Articles Posted in Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance over two grams and of being a first-degree persistent felony offender and sentencing Defendant to twenty years’ imprisonment. The court held (1) Defendant was not denied a fair trial by the trial court’s admission of testimony from a detective; (2) Defendant was not entitled to a mistrial because of alleged errors in the sentencing phase of the trial proceeding; (3) there was no palpable error with the sentencing evidence; and (4) contrary to Defendant’s argument on appeal, the jury finding that Defendant was a persistent felony offender first-degree was unanimous. View "Conrad v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of one count of first-degree assault, eleven counts of first-degree criminal abuse, and one count of second-degree assault and sentencing Defendant to seventy years’ imprisonment. The convictions stemmed from the abuse of Defendant’s boyfriend’s minor child, N.V. After Defendant and her boyfriend were arrested, N.V. was released to foster care. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court erred in allowing the testimony of the foster mother. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the trial court did not err in allowing the testimony of the foster mother. View "Richmond v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court sentencing Defendant to life in prison without the possibility of parole for twenty-five years for two counts of murder, two counts of first-degree robbery, one count of first-degree wanton endangerment, and one count of terroristic threatening. The court held (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting the Commonwealth’s ballistics evidence; (2) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by joining the offenses for trial; (3) the trial court properly permitted a witness to make an in-court identification of Defendant; (4) a detective did not improperly bolster his own credibility by answering questions from co-defendant’s counsel on cross-examination; and (5) the Commonwealth’s use of a CourtNet printout to impeach a witness was not improper. View "Garrett v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court convicting Defendant of three counts of violating a protective order, kidnapping, two counts of first-degree unlawful imprisonment and other offenses. On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court erred by admitting improper character evidence and by failing to grant a directed verdict on the two counts of first-degree unlawful imprisonment. The Supreme Court held (1) evidence of Defendant’s “other crimes, wrongs, or acts” was properly admitted; and (2) this court declines to grant palpable error review of Defendant’s claim that he was entitled to a directed verdict on first-degree unlawful imprisonment. View "Gray v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the trial court convicting Defendant of trafficking in four or more grams of cocaine. On appeal, Defendant argued that he was improperly convicted because the Commonwealth’s evidence failed to show that the substance seized from him contained four or more grams of pure cocaine. The court of appeals disagreed, holding that Defendant was not entitled to a directed verdict on his trafficking charge because the law does not require proof of the actual weight of pure cocaine to secure a conviction under the first-degree trafficking statute. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the plain language of Ky. Rev. Stat. 218A.1412, paired with the definition of “cocaine” in Ky. Rev. Stat. 218A.010(5), creates a statutory scheme whereby the Commonwealth is not required to prove that pure cocaine accounted for the weight of four grams or more; and (2) the trial court did not err in failing to compel disclosure of a confidential informant’s identity. View "Hawkins v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court sentencing him to twenty years’ imprisonment for first-degree robbery, receiving stolen property, and other offenses. The court held (1) the trial court did not err by permitting the victim to make an in-court identification of Defendant; (2) the trial court properly refused to give an instruction for the lesser-included offense of facilitation to first-degree robbery; (3) Defendant’s conviction for receiving stolen property based on a stolen handgun was not manifestly unjust; and (4) the Commonwealth’s questioning of Defendant regarding his violent past did not constitute palpable error. View "Fairley v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals ruling in favor of Appellee in this prison discipline case and reinstated the trial court’s order denying Appellee’s pro se declaration of rights action in which she argued that the disciplinary proceeding violated her Fourteenth Amendment right to due process. Appellee was disciplined as a result of an injury to a Corrections officer after a fight between Plaintiff and another inmate. The circuit court found that Appellee had received due process. The court of appeals remanded the case to the trial court for further proceedings. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals, holding that Appellee’s procedural due process rights were not violated. View "Warden v. Lawless" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court convicting Defendant of murder and first-degree arson and sentencing him to two concurrent terms of life imprisonment. Contrary to Defendant’s arguments on appeal, the Supreme Court held (1) Defendant was not entitled to a directed verdict based upon the “inherent unbelievability” of the Commonwealth’s principal witness; (2) because Defendant failed to demonstrate prejudice, the trial court did not err by denying Defendant’s motion for a mistrial based on a news report broadcast by a television station about the trial; and (3) the trial court properly addressed the prosecutor’s improper comment during closing argument. View "Ross v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the circuit court convicting Defendant of manslaughter in the second degree and tampering with physical evidence. The court held (1) the trial court and the court of appeals erred in their respective applications of the adoptive admission exception to the hearsay rule, leading those tribunals to the erroneous conclusion that Defendant’s silence was an adoptive admission of guilt, but the error was harmless; and (2) the prosecutor improperly explained to the jury the adoptive admission rule, but no manifest injustice resulted from the error. View "Moss v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court affirming the district court’s dismissal of this action filed by Big Sandy Regional Jail Authority against the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government seeking reimbursement for the cost of housing prisoners held pursuant to warrants issued by Fayette County courts. The district court dismissed the case after finding that the Urban County Government was entitled to sovereign immunity. The circuit court affirmed without addressing the issue of sovereign immunity, finding, rather, that the county of arrest controls responsibility for incarceration costs. The Supreme Court affirmed, but on different grounds, holding that the Urban County Government was not responsible for the costs of incarcerating prisoners not in its possession. View "Big Sandy Regional Jail Authority v. Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government" on Justia Law