Articles Posted in Constitutional Law

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Hassimiou Bangoura appealed after he was convicted for driving under the influence (DUI), second offense. He argued that his conviction had to be reversed because of what he claimed was error in how the trial court established the existence of a predicate DUI offense. Finding no such error, the Vermont Supreme Court affirmed. View "Vermont v. Bangoura" on Justia Law

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The State appealed a superior court’s conclusion that the enactment of 13 V.S.A. 3606a repealed 13 V.S.A. 2504 by implication. Because the Vermont Supreme Court concluded section 3606a neither demonstrated a plain intent to repeal section 2504 nor covered the subject matter of section 2504, it reversed. View "Vermont v. Joseph" on Justia Law

Posted in: Constitutional Law

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The State of New York petitioned to extradite James Perron from Vermont, alleging that he had a sentence to serve for a grand larceny conviction. Perron was initially detained on a prerequisition warrant, but Vermont’s Governor since issued two separate warrants for petitioner’s arrest: the first authorized petitioner’s arrest as a fugitive charged by New York with grand larceny who fled justice in that state and was in Vermont; the second stated Perron escaped and failed to report for service of the sentence imposed by New York. The trial court denied Perron's prerequisition writ of habeas corpus and subsequently also denied his challenge to the Governor’s warrants. Perron appealed the trial court’s ruling. Finding no reversible error, the Vermont Supreme Court affirmed. View "Perron v. Menard" on Justia Law

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Defendant Dale Byam appealed a trial court’s denial of his motion seeking credit against his sentence for time spent under pretrial conditions of release. Defendant argued on appeal to the Vermont Supreme Court there was a corollary to the Court's decisions in Vermont v. McPhee, Vermont v. Platt, and Vermont v. Kenvin, that would give him credit for days when he was subject to a twenty-four-hour curfew with exceptions, but when there was no guarantee that he was in fact compliant with the curfew. The Court declined to adopt defendant’s proposed rule and instead adopt a rule under which nonstatutory home detention with a condition-of-release curfew is never sufficiently akin to penal incarceration to justify credit. Although the Court's rationale was different than that applied by the trial court, the result was the same. View "Vermont v. Byam" on Justia Law

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In this case involving multiple counts of cruelty to animals, defendant Randall Shepard appealed the trial court’s denial of a motion to suppress and its order imposing costs for the care of forfeited animals. With respect to the suppression motion, defendant argued that: (1) the warrant was unconstitutionally broad in allowing the search for and seizure of any animal found at defendant’s home; (2) there was no veterinarian present during execution of the warrant as required by statute; (3) and the court improperly placed the burden of proof on defendant at the suppression hearing. Defendant also argued that the court abused its discretion in ordering him to repay costs incurred in housing the forfeited animals. After review, the Vermont Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s rulings on the first three issues, but reversed and remanded for reconsideration of the court’s order regarding statutory costs of care for the forfeited animals. View "Vermont v. Sheperd" on Justia Law

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This driver’s license suspension case stemmed from the State’s accusation that defendant had been driving under the influence (DUI) before she crashed her car and was transported to the nearest hospital, which was located in New Hampshire. The State appealed the trial court’s suppression of defendant’s refusal to provide a blood sample to the investigating Vermont state trooper must be suppressed because breath testing equipment was reasonably available. The State argued there should have been no suppression because breath testing equipment was not reasonably available. The Vermont Supreme Court agreed, reversed and remanded. View "Vermont v. Giguere" on Justia Law

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The State charged defendant Jeffrey Reed with three offenses: (1) a violation of 13 V.S.A. 1754(a) by knowingly giving false information to a law enforcement officer with the purpose of deflecting an investigation from himself; (2) a violation of 10 V.S.A. 4747 by taking big game by the aid of a salt lick; and (3) a violation of 10 V.S.A. 4781 by possessing big game taken by an illegal device, in this case a salt lick. A jury convicted defendant of knowingly giving false information to a law enforcement officer, and defendant appealed, arguing the evidence presented against him was insufficient to support the verdict. In summary, the statements at issue here were essentially: I don’t know what happened to the antler and I do know what happened to the antler; it fell off when I laid a knife on it. In addressing the argument here, making inconsistent statements is not an element of the crime. The Supreme Court noted the question properly considered was whether, if the jury found each of the statements to be false, could it also find that each statement was made for the purpose of deflecting an investigation. Neither of the statements was sufficient to meet the purpose element. On this basis, the Supreme Court reversed. View "Vermont v. Reed" on Justia Law

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Defendant Patricia Kane appealed the trial court’s conclusion that she violated a special probation condition requiring electronic monitoring, specifically a global position system (GPS) monitor. On appeal, she claimed: (1) the condition was an improper delegation of authority; (2) failed to notify her of the conduct constituting a violation; and (3) violated her constitutional right to travel and her right to be free of unreasonable searches. Defendant also claimed that, after the probation revocation hearing, the court improperly imposed defendant’s original conditions, including the electronic monitoring condition. Finding nothing improper nor a violation of her constitutional rights, the Vermont Supreme Court affirmed. View "Vermont v. Kane" on Justia Law

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Can a prison superintendent order a second administrative hearing when a hearing panel finds a prisoner not guilty of violating a prison rule at an initial hearing because of a clerical mistake in the prison’s evidence? Petitioner, an inmate in Vermont State prison charged with fighting, appealed summary judgment decision validating a superintendent’s authority to order a second hearing under these factual circumstances. The hearing officer found petitioner not guilty of the charged violation. The disciplinary committee unanimously agreed with the hearing officer. The superintendent then ordered a new hearing on the charge against petitioner. As he did in his motion for summary judgment, petitioner argues on appeal that the principle of collateral estoppel operates to bar a second hearing on the charge that was tried in his initial hearing. While the Supreme Court was unwilling to rule broadly on the superintendent’s power to order a new hearing, the Court held that the new hearing ordered here was appropriate when it was clear that the original decision was based on a mistake in the recording of the date of the incident underlying the disciplinary action. View "McLaughlin v. Pallito" on Justia Law

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Defendant Ronald Carter was convicted of domestic assault as a lesser included offense of first degree aggravated domestic assault. He appealed, arguing that domestic assault was not a lesser included offense of aggravated domestic assault when defendant is charged with inflicting serious bodily injury by strangulation. The Supreme Court disagreed that the inclusion of the lesser included offense was improper and affirmed. View "Vermont v. Carter" on Justia Law