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Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual

Articles by Dale Chappell

New York Court of Appeals Overturns Murder Conviction, Finds Prosecutor Withheld Critical Video Evidence in Violation of Brady Obligations

by Dale Chappell

The New York Court of Appeals overturned a murder conviction on postconviction review, finding that the State’s failure to provide surveillance video of the crime coupled with telling the jury that no video of the crime exists during closing argument undermine confidence in the verdict, and thus, ...

Seventh Circuit Reaffirms Sex Trafficking and Kidnapping Are not Violent Felonies for 924(c) After Davis

by Dale Chappell

After a remand by the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, on July 30, 2019, reaffirmed its earlier decision in two cases that the “residual clause” of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) is unconstitutionally vague and that sex trafficking and felony kidnapping ...

Sixth Circuit Holds Career Offender Status Does not Bar Retroactive FSA Relief Under First Step Act

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held on November 21, 2019, that a person sentenced under the career offender guideline does not bar the district court from granting relief under the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (“FSA”), which was made retroactive by the First ...

Third Circuit Grants Habeas Relief in Loss of GBMI Plea in Pennsylvania Court Due to IAC, Announces New Rule

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit granted habeas relief on September 3, 2019, to a Pennsylvania state prisoner who had lost his opportunity to enter a “guilty but mentally ill” (“GBMI”) plea because of trial counsel’s ineffective assistance, which in effect deprived him of ...

Tenth Circuit Holds Davis Retroactive, Retaliation Against a Witness Not Crime of Violence Under § 924(c)

by Dale Chappell

In a lengthy opinion addressing two issues of first impression in the circuit, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit held that United States v. Davis, 139 S. Ct. 2319 (2019) (holding 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(3)(B) void for vagueness), created a new substantive right that’s ...

U.S. District Court Holds Hobbs Act Robbery not Crime of Violence for § 924(c), Grants § 2255 Motion

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California granted a motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, holding that substantive Hobbs Act robbery is not categorically a crime of violence to support a conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 924(c).

For over two decades, Rey Chea had ...

Hawai’i Supreme Court Announces New Rule Requiring Both Judges and Juries to Consider Numerous Factors in Witness ID Cases

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of Hawai’i held on October 1, 2019, that when a judge assesses the admissibility of an eyewitness’ identification of a defendant, not only does the jury have to consider a list of factors in deciding if the witness has properly identified to defendant, but ...

NYPD Creating Petty Crimes to Lock People Up

by Dale Chappell
What would you do if you found an “abandoned” bag containing valuables and cash? Would you pick it up? Back in 2006, at least 220 people did just that and found themselves arrested on charges of petty theft. It was all a scheme by the New York ...

Man Freed Who Sat in Prison Nearly 30 Years While Prosecutors Withheld Evidence of Innocence

by Dale Chappell

A man who sat in prison for almost 30 years because prosecutors and police withheld evidence that someone else committed the crime was set free July 16, 2019, after a Philadelphia judge said he was “likely innocent.”

In 1993, Chester Hollman III was convicted and sent to ...

High Bail Amounts Lead to Sharp Increase in Franklin, PA, Jail Population

by Dale Chappell

In Franklin County, Pennsylvania, a rural area with about 154,000 residents, high bail amounts are forcing people who can’t afford to purchase their freedom to plead guilty just to get out of jail for what are typically small-time misdemeanors.

Take, for example, the case of Tiana Lescalleet, ...



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