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Articles by Dale Chappell

Government Snitches: Incentivized Witnesses Are the Leading Cause of Wrongful Convictions

by Dale Chappell

Every year, innocent people go to prison, or even death row, because of government informants who lie to get a good deal in their own criminal case. The problem, studies show, is the fact that this horse-trading between the informants and the government is largely informal, unregulated, ...

Facebook Tells Law Enforcement to Quit Using Phony Accounts

by Dale Chappell

Facebook recently told law enforcement to stop using fake accounts as a ruse to bust people on its service. The social media giant also shut down several law enforcement accounts that violated its policy against phony accounts.

The fake accounts came to light in a ...

NY Election Websites Tell Parolees They Can’t Vote, Even Though They Can

by Dale Chappell

Months after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo granted voting rights to most of the state’s parolees, state election websites still say they cannot vote.

More than half the board of elections’ websites expressly state parolees in general cannot vote. In the list of disqualifications on the sites, ...

Montana Supreme Court Overrules Its Precedents Confusing Venue and Jurisdiction, Announces Venue Is Waivable But Cannot Waive Jurisdiction

by Dale Chappell

Overruling its precedent, the Supreme Court of Montana held that venue is not a jurisdictional element and may be waived by a defendant. However, it also confirmed that the State is still required to prove jurisdiction beyond a reasonable doubt, which is not waivable.

Ryan Frankforter was ...

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 sentence. In doing ...

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 ...



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