Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

A recent US Supreme Court ruling has the potential to affect many people who have had vehicles searched by law enforcement, including at least one client of Skier & Associates. The Court in Collins v. Virginia held that the 4th Amendment’s “automobile exception” (which allows police to search an automobile without a warrant) does not apply to a vehicle parked next to a home, and that police are required to obtain a warrant before they can search the vehicle.

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Judges cannot allow juries to hear evidence that was obtained illegally or in violation of the 4th Amendment to the Constitution. A defense lawyer can file a “Motion to Suppress” evidence that he or she believes fits these categories. A Motion to Suppress Evidence can be a very powerful tool for someone accused of a crime. A couple of our clients have had great results in a couple of recent cases thanks to effective suppression motions.

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I recently became involved in a case in Federal Court in the Middle District of Alabama involving allegations that a client was part of a scheme to perform sub-standard physical examinations for Commercial Driver License holders and applicants.

You can read about the case here.

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In the past few days, I have received a number of inquiries from people who have been or had a loved one denied parole or a pardon from the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles. These potential clients want to know how to appeal a ruling of the Pardon and Parole Board. In every case, I have to give them the bad news: There is NO APPEAL from a decision of the Board. Continue reading

A recent article got me thinking about the issue of prosecutorial misconduct and whether it has been an issue in my work.

As a person who prosecuted cases for over 3 years, I take it as an affront when a prosecutor abuses his power. That person is nothing more than a street thug, but instead of guns and knives, their weapon is the authority of the government.

That being said, I can’t recall any instances of prosecutorial misconduct in any of my cases. Continue reading

Is a police officer, without a warrant and uninvited, authorized under the Fourth Amendment to conduct a search of a vehicle parked near a residence?

This is the issue the United States Supreme Court will decide next year in the case of Collins v. Virginia. I have a case in the Middle District of Alabama with very similar facts so I, along with others, will be watching this Supreme Court case very closely.

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Restitution is an amount of money paid by someone convicted of a criminal offense. The purpose of restitution is to compensate a crime victim for actual losses incurred as a result of criminal activity. Importantly, restitution is not meant to compensate a crime victim for pain and suffering, hurt feelings, or other non-measurable losses. Only losses that are documented can be reimbursed through restitution.

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Don’t get taken advantage of in restitution orders.

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I have filed a Suppression Motion for a client based on a recent US Supreme Court decision, Rodriguez v. United States (2015.) The issue in Rodriguez is the extension of a routine traffic stop beyond the time necessary to write a traffic citation and what happens if incriminating evidence is discovered after that time. While my client was being held after a warning ticket had been issued, their car was searched by police. Drug evidence was found. I have argued to the Court that this search was illegal and that the evidence obtained during the search should not be admissible in court.

For more details, read below:

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Because of some recent news regarding a high profile case with which I was involved, there has been a good deal of discussion of the Grand Jury process and how it works. To many, even within the legal community, Grand Juries are mysterious and there is a lot of misinformation circulating about exactly what happens when a Grand Jury considers a case. This blog will seek to remove some of the mystery around the process.

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Recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum instructing US Attorneys to charge the “highest readily provable offense” regardless of other factors in all cases. This reverses an Obama-era policy that called for charging leaders and violent actors more severely than non-violent, non gang-related actors. The net result of these changes in policy is, from our perspective, medium-term uncertainty of results for our Federal clients. Continue reading

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