Elizabeth Franklin-Best

Appellate lawyer

Elizabeth Franklin-Best, a criminal appellate lawyer seeking freedom for her clients.  Focused exclusively on criminal appeals in both state and federal courts.


Incredible Win! US v. Blue, No. 13-4069, No. 15-4153 (4th Cir. 2015)

December 11th, 2015
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

You don’t see wins like this too often—reversals based insufficiency of the evidence!  Great work on the part of the Maryland Federal Public Defender’s Office. Briefly, the facts: On June 29, 2011, a snitch was arrested for heroin and a firearms charge.  To help himself out, he agreed to set up others.  He identified “Townsend” as a heroin middleman.  Snitch and two officers then set up a controlled buy with

Buffey v. Ballard, No. 14-0642, West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals

November 13th, 2015
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

The West Virginia Supreme Court issued a very important opinion this last week, Buffey v. Ballard (filed November 10, 2015).  And while there is much to celebrate because an innocent person has now been exonerated, it is alarming to see the extent to which state actors, and even judges, acted to prevent what was clearly a wrongful conviction from being overturned.  A brief review of the case:

  • Nov. 30, 2001—Brutal sexual ass

New SCOTUS case on Qualified Immunity. Summary: Not good.

November 10th, 2015
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

This case belongs in the Tough Cases Make Bad Law pile.  The decedent was passing through a fast food restaurant when a member of the Trulia Police Department (yes, that Trulia, TX Police Department) approached him and told him he was under arrest on an outstanding warrant.  Not inclined to allow himself to be placed under arrest, he sped off and engaged in a high rate speed chase.  A number of other officers got involved, mostly putting down

United States v. Slocumb, No. 14-4733 (Published Fourth Circuit, October 22, 1015)

October 22nd, 2015
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

An excellent case published by the Fourth Circuit today.  Authored by Judge Gregory, and joined by Judges Agee and Diaz, the Fourth Circuit affirms the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.  Mr. Slocumb was changing out a child’s car seat in a commercial parking lot that officers were also using as a staging area for an ongoing drug investigation into a house across the street.  Mr. Slocumb had received a call from his gi

Racial Justice in Jury Selection, SCOTUS takes it on . . . again.

October 12th, 2015
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

On November 2, 2015, the United States Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Foster v. Chatman, 14-8349, which will be the first time SCOTUS has revisited the Batson v. Kentucky line of cases since its last decision in Snyder v. Louisiana, 552 U.S. 472 (2008).  Membership on the Court has changed in the interim—replacing Souter and Stevens are Sotomayor and Kagan, respectively.  Snyder always

Fourth Circuit Turns its Attention to Solitary Confinement . . . Good.

July 2nd, 2015
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

Yesterday, the Fourth Circuit published its opinion in Incumaa v. Stirling, No. 14-6411.  Great work, Georgetown University Law Center, Appellate Litigation Program! I represent (and have represented) numerous inmates housed in solitary confinement.  The conditions are deplorable and dehumanizing.  After our state court lawsuit, T.R, et al. v. South Carolina Department of Corrections resulted in a strongly worded Order autho

For Those Who Don’t Think Cops Lie . . .

June 25th, 2015
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

This deserves to be placed in the You Can’t Believe This Shit Happens file—Webb v. United States, 2015 WL3756919 (6th Cir. 2015).  Hot off the presses, this decision was published on June 17, 2015. Read More

What NOT to post on Facebook a/k/a Raub v. Campbell, No. 14-1277 (4th Cir. 2015).

May 1st, 2015
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

The 4th Circuit just this past week has published another qualified immunity (QI) case that addresses the protection afforded law enforcement officers who involuntarily commit someone they suspect is cray-cray.  Brandon Raub is a former Marine who made, what some may consider to be, "provocative" Facebook posts; to wit, "This is revenge.  Know that before you die","I know ya'll are reading this, and I truly wonder if you know what's about to ha


March 1st, 2015
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

The Fourth Circuit issued an opinion at the end of January that is really remarkable.  And it's remarkable because, in an age where citizens are getting somewhat (and unfortunately) used to invasions of their privacy, the 4th Circuit clearly puts the kibosh on this kind of police-creep.   Covey v. Ohio County, 2015 WL 309598 (published January 26, 2015) is a very welcome case for those of us practicing in the circuit. The case came be

Goodwin v. Metts, 885 F.2d 157 (4th Cir. 1989), cert denied 494 U.S. 1081.

February 18th, 2015
Elizabeth Franklin-Best

An oldie but goody! This case is notable for the simple reason that it's out of Lexington County where these sorts of things seem to happen more frequently than elsewhere. Interestingly, though, in this case, the elected Solicitor, Donnie Myers, did NOT prosecute the case because he perceived it as weak. However, that didn't stop a private prosecutor from going forward. Here are the facts: Officer Maxwell and Sheriff Metts were found gu