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Articles by Dale Chappell

U.S. District Court Grants Savings Clause Petition, Vacates Mandatory Life Sentence

by Dale Chappell

After the case had been sitting in the courts for seven years, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina granted relief under the “savings clause” of 28 U.S.C. § 2255, vacating a mandatory life sentence.

Ian Persaud filed his savings clause petition back ...

Fifth Circuit Reiterates Diligence Under AEDPA Requires Consideration of Actions Both Before and After Filing of Habeas Petition

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held on August 2, 2019, that the failure of a state court to notify a petitioner that his state habeas petition was denied tolls the one-year clock for filing his federal habeas corpus petition, excusing an 18-month delay ...

Fourth Circuit Grants Habeas Relief to Pre-Trial State Prisoner on Double Jeopardy Grounds

by Dale Chappell

Finding that a South Carolina state court violated a state pre-trial defendant’s right against double jeopardy by granting a mistrial when the State wasn’t prepared for trial, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit granted federal habeas relief on June 21, 2019, barring retrial.

Broderick ...

Tens of Thousands of Sentencing Decisions Are Hidden Within PACER, Hindering Access by Lawyers and Defendants

by Dale Chappell

Thanks to technology, judges’ decisions in the thousands of sentences they impose each year get isolated in an unsearchable database called PACER — Public Access to Court Electronic Records. While the public may be able to access a judge’s sentencing decision on PACER, they can only do ...

Chicago PD Creating Files, Background Checks on Citizens Who Speak at Police Disciplinary Meetings

by Dale Chappell

A public records request by the Chicago Tribune found that the Chicago Police Department has been doing background checks and creating files on citizens who speak at weekly meetings of the city’s police disciplinary board. A police spokesman admitted it goes back to at least 2018.

Documents ...

First Circuit Rules Appeal Waiver Does Not Relieve Counsel of Duty to Consult About an Appeal

by Dale Chappell

In a case applying a newly minted U.S. Supreme Court decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that an appeal waiver in a plea agreement did not relieve counsel of his duty to consult with his client about filing an appeal.

When the ...

U.S. District Court Holds Residual Clause of Federal Three-Strikes Law Unconstitutional

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California granted postconviction relief on June 12, 2019, to a federal prisoner serving a mandatory life sentence, holding that the so-called “residual clause” of the federal three-strikes law is unconstitutional.

The case came before the Court in a ...

Eleventh Circuit Holds Time on Appeal Counts When Considering If Sentence Was Imposed Under Residual Clause

by Dale Chappell

In a case that may have lowered one of the hurdles erected by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to stop the flow of relief being handed to federal prisoners under Johnson v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2551(2015) (“Johnson 2015”), the Court held ...

SCOTUS Declares Portion of Federal Supervised Release Statute Unconstitutional

by Dale Chappell

A sharply divided Supreme Court of the United States narrowly held on June 26, 2019, that the revocation provision of the federal sex offender supervised release statute is unconstitutional because it violates the right to trial by jury under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments – so a ...

Second Circuit Holds NY Sodomy Not ‘Prior Sex Conviction’ for Purposes of Federal Statute Mandating Life Sentence for Repeat Sex Offenders

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that a prior conviction for sodomy under New York law is not a valid prior sexual offense conviction under the categorical approach to mandate a life sentence as a repeat sex offender under 18 U.S.C. § 3559(e). ...



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