhaven. Once she got out her car and went to the curb to retrieve her boyfriend's garbage can, two of the individuals tried to take her purse. She resisted and one of them shot her. Prosecutors believe Moore stayed in the car and was the getaway driver, although he provided the weapon.