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Articles by Dale Chappell

How Cops Use Copyright Laws to Prevent the Public from Recording Their Bad Acts

by Dale Chappell

It’s a disturbing trend, but one that’s very effective. Cops have been playing copyrighted music during encounters with people, in an attempt to prevent them from recording and posting video of the encounter to popular video-sharing social media sites.

Here’s how it works. “I am playing my ...

The AEDPA: A Forgotten Catalyst in Mass Incarceration

by Dale Chappell

When we talk about things that fuel mass incarceration, the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (“AEDPA”) is rarely considered as one of the causes for the over-incarceration of U.S. residents. But take a closer look, and you’ll see that the AEDPA has played an integral role ...

U.S. Sentencing Commission Creates New Sentencing Tool for Judges

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Sentencing Commission (“USSC”) recently created a new tool for federal judges that will let them compare sentences for similar defendants under specific guidelines to help “guide” them on what sentence may be appropriate for an offense. It’s also a valuable tool for the public in ...

California Supreme Court Announces Not All Subsequent Habeas Petitions Under Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act Are ‘Successive’

by Dale Chappell


A subsequent petition for habeas corpus relief filed in a California court is not always a “successive” petition, under the death penalty reform law passed in 2016, the Supreme Court of California held, among other important rulings on the law.

It’s called the Death Penalty Reform ...

Study: Petty Court Fines and Fees Creates ‘Vicious Cycle’ of Debt for Years

by Dale Chappell

A study by the Duke University Law School found, unsurprisingly, that court fines and fees for such petty offenses as parking tickets creates a “vicious cycle of court debt” that lasts for years, hindering most U.S. residents who are struggling to get by. The solution, researchers say, ...

Biden’s DOJ Targets Police Misconduct

by Dale Chappell

In April, the Department of Justice announced it was investigating several police departments for civil rights violations, showing signs that the DOJ under President Biden is revving up its efforts to crack down on police misconduct. It’s a stark contrast to the single civil rights investigation launched ...

D.C. Circuit Joins Seven Other Circuits in Holding USSG § 1B1.13 Doesn’t Apply to Compassionate Release Motions Filed by Prisoners

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit joined seven other circuits and held that a compassionate release motion filed by a prisoner under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A) is not subject to the policy statement in U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Manual (“USSG”) § 1B1.13, after the First ...

California Supreme Court Announces Suspended Execution of Sentence with Probation Imposed Is Not ‘Final’ so New Changes in Law Apply Retroactively on Appeal

by Dale Chappell

In a case that expands the retroactive application of new, more lenient laws passed by the Legislature after a defendant is convicted but is placed on probation with execution of the prison sentence suspended is not yet final where the defendant is still entitled to timely obtain ...

Colorado Supreme Court Announces Mandatory Lifetime Sex Offender Registration Unconstitutional for Juveniles With Multiple Adjudications

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of Colorado held that mandatory lifetime sex offender registration for multiple sex offenses committed as a juvenile constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

T.B. was a juvenile when he committed two state sex offenses—one in 2001 at age 11 ...

California Supreme Court: Furnishing Drugs Resulting in Overdose Death Does Not Automatically Trigger Great Bodily Injury Enhancement

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of California held that a conviction by itself for furnishing a controlled substance to someone who subsequently suffers injury from its use is insufficient, as a matter of law, to establish personal infliction of great bodily injury under Pen. Code, § 12022.7. Rather, the ...



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