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Articles by Dale Chappell

Government Snitches Rake in Millions as Their Testimony Is the Leading Cause of Wrongful Convictions

by Jacob Barrett and Dale Chappell

The general public’s familiarity with the government’s use of informants in criminal proceedings is largely confined to movies and TV documentaries. Yet, every year, the government negotiates tens of thousands of deals “off the record,” which are subject to few restrictions and have little ...

SCOTUS Holds AEDPA’s Restrictions on Habeas Relief Trump Federal Courts’ Authority Under All Writs Act

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS” or “Court”) held that a federal court’s  transportation order permitting a prisoner to seek out new evidence pursuant to the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651, which authorizes federal courts to “issue all writs necessary or appropriate in ...

Federal Habeas Corpus: Taking an Appeal After the Denial of Habeas Relief

by Dale Chappell

Federal law says that you have the “right” to appeal the denial of federal habeas corpus relief, but there’s a catch—only if the court says that you can. Congress limited the ability to appeal the denial of habeas relief under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act ...

SCOTUS Holds Attempted Hobbs Act Robbery Not a ‘Crime of Violence’ Under a § 924(c)(3)(A)

by Dale Chappell

In resolving a split among U.S. Courts of Appeals, the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) held on June 21, 2022, that an attempted Hobbs Act robbery is not categorically a crime of violence to support a separate conviction for use of a firearm under federal ...

SCOTUS Announces Judge’s Error of Law Constitutes ‘Mistake’ for Purposes of Reopening a Case Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(1)

by Dale Chappell

In a ruling that will likely change how petitioners in federal habeas corpus cases challenge “mistakes” in their cases, the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) held that the term “mistake” in Rule 60(b)(1) includes judicial errors of law and that motions cognizable under that Rule ...

Federal Habeas Corpus: Jurisdictional Pitfalls When Seeking Habeas Relief

by Dale Chappell

Jurisdiction has many meanings, but in federal habeas corpus, it refers to the federal court’s authority to grant relief. While there’s all sort of “shalls” and “musts” in the federal habeas statutes, not all of them are jurisdictional bars to relief. In fact, most of these ...

Commentary: Attacking the Guilty Plea—Court Cautions More Time Possible in Child Porn Case if Post-Conviction Motion Successful

by Dale Chappell

I’M ALWAYS ASKED WHETHER THE COURT can impose a harsher sentence if someone is successful in vacating their conviction or sentence under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. My answer is always the same: It depends, but it can happen.

Usually, a § 2255 motion attacking a guilty plea ...

SCOTUS: No Procedural-Default Exceptions to Excuse Federal Habeas Evidentiary Hearing Bar

by Dale Chappell

In yet another case further limiting the federal habeas corpus remedy, the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) held on May 23, 2022, that post-conviction counsel’s failure to develop a meritorious claim in state court does not excuse the bar to an evidentiary hearing in the ...

Federal Habeas Corpus: Post-Filing Procedures in Seeking Habeas Relief

by Dale Chappell

After you’ve filed your petition for habeas relief in federal court, you may decide to take further actions, such as filing a motion to “stay” your proceedings, to appoint counsel, or to release you on bond pending the outcome of your habeas case. Much of the authority ...

Second Circuit: Multi-Object Drug Conspiracy Involving Crack and Other Drugs Eligible for First Step Act Relief

by Dale Chappell

A single federal drug offense involving both powder and crack cocaine is eligible for a reduced sentence under the First Step Act’s retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (“FSA”), even if the offense includes a non-qualifying drug, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the ...



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