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Protecting You Health & Safety Litigation Guide

Articles by Dale Chappell

In Case of First Impression, Fourth Circuit Holds First Step Act Applies to Those Serving Supervised Release Revocation Sentences

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held on November 20, 2019, that the retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (“FSA”) by the First Step Act applies to those who are serving a sentence after a revocation of supervised release linked to ...

Fourth Circuit Clarifies How to Bring a First Step Act Motion Applying the Fair Sentencing Act

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held on November 20, 2019, that a less familiar provision of 18 U.S.C. § 3582 is the proper vehicle for bringing a motion for relief under the First Step Act, rejecting the district court’s conclusion that First Step ...

Fifth Circuit Holds Davis Retroactive, Conspiracy Cannot Support 924(c) Convictions

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in United States v. Davis, 139 S. Ct. 2319 (2019), declaring another residual clause unconstitutional is retroactive and further held that a conspiracy to commit a crime could not support ...

Book Review: The Habeas Citebook: Prosecutorial Misconduct Is an Invaluable Resource for Challenging Prosecutorial Misconduct

by Dale Chappell

I have to admit that the idea of a citebook in the age of searchable databases was a little lost on me. “Who needs a citebook these days,” I would say. But then Richard, managing editor at CLN, asked me to take a look at a new ...

Montana Supreme Court Holds Automatic 35% Drug Fine Facially Unconstitutional

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of Montana held that the state’s automatic and mandatory fine of 35 percent of the market value of the drugs in a drug-offense conviction is facially unconstitutional, because it doesn’t allow a court to consider the nature of the crime, the defendant’s ability to ...

Thousands of Convictions Questioned; Prisoners Released Show Why Law Enforcement Technology Must Be Tested by Third Parties

by Dale Chappell

Denmark recently released dozens of prisoners after more than 10,000 convictions based on evidence derived from faulty software put people in prison for crimes they didn’t commit.

The problem was with the software used by law enforcement, which used cell-site location information (“CSLI”) to establish that a ...

Ninth Circuit Holds Evidence from Martinez Hearing Can Be Considered in Granting Habeas Relief, Despite Bar Against Evidentiary Hearings on Facts Not Raised Below

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held on November 29, 2019, that evidence obtained by the district court at a hearing on whether state postconviction counsel was ineffective could be used in order to grant habeas corpus relief, despite the ban on evidentiary hearings ...

Federal District Court Grants § 2255 Motion, Finds IAC for Failure to Object to Government’s ‘Misstatement of Law’ During Trial

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas granted a motion to vacate a conviction under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 on October 22, 2019, finding that, in addition to a host of other errors by counsel, the failure to object to the Government’s “misstatement of law” ...

California Supreme Court Overturns Its Warrantless Identification Search Precedent

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of California overturned its previous ruling that had allowed police to search a person’s vehicle for identification as an exception to the warrant requirement under the Fourth Amendment.

The case came before the Court after Maria Lopez was stopped in front of her home ...

California Supreme Court Holds Confidential Personnel Information of Officers on Internal ‘Brady List’ Can Be Disclosed to Prosecutors

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of California held on August 26, 2019, that a so-called “Brady List” maintained by a law enforcement agency about officers who would have credibility problems if called to the stand at trial may be turned over to prosecutors when an officer on that ...



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