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Articles by Dale Chappell

Wyoming Supreme Court Adopts ‘Castle Doctrine’ for Cohabitants

by Dale Chappell

In a case of first impression before the Supreme Court of Wyoming, the Court held that a cohabitant who attacks another cohabitant in their shared home may raise the “castle doctrine” in a self-defense argument, defending her use of force to protect herself from the other cohabitant ...

Eleventh Circuit Clarifies When a Court Must Conduct Resentencing Following § 2255 Relief

by Dale Chappell

In an issue of first impression for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, the Court clarified when a district court must hold a resentencing hearing, rather than summarily “correcting” a sentence, when granting relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255.

In the ...

Virginia Supreme Court Grants Relief Under Revised Actual Innocence Statute

by Dale Chappell

The change of a single word in Virginia’s actual innocence statute “fundamentally changed the nature” of actual innocence inquiries, the Supreme Court of Virginia announced, finding a petitioner proved his actual innocence under the revised statute.

In 1978, Roy Watford pleaded guilty to the rape of a ...

Colorado High Court Clarifies Crime-Fraud Exception to Attorney-Client Privilege

by Dale Chappell

In a case of first impression, the Supreme Court of Colorado held February 5, 2018, that a party seeking to invoke the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege must demonstrate “probable cause” that a crime or fraud is being committed by the client’s communications with his or ...

California Supreme Court Vacates Conviction and Death Sentence After Experts Recant Testimony

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of California granted a writ of habeas corpus and vacated a first-degree murder conviction and death sentence after several of the experts who testified at trial recanted their testimony over 25 years later.

Vincent Benavides was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death ...

Colorado Supreme Court: ‘Entry of Judgment’ for New Trial Motion Means Both Conviction and Imposition of Sentence

by Dale Chappell

“Entry of judgment” for purposes of a motion for new trial under Criminal Procedure Rule 33(c) means the finding of guilt and the imposition of a sentence, the Colorado Supreme Court held on January 22, 2018, finding a defendant’s motion for new trial was timely filed ...

DOJ: Police Shooting Family Dogs has Become ‘Epidemic’

by Dale Chappell

Cops in this country kill so many dogs each year that a specialist at the Department of Justice’s (“DOJ”) community-oriented program services office says it has become an “epidemic.” The DOJ estimates that around 25 to 30 dogs are killed by cops every day, with some ...

S.C. Supreme Court Rules Counsel’s Failure to Recognize Ex Post Facto Issue in Advising Defendant to Accept Plea Deal Constituted IAC

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of South Carolina found that counsel’s advice to a defendant to take a plea deal to avoid the State’s threat to use a new, harsher sentencing law if he refused to plead guilty was “clearly deficient.” Therefore, the Court reversed the post-conviction relief ...

Ohio Supreme Court: Policy of Inventory Search Upon Arrest Does Not Empower Police to Retrieve Property from Area Protected by Fourth Amendment

by Dale Chappell

Evidence retrieved from a purse unlawfully removed from a vehicle after an arrest violated the Fourth Amendment, despite the existence of a police department policy allowing the search of the purse under the circumstances, the Supreme Court of Ohio held on January 16, 2018.

When an Ohio ...

‘Serious Bodily Harm’ Does Not Include Animals, Massachusetts Supreme Court Holds

by Dale Chappell

The term “serious bodily harm” does not include harm to animals, unless the statute expressly says so, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held, tossing out a youthful offender indictment.

After a 14-year-old juvenile tortured a dog, the Commonwealth indicted him as a youthful offender for cruelty to animals and bestiality under G.L.c. 272, §§ 34, 77. The juvenile court granted the juvenile’s motion to dismiss the indictment because the term serious bodily harm in the youthful offender statute does not include animals. The Commonwealth appealed, and the Massachusetts Supreme Court took the case sua sponte from the Court of Appeals.

A juvenile may be tried as a youthful offender, which includes adult prison time, if the crime would have included prison if he were an adult and he was previously committed under youth services, or if the crime involved serious bodily harm, the Court explained. The question here was whether the term “serious bodily harm” applies only to humans.

Canvassing the Commonwealth’s statutes, the Court concluded that the Legislature expressly included the term “animals” when it wanted the statute to cover or apply to animals. In fact, the Legislature has done so “directly and ...




 

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