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Articles by Dale Chappell

Former Illinois State Attorney Indicted: Misconduct, Misappropriation of Funds

by Dale Chappell

A former Illinois state attorney was indicted by a grand jury September 5, 2017, on 17 counts of misconduct and misappropriation of public funds in connection with a special police force he created.

Brian Towne created the State's Attorney's Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Unit in 2011 ...

DNA Sketches Answer Prayers, Raise Concerns

by Dale Chappell

When Chantay Blankinship was killed in May 2016 in Brown County, Texas, the police had no leads other than DNA found at the crime scene. Her family isolated themselves out of fear the killer could be right next to them. Then they got a break in the ...

Maine Supreme Court: State Must Provide Evidence to Support Probation Revocation

by Dale Chappell

The State carries the burden of proving that a probationer has violated his probation in order to support a revocation of probation, the Maine Supreme Court held on December 12, 2017.

Cory Kibbe was sentenced in 2004 to 20 years in prison, with all but four years ...

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals: Right to Appeal Judge’s Questioning Not Forfeited by Failure to Object

by Dale Chappell

The right to appeal a judge’s improper questioning of a witness during trial was not forfeited by the defendant’s failure to object contemporaneously because such an error is not forfeitable and can be raised for the first time on appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas ...

Ohio Supreme Court: Courts Can Seal Case Records Prior to Expiration of Statute of Limitations

by Dale Chappell

A trial court may seal the records of a person whose case has been dismissed without prejudice before the statute of limitations for the offense expires, the Ohio Supreme Court held on September 27, 2017.

In March 2015, Colton Dye was charged by the State for arson ...

Massachusetts Supreme Court: Sleeping Juror Is “Structural Error,” Requires Intervention

by Dale Chappell

The Massachusetts Supreme Court reversed convictions for involuntary manslaughter and assault and battery and ordered a new trial because the trial judge failed to conduct voir dire after the prosecutor advised that some jurors fell asleep during trial.

Anthony Villalobos took his murder and assault charges to ...

California Court of Appeal: Prior Felony Does Not Convert “Wobbler” Into Felony

by Dale Chappell

The fact that a defendant admitted he had prior qualifying felonies for a Cal Pen Code § 665(a) enhancement does not convert his current “wobbler” into a felony, and the trial judge retained authority under section 17(b) to reduce the wobblers to misdemeanors, the Court ...

First Circuit: Plain Error Standard Met When Trial Court Emphasized Erroneous Jury Instruction

by Dale Chappell

The trial court’s repeated inclusion of an erroneous element in the jury instructions amounted to a “plain error,” which led the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to vacate the defendant’s conviction.

Jose Lattore-Cacho was convicted by a jury in U.S. District ...

Fifth Circuit: “Fugitive from Justice” Enhancement Requires Intent to Avoid Prosecution

by Dale Chappell

The government must show that a defendant had the “express intent” in fleeing to avoid prosecution to prove he was a “prohibited person” under the “fugitive from justice” definition with respect to owning a semiautomatic firearm capable of accepting high capacity magazines, the United States Court of ...

Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas: Holds Trial Objection Enough to Preserve Issue for Appeal

by Dale Chappell

When counsel objects at trial to a particular issue—even if it had failed to raise it in a pre-trial written motion—that objection is enough to “preserve” the issue for review on appeal, the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas held.

During an armed robbery of a mobile ...




 

Federal Prison Handbook

 

Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual

 

Federal Prison Handbook