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Articles by Dale Chappell

Kansas Supreme Court Holds Prosecutor’s Blatant Lies to Jury During Closing Argument Constituted Prosecutorial Misconduct Requiring Reversal of Murder Convictions

by Dale Chappell

A prosecutor’s lies amounted to prosecutorial misconduct requiring a new murder trial, the Supreme Court of Kansas held in a lengthy opinion exposing at least seven major errors by the prosecution.

The Court began its opinion with the following admonishment: “In a criminal prosecution, the State’s obligation ...

Maryland Court of Appeals Announces Proper Procedure for In Banc Review

by Dale Chappell

In a case where in banc review was improperly granted to review a circuit court’s ruling, the Court of Appeals of Maryland took the opportunity to clarify when in banc review can be granted.

After the circuit court granted Bashunn Phillips’ pretrial motion to exclude evidence from ...

Massachusetts Supreme Court Holds Seven-Year Delay and Inability to Receive Sex Offender Treatment While Awaiting SDP Trial Violates Due Process

by Dale Chappell

“While substantive due process permits limited confinement after a probable cause determination, it does not permit the Commonwealth to hold an individual indefinitely while repeatedly seeking a finding of sexual dangerousness,” the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts said in holding that a seven-year delay in finding a ...

New Jersey Supreme Court Holds DNA Exception Tolling Statute of Limitations Applies Only to Suspect Directly Identified by DNA

by Dale Chappell

Tolling of the statute of limitations under the DNA statute applies only to the “actor” directly linked to the crime by the DNA, and not to others involved in the crime, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held. The Court interpreted the word ‘actor’ to mean only ...

Louisiana Supreme Court Holds Counsel’s Failure to Challenge ‘Stark Contrasts’ in Witness ID and Defendant’s Appearance Constituted IAC

by Dale Chappell

Counsel’s failure to challenge the “stark contrasts” between witness descriptions of a suspect and the defendant clearly affected the jury’s conclusion, the Supreme Court of Louisiana held, remanding for a new trial.

With the help of law enforcement, two robbery victims identified Leroy Jackson as one of ...

New Jersey Supreme Court Holds Inventory Search May Not Serve as Ruse for Investigatory Search

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of New Jersey held that police may not use an inventory search as a “ruse” to conduct a broader search to support an arrest, finding that police did not have a valid reason to conduct such a search under the facts present in the ...

ACLU Questions Trade Secrets Protecting DNA Testing Algorithms

by Dale Chappell

DNA testing can be flawed, often in complex ways. However, courts have held that a defendant fighting for his life in court cannot verify if the DNA being used against him was properly tested, because this would require disclosure of the protected trade secrets of the company ...

Kentucky Supreme Court Tosses Evidence Holding Dog Sniff of Nervous Driver with Prior Drug Charges was Unreasonable

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of Kentucky held that a drug-dog sniff based on the nervousness of the driver who had prior drug charges (but not convictions) was an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment, requiring suppression of the evidence found in the search.

“This opinion is not for ...

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Holds Sua Sponte Jury Instruction on Self-Defense Also Applies to Lesser-Included Charges

by Dale Chappell

A sua sponte jury instruction on self-defense for a murder charge applied equally to the lesser-included charge, and a judge’s failure to inform the jury that it could acquit even the lesser charge was “egregious” error requiring reversal, the of Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (“CCA”) held. ...

NY Court of Appeals Affirms Dismissal of DWI for Improper Breathalyzer Refusal Warning

by Dale Chappell

The Court of Appeals of New York found that a driver’s eventual consent to a breathalyzer test was “coerced” and involuntary after police waited more than two hours to ask him to consent to the test. The Court held that the officer’s warning that his refusal could ...

 

 

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