Convictions for crimes involving fraud, embezzlement or theft typically result in the defendants having to pay some amount of money in federal criminal restitution upon sentencing. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed the imposition of a federal criminal restitution order in United States v. Johnson over the objections of a defendant who argued…Continue Reading Challenging Federal Criminal Restitution Orders for Tax Related Crimes
One thing about any particular industry, field of study, business, or technology is that the area seems to have its own language. The computer world, for example, seems to have a completely foreign language involving RAM, gigabytes, memory sticks, and USB ports. And what about Twitter? Does anyone remember the times when we had a…Continue Reading Sentencing Meaning: What Does All The Jargon Mean?
What happens when a federal district court imposes a seemingly draconian or arbitrary condition on a defendant’s federal supervised release? Is this condition allowed to stand? The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently addressed this issue in United States v. Mears and provided a necessary refresher on the requirement that any federal supervised release conditions…Continue Reading Reexamining Federal Supervised Release Conditions
The federal sentencing guidelines require that a court examine the criminal history of a defendant when he is being sentenced. The more offenses that a defendant accumulates, the higher the category for criminal history he falls into. The higher the category, the longer the minimum sentence that must be imposed. The Third Circuit Court of…Continue Reading Is a Traffic Stop an Arrest for Sentencing?
The First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a federal district court’s sentencing enhancement for a defendant who served time in prison for coercion and enticement of a minor and failed to update his personal information as a registered sex offender during his term of supervised release. This article details those sex offender registration requirements and…Continue Reading Sentencing for Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration Requirements
Federal criminal defendants are entitled to enter into plea agreement negotiations with prosecutors. It is a long-standing rule that federal district court judges are not to take any part in the plea negotiations between the defendant and the prosecution. In United States v. Iazzetta, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a defendant’s restitution order because…Continue Reading Judge Interferes with Plea Negotiations
The Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) applies a specific set of sentencing provisions to convicted felons who use a firearm in the commission of a crime with a prior record of violent offenses. In United States v. Stitt, the Supreme Court recently addressed the question of what exactly constitutes a burglary for purposes of determining…Continue Reading Defining Burglary Under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA)
We hear the term conspiracy all the time. Rarely is there a crime drama where a conspiracy charge isn’t filed or threatened; or where there is sentencing for conspiracy. In fact, recently the Democratic National Committee filed a lawsuit alleging that the Trump presidential campaign, Russia, Wikileaks, and Trump’s son and son-in-law engaged in a…Continue Reading What Is the Possible Sentencing for Conspiracy?
Plea deals may seem like the most opportune way for a criminal defendant to avoid having to serve the maximum sentence that he could receive for his offenses. However, the government typically has the upper hand in this situation and requires that the defendant relinquish his right to appeal the sentence. In United States v.…Continue Reading Requirement of Consideration for Appeal Waivers
With the passage of the First Step Act of 2018, there’s a whole lot of people, both in and out of prison, that have kicked their hustle game into high gear. But this can be very dangerous, particularly when the individual giving “advice” does not know what they are talking about. That is on top…Fair Sentencing Act of 2010: Retroactivity FAQs - Learn More
Habeas corpus, otherwise known as the Great Writ, is a way for the defendant to challenge his detention by the government as unlawful. Given that courts so rarely grant writs of habeas corpus, the petition is sometimes considered a last-ditch strategy to avoid serving a prison sentence. In fact, courts have issued habeas corpus writs…Continue Reading A Rare Win for Habeas Corpus Petitioner
Sentencing modifications are typically good news for a criminal defendant. In fact, it seems odd that a defendant would appeal a reduction in his prison sentence. However, if a defendant receives a reduction that is less than what he thinks he is entitled to, he may try to challenge the judge’s decision, especially if the…Continue Reading Requirement to Explain Sentencing Modifications
One of the key strategic decisions in deciding whether to appeal a criminal sentence is whether there is a possibility to receive an even harsher sentence. In the case of United States v. Lopez-Pastrana, the First Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a supervised release term that was imposed on a defendant who was not actually sentenced…Continue Reading Supervised Release Term Appeal Potentially Goes Awry
Federal courts are obligated to err on the finding that a constitutional right has not been waived in a criminal case. This is true for a defendant’s right to a jury trial. What is ordinarily a mundane issue of federal criminal procedure recently ended up generating an overturned conviction in a fraud case. In United States…Continue Reading Challenging Waivers of Right to a Jury Trial
What is the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018? President Trump recently signed into law the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018 (“AVAA”). The AVAA is named after some of the victims of child pornography who were among the most widely disseminated images identified by…Continue Reading The Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018