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The Benefits of Plea Agreements

One way to resolve a criminal case is for the prosecutor and accused to enter into a plea agreement in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a specific offense in exchange for the prosecutor offering the defendant some reward or benefit.

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Falsely Accused of Rape

Being accused of rape can ruin your life in an instant, even if the accusation is false. However, just because an accusation of rape is false does not mean that you do not have to take the situation seriously. In fact, it is imperative that you act quickly to keep the situation from spiraling out of control.

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Habeas and Plea Agreements: Walters v. Martin, Civil Action No. 5:17CV96

John Walters is serving a forty-year sentence for burglary and malicious assault. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced in Berkeley County Circuit Court, West Virginia.

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Ineffective Assistance of Counsel and Ways a Trial Lawyer Can be Ineffective

Your right to counsel embraces the right to receive effective assistance of counsel, as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court in Strickland v. Washington. The Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees effective counsel (and a fair trial) as a right. Ineffective assistance of a lawyer during your trial is a common claim for habeas corpus because it represents a chance to overturn a conviction and/or vacate a sentence.

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Should I Agree to Complete Field Sobriety Tests—Why Not?

Field sobriety tests FSTs are voluntary so you do not have to agree to complete them. Further, they may be unreliable indicators of intoxication because each police officer chooses their test and determines how they respond to a test on their own.

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Second Chance Kids: Unique Release of Two Juvenile Lifers

There’s a saying among prisoners that goes, “You came in alone, you leave alone.” This saying is a reminder when going into prison and throughout your incarceration, you cannot depend on anyone behind those walls. In 1997, I was convicted of a serious crime as a seventeen-year-old and ultimately sentenced to life without parole.

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My 2021 Highlight: Speaking with Henry Montgomery on ICAN National Zoom Call

It was almost 6PM on Friday, November 19, 2021, and I had just picked up a cheeseburger, fries, and an orange fountain soda from DQ’s. I’d been working from home all day and wanted to get on the scheduled Incarcerated Children’s Advocacy Network’s (“ICAN”) 2021 national zoom call.

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Virginia’s Conviction Integrity Unit

Wrongfully convicted persons in Virginia face an uphill battle in getting their convictions overturned. Virginia’s laws are strict and claims of innocence face difficult hurdles.

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Extrinsic Fraud: Can It Be Used to Overturn a Criminal Conviction?

Although not apparent in the body of published caselaw, a legal doctrine that prisoners have clung to over the years to challenge criminal convictions is that of extrinsic fraud. The reason why it is so appealing as a legal basis is that a judgment obtained by extrinsic fraud is void and can be challenged at any time (i.e., beyond the statute of limitations that restrict challenges to criminal convictions). Intrinsic fraud is another type of fraud, considered less severe.

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Speedy Trial Right & COVID-19

An accused has the right to a speedy trial under the 6th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. What this means is that an accused has the right to be tried for the alleged charges within a reasonable amount of time from arrest. It is a powerful ground to seek dismissal of the case. If the court determines that the delay between arrest and trial is unreasonable, it can dismiss the indictment, in which case, Virginia law allow the prosecution to appeal the decision.

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