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Articles by Dale Chappell

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 ...

Seventh Circuit: Four-Year Delay in Filing Appeal Excused Habeas Exhaustion Requirement Because Any Further Attempts for Postconviction Remedies in State Court Would Have Been Futile

by Dale Chappell

Waiting more than four years for a Wisconsin state court to hear a defendant’s appeal was “ineffective to protect the rights secured by the United States Constitution,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled, allowing a federal habeas corpus petition to proceed without exhausting ...

Ninth Circuit: IAC for Failure to Engage Mental Health Expert and Testing, State PCR Court’s Decision Contrary to Federal Law and Defective Factfinding, Habeas Relief Granted

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that trial counsel’s failure to obtain a mental health expert and psychological testing constituted ineffective assistance of counsel (“IAC”), rendering the death-penalty sentences invalid. The Court reversed the denial of habeas corpus relief and instructed the U.S. ...

Fifth Circuit Affirms Habeas Relief and New Trial Based on Counsel’s Failure to Interview State’s Key Eyewitness in Murder Case

by Dale Chappell

Finding that defense counsel’s failure to interview the State’s key eyewitness in a Louisiana murder case constituted ineffective assistance of counsel under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court for the Middle ...

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 ...



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