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Articles by Dale Chappell

Second Circuit: District Court Required to Explain Rationale for Reducing Sentence to ‘Time Served’ Under First Step Act but Refused to Reduce Supervised Release Portion of Sentence Despite Being Longer Than New Mandatory Minimum

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated a defendant’s 10-term of supervised release because the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York failed to explain its rationale for not reducing the term when it reduced the incarceration portion of the sentence ...

Tenth Circuit: Where Defendant Actually Sentenced to Drug Treatment and Probation Rather Than 28-32 Months in Prison as Per State Sentencing Guidelines, Conviction Can’t Serve as Predicate ‘Felony’ for 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1)

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that defendant’s sentence for a drug conviction under Kansas law, for which the maximum potential term of imprisonment was 32 months, to a drug treatment program and probation, in lieu of prison, did not render that conviction ...

Geofencing Warrants Are Putting Civil Rights and Free Speech in Jeopardy

by Dale Chappell

Hundreds of protestors marched in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in August 2020. Little did these protestors know that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms issued at least a dozen geofence warrants to gather data from their electronic devices they carried that ...

Fourth Circuit: State’s Failure to Plead Procedural Default Results in De Novo Review on Merits; Prosecutor’s Comments to Jury to Send ‘Societal Message’ Denied Defendant Fair Trial, Habeas Relief Warranted

by Dale Chappell

THE U.S. COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE Fourth Circuit held that a prosecutor’s comments were so improper that they violated a defendant’s constitutional right to due process and habeas relief was warranted.

Charles Plymail was convicted of second-degree sexual assault in 1993, after a jury found him ...

California Court of Appeal: Peremptory Challenge to Judge in Habeas Case Subject to 10-Day Filing Period, Not 60 Days, Under § 170.6(a)(1)

by Dale Chappell 

Deciding a question of first impression, the Court of Appeal of California, Fourth Appellate District, held that an order to show cause by the California Supreme Court in a habeas corpus case, returnable to the superior court, requires that a motion to disqualify the judge must be ...

SCOTUS: Rehaif Error Doesn’t Automatically Require Reversal of Conviction, Plain-Error Test Must Be Satisfied for Re-lief

by Dale Chappell


The Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) held that for felon-in-possession cases, a Rehaif error does not establish a basis for plain-error relief unless the defendant can show that he would have presented evidence at trial that he was unaware of his felon status at ...

Sixth Circuit: Michigan’s Ordinarily ‘Adequate’ Contemporaneous-Objection Rule, in Unique Circumstances, May Not Procedurally Bar Federal Habeas Review

by Dale Chappell 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that Michigan’s contemporaneous-objection rule, requiring an objection to an error in the trial court even if the error is unknown at the time to defendant and counsel, is not an adequate state rule to procedurally bar a ...

Eighth Circuit Reiterates Statute of Conviction Determines Eligibility for Sentence Reduction Under First Step Act, Not Actual Conduct

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reiterated that it is the statute of conviction that determines First Step Act relief under the retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (“FSA”), not the defendant’s actual conduct or drug amount involved.

The case came ...

Sixth Circuit Vacates Sentence for Impermissible Triple-Counting of Guidelines Enhancements for Ungrouped Offenses

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that enhancements under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines (“USSG”) that were applied to all three counts of conviction that were ungrouped were impermissible triple counting, and contradicted the intent of the Guidelines’ grouping instructions.

Jermaine Clark committed three ...

Sixth Circuit Announces District Court Has Power to Waive Interest on Restitution Post-Sentencing, Resulting in Circuit Split

by Dale Chappell

Acknowledging a circuit split on the issue, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that district courts have the authority to waive interest on restitution post-sentencing.

Edmund Phillips was nearing release and filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the Western District ...



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