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Articles by Dale Chappell

Fee to Plead Guilty Burdens Indigent Defendants in Pennsylvania

by Dale Chappell

A woman in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to stealing $25 in merchandise in 2016. It cost her almost $600 to plead guilty. A man in Fairview Township, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty to possession of a small amount of marijuana in 2017. It cost him $1,000 in fines ...

New Hampshire’s Secret List of Problematic Cops Gets Worse

by Dale Chappell

New Hampshire’s secret list of corrupt and problem cops just got worse. On April 30, Governor Chris Sununu and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald announced that individual cops won’t be placed on the list prior to an investigation into potential credibility problems is completed.

Meanwhile, officers are expected ...

Massachusetts Supreme Court Shifts Burden on Government to Prove by Clear and Convincing Evidence Sex Offender Poses Continued Risk at Termination of Registry Hearings

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held that when a sex offender required to register requests to be reclassified at a lower risk level, or to terminate his obligation to register, the burden is on the Sex Offender Registry Board (“SORB”)—and not the offender—to prove he still ...

South Carolina Supreme Court Rules Mandatory Electronic Monitoring of Sex Offenders Must Be ‘Reasonableness’ Under Fourth Amendment

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of South Carolina held that a state law requiring mandatory electronic monitoring of sex offenders must meet the “reasonableness” standard under the U.S. and South Carolina Constitutions, which requires an examination of the totality of the circumstances before such a condition may be imposed. ...

Connecticut Supreme Court Finds IAC for Failure to Investigate Key Alibi Witness, Grants New Trial

by Dale Chappell

In a case where the defendant’s alibi was his only defense, the Supreme Court of Connecticut held that counsel’s failure to investigate a key witness who could have supported the defense and changed the outcome of the case constituted ineffective assistance of counsel (“IAC”) and affirmed the ...

Massachusetts Supreme Court Overturns Conviction Based on Prosecutor’s False Statement During Closing Argument

by Dale Chappell

A prosecutor’s false statements in her closing argument in an attempt to corroborate a witness’ testimony was fatal to her case, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held, vacating the convictions for rape of a child and indecent assault and battery upon a child.

Angel Alvarez was ...

Massachusetts Supreme Court Tosses Thousands of Drug Cases After Lab Tech Scandal and Government Cover-Up

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts reached a decision in the Amherst lab scandal, where disgraced lab technician Sonja Farak tampered with and stole drugs from thousands of drug samples to be tested in criminal cases, by vacating and dismissing thousands of drug cases that were tied ...

Arizona Supreme Court Strikes Law Categorically Banning Bail for Sexual Assault as Unconstitutional

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of Arizona held that a law categorically banning bail for persons charged with sexual assault was facially unconstitutional, debunking the myth that sexual offenders are “inherently” a danger to the public and that an individualized assessment must be done in every case to satisfy ...

Chicago Judge Grants No-Money Bond in Murder Case, But Cook County Still Has a Long Way to Go

by Dale Chappell

Cook County Judge William H. Hooks took the unusual step of granting murder defendant Jackie Wilson a no-money bond, letting Wilson go free while he awaits a new trial.

Wilson’s conviction was vacated after Hooks concluded his confession was coerced after former Police Commander Jon Burge and ...

Michigan Supreme Court Announces New Rule for Appointing Expert Witness for Indigent Defendants, No Longer Left to Trial Judge’s Discretion

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of Michigan held that a trial judge’s discretion plays no part in appointing an expert witness for a defendant; instead, a defendant must show a “reasonable probability” the expert’s assistance would be needed to prevent a violation of due process. In doing so, the ...



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