About the Zen Law Guy

Dale Chappell
Legal Analyst, Zen Law Guy

The mission statement of Zen Law Guy is simple:

To help attorneys and their clients obtain a better outcome in court, and help people facing prison do so successfully.

And our motto promotes this mission:

Be helpful.

There’s an old saying that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. I fell in love with federal criminal law when I began studying it back in 2009. What motivates me is the unfairness of it all. Nothing moves me more than someone being treated unfairly, and the federal criminal justice system is hardly fair or “just.”

The more people I helped, the more people I found who needed help. This stuff has never been “work” to me.

Early on, I had some success and began teaching others who had the same drive to help others in this line of work. This led to me becoming an author of several books explaining federal criminal and post-conviction law.

I’ve also written hundreds of published articles on these subjects over the years. I’ve been called a trusted source on federal law, working with attorneys and their clients on federal criminal and post-conviction cases.

Helping people is my passion. I’ve gathered a select “team” of people at ZLG who have the same mission. I’m honored that they’ve chosen to work with me.

Dale Chappell, the Zen Law Guy


I have hundreds of published articles and columns on federal sex offenses and on topics affecting federal and state prisoners seeking federal habeas corpus relief. Many of my writings can be found at these links:

Prison Legal News Magazine

Criminal Legal News Magazine

The National Lawyer’s Guild

How to Contact Me

Perhaps the best way to contact me is by using the form below:

And while debate is always welcome, hate speech is not. Let’s focus on helping people. Thanks.


Dale Chappell, the Zen Law Guy

  • Should the Supreme Court Be More Transparent? - With the recent “leak” of a monumental Supreme Court decision, I`ve heard arguments that the Supreme Court should be more transparent so the public would have more trust in the highest court in the land. But I`ve also heard arguments that the Court`s work should be kept guarded to avoid any untoward influence. After gathering […]
  • Wisconsin Court Delays Criminal Appeal to Stop Federal Lawsuit Over Police Misconduct - A Wisconsin court has delayed a defendant`s criminal appeal for over four years in a seeming attempt to prevent his federal lawsuit to move forward against the cops for use of excessive force during the search of his house, and for falsifying court documents relating to that search. The federal judge said his lawsuit had […]
  • FBOP lockdown exposes serious deficiency in the federal government’s actions resulting in imminent danger to vulnerable victims - Being violently assaulted in prison is simply not `part of the penalty that criminal offenders pay for their offenses against society.’ Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994) (quoting Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981)) Contents Introduction Background and conditions Predators and prey in prison Mechanisms for obtaining help Adverse changes during […]
  • Facebook Bans Zen Law Guy - Facebook has banned Zen Law Guy’s account because we create content designed to help sex offenders and those who work with sex offenders. We received an email from Facebook on December 31, 2021, saying that ZLG’s “activity” violated Facebook’s “community standards.” There was no report of a complaint made, Facebook didn’t point to any specific […]
  • ZLG Publishing Acquires Bendale Publishing - I`m pleased to announce that ZLG Publishing, Ltd., has acquired Bendale Publishing. This move will allow ZLG to have full control of my books, from the first idea to the finished product. Instead of guessing (and hoping) when my books will be published, now I`ll know. And we`re admittedly not one of the “Big House” […]
  • ZLG Publishing, Ltd., Announces Its First Line of Books - ZLG Publishing, Ltd., is pleased to announce that its first line of books will be available for purchase in mid- to late-2022. This includes the Insider`s Guide series on federal habeas corpus, and the Worse Than a Murderer series on federal sex offenses, all written by Dale Chappell. This comes after a frustrating two years […]
  • My Books Are Coming Late 2022 - After several setbacks over the last two years, all four of my books are slated to go on sale in late-2022. I learned a lot about how publishing works — and more about how it doesn`t work — since I signed a contract with a publisher in 2019 for my books. I was excited because […]
  • BEING OK WITH BEING SAD - Today my daughter, Kylyn, would have been 27. She died when she was 9, just days before Christmas in 2003, after struggling with a rare syndrome called Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (cdlsusa.org). I turned to pills and alcohol to deal with the uncomfortable feelings that came from her death. For years, I avoided feeling sad […]
  • ALABAMA USES COVID RELIEF MONEY TO BUILD NEW PRISONS - Unsurprisingly, lawmakers in Alabama have decided to use money the federal government gave the state to recover from COVID-19 to build more prisons. That’s right: One of the states hit hardest by the pandemic is taking money from its struggling residents so it can lock up even more of them. This is the same state […]