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Articles by Dale Chappell

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 ...

Seventh Circuit: District Court Erred in Denying Compassionate Release Motion by Limiting ‘Extraordinary and Compelling’ Analysis to USSG § 1B1.13

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois must consider relevant changes in the law that may impact a prisoner’s sentence, even if those changes are not retroactive, when considering a motion for compassionate ...

Tenth Circuit Announces Adoption of ‘Offense of Conviction Approach’ for Determining Sentence Reduction Under First Step Act § 404(b)

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado erred in relying on the defendant’s underlying conduct, rather than his offense of conviction, to deny his motion for sentence reduction under the First Step Act § ...

SCOTUS Holds Ramos’ Unanimous Jury Requirement Is New Procedural Rule and Announces No New Procedural Rule Applies Retroactively on Federal Collateral Review

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of the United States held that its landmark decision issued on April 20, 2020, in Ramos v. Louisiana, 140 S. Ct. 1390 (2020), which requires that all jury verdicts must be unanimous to convict a criminal defendant of a serious offense, is a ...



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