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Prisoner Education Guide

Articles by Dale Chappell

Sixth Circuit Holds Tennessee Burglary Not Violent Felony Under ACCA, Overturning Previous Controlling Authority in Light of SCOTUS’ Mathis Opinion

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that Tennessee third-degree burglary, as interpreted by the Tennessee Supreme Court, cannot qualify as generic burglary under the Armed Career Criminal Act (“ACCA”), granting 28 U.S.C § 2255 relief and vacating an 18-year ACCA ...

Maine Supreme Court Rules Double Jeopardy Bars Re-Use of Evidence at Second Trial After Acquittal Based on Same Evidence at First Trial on Different Charges

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Judicial Court of Maine held that double jeopardy barred the use of the same evidence used in a first trial that resulted in an acquittal on other charges during a second trial on a different charge.

John Weckerly was indicted in 2012 on, among other ...

Minnesota Supreme Court Clarifies Rule Against Judicial ‘Participation’ in Plea Negotiations

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of Minnesota clarified the rule barring judicial “participation” in plea negotiations, overturning decades of decisions by the court of appeals, which had applied the wrong rule of law in such cases.

When Jetaun Wheeler was accused of murder, the State offered a plea to ...

Study Shows Reassigning Problem Cops Could Have Saved Chicago More than $6 Million in Lawsuit Payouts

by Dale Chappell

A study by Northwestern University concluded that by simply reassigning officers with the most citizen complaints could have saved the Chicago Police Department more than $6 million in lawsuit payouts between 2009 and 2014.

“The belief that a small number of officers are responsible for an outsized ...

Iowa Supreme Court Announces New SOL Rule for Consecutive Postconviction IAC Claims

by Dale Chappell

Citing constitutional problems if a petitioner is denied a remedy where defense counsel was ineffective, the Supreme Court of Iowa announced a new rule to allow a subsequent postconviction review (“PCR”) petition raising the same ineffective assistance of trial counsel (“IAC”) claim even after the statute of ...

South Carolina Supreme Court Holds Broken Chain of Custody for Drug Evidence Requires Reversal of Conviction

by Dale Chappell

In a case where the State failed to prove the complete chain of custody of the evidence it relied on at trial, the Supreme Court of South Carolina ruled the evidence inadmissible and that the conviction had to be reversed.

After Timothy Pulley was stopped by two ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...


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