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Articles by Dale Chappell

Federal Habeas Corpus: Post-Filing Procedures in Seeking Habeas Relief

by Dale Chappell

After you’ve filed your petition for habeas relief in federal court, you may decide to take further actions, such as filing a motion to “stay” your proceedings, to appoint counsel, or to release you on bond pending the outcome of your habeas case. Much of the authority ...

Second Circuit: Multi-Object Drug Conspiracy Involving Crack and Other Drugs Eligible for First Step Act Relief

by Dale Chappell

A single federal drug offense involving both powder and crack cocaine is eligible for a reduced sentence under the First Step Act’s retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (“FSA”), even if the offense includes a non-qualifying drug, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the ...

Sixth Circuit: No Abuse of Discretion in U.S. District Courts Imposing Habeas Remedy Different Than That Required Under State Law

by Dale Chappell

The proper remedy in granting federal habeas corpus relief to a state prisoner is within the discretion of federal courts and not dependent on what is required by state law, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held.

After the U.S. District Court for the ...

Sixth Circuit: Evidence Withheld by Prosecutor Opens Door for Successive Habeas Petition

by Dale Chappell

After the discovery that the prosecution withheld key pieces of evidence that may have exonerated a man convicted and sentenced to death, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held that this was enough to reopen the door for federal habeas corpus, despite the strict ...

SCOTUS Adds Extra Obstacle to Federal Habeas Relief for State Prisoners, Ruling Both Brecht and the AEDPA Must Be Satisfied

by Dale Chappell

Citing the need to respect the finality of state convictions, the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”) held on April 21, 2022, that a constitutional trial error that’s found to be “substantial and injurious” under Brecht on the verdict must also clear the Antiterrorism and Effective ...

Seventh Circuit: Four-Year Delay in Filing Appeal Excused Habeas Exhaustion Requirement Because Any Further Attempts for Postconviction Remedies in State Court Would Have Been Futile

by Dale Chappell

Waiting more than four years for a Wisconsin state court to hear a defendant’s appeal was “ineffective to protect the rights secured by the United States Constitution,” the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled, allowing a federal habeas corpus petition to proceed without exhausting ...

Ninth Circuit: IAC for Failure to Engage Mental Health Expert and Testing, State PCR Court’s Decision Contrary to Federal Law and Defective Factfinding, Habeas Relief Granted

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that trial counsel’s failure to obtain a mental health expert and psychological testing constituted ineffective assistance of counsel (“IAC”), rendering the death-penalty sentences invalid. The Court reversed the denial of habeas corpus relief and instructed the U.S. ...

Fifth Circuit Affirms Habeas Relief and New Trial Based on Counsel’s Failure to Interview State’s Key Eyewitness in Murder Case

by Dale Chappell

Finding that defense counsel’s failure to interview the State’s key eyewitness in a Louisiana murder case constituted ineffective assistance of counsel under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court for the Middle ...

Second Circuit: District Court Required to Explain Rationale for Reducing Sentence to ‘Time Served’ Under First Step Act but Refused to Reduce Supervised Release Portion of Sentence Despite Being Longer Than New Mandatory Minimum

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit vacated a defendant’s 10-term of supervised release because the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York failed to explain its rationale for not reducing the term when it reduced the incarceration portion of the sentence ...

Tenth Circuit: Where Defendant Actually Sentenced to Drug Treatment and Probation Rather Than 28-32 Months in Prison as Per State Sentencing Guidelines, Conviction Can’t Serve as Predicate ‘Felony’ for 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1)

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that defendant’s sentence for a drug conviction under Kansas law, for which the maximum potential term of imprisonment was 32 months, to a drug treatment program and probation, in lieu of prison, did not render that conviction ...



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