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Prisoner Education Guide

Articles by Dale Chappell

Arizona Supreme Court Strikes Law Categorically Banning Bail for Sexual Assault as Unconstitutional

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of Arizona held that a law categorically banning bail for persons charged with sexual assault was facially unconstitutional, debunking the myth that sexual offenders are “inherently” a danger to the public and that an individualized assessment must be done in every case to satisfy ...

Chicago Judge Grants No-Money Bond in Murder Case, But Cook County Still Has a Long Way to Go

by Dale Chappell

Cook County Judge William H. Hooks took the unusual step of granting murder defendant Jackie Wilson a no-money bond, letting Wilson go free while he awaits a new trial.

Wilson’s conviction was vacated after Hooks concluded his confession was coerced after former Police Commander Jon Burge and ...

Michigan Supreme Court Announces New Rule for Appointing Expert Witness for Indigent Defendants, No Longer Left to Trial Judge’s Discretion

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of Michigan held that a trial judge’s discretion plays no part in appointing an expert witness for a defendant; instead, a defendant must show a “reasonable probability” the expert’s assistance would be needed to prevent a violation of due process. In doing so, the ...

Colorado Supreme Court Holds Ameliorative Amendments Apply Retroactively to Non-Final Convictions

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of Colorado held that amendments to statutes favorable to defendants apply retroactively to non-final convictions, unless the statute contains language that expressly provides it applies only prospectively, resolving a conflict between statutes and its own precedent.

John Stellabotte owned a towing company, illegally towed ...

New York Court of Appeals: Excited Utterance Must Be Based on Personal Observation to Be Admissible as Exception to Hearsay Rule

by Dale Chappell

The New York Court of Appeals reversed a conviction in which an “excited utterance” overheard in the background on a 911 call ostensibly identifying the shooter was used as evidence against a defendant because it could not be established that the person making the utterance personally observed ...

Kentucky Supreme Court Declares Law Defining Intellectual Disability Unconstitutional, Overturns Death Sentence

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of Kentucky held that the state statute determining intellectual disability for disallowing imposition of the death penalty was unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment after recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, overturning the death sentence of a man on death row for over 20 years ...

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Holds FTA Does Not Affect Independent Speedy Trial Violation by Prosecutor

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania held that a defendant’s failure to appear (“FTA”) for trial after the prosecution had already violated its duty to provide a speedy trial did not excuse the prosecution’s violation, requiring dismissal of the charges with prejudice.

Daniel Barbour was charged in two ...

Colorado Supreme Court Announces ‘Preponderance of the Evidence’ Standard for Determining Voluntariness of Consent to Search

by Dale Chappell

The Supreme Court of Colorado held that the burden of proof in determining whether a person voluntarily consented to a warrantless search is a preponderance of the evidence, rather than the higher clear and convincing evidence standard, thereby clarifying a misapplication by the lower courts over the ...

Judge orders Tacoma to pay fines, attorney fees over stingray records

by Dale Chappell

A Pierce County judge hit the City of Tacoma, Washington, with nearly $300,000 in fines and fees for violating the state’s Public Records Act (“PRA”), when it failed to turn over records on its use of stingray devices.

The court said the city deliberately withheld documents ...

First Circuit Holds Sixth Amendment Speedy Trial Clock Starts Upon Original, Not Superseding, Indictment When Based on Same Act or Scheme

by Dale Chappell

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that a superseding indictment based on the same conduct as the original indictment does not reset the Sixth Amendment speedy trial clock and affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the charge in the indictment.

In March ...


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