Posts by Brandon Sample

Domestic Terrorism: Sentencing Appeal in the Infamous D.C. Sniper Case

domestic terrorism

April brought us the bomber who terrorized Austin, Texas, for two weeks with random mail-bomb attacks. That type of domestic terrorism, however, is nothing new. Domestic Terrorism: The D.C. Sniper Case in 2002 Rewind to October 2002 in the Maryland-D.C.-Virginia area. As you may recall, the so-called D.C. Sniper terrorized that entire region for three…

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Pennsylvania’s Sentencing Guidelines: A Review and History

Pennsylvania's Sentencing Guidelines

“These mandatory minimum sentences are perhaps a good example of the law of unintended consequences . . . “ – U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist The Objective of Mandatory Minimums – A Double-Edged Sword While it is unclear whether former Chief Justice Rehnquist was referring to all mandatory minimum sentences as a policy…

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Proposed Amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines Published

Proposed Amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines

On December 13, 2018, the United States Sentencing Commission published a “reader friendly” version of the proposed amendments to the federal sentencing guidelines. The public comment period for the proposed amendments will run through February 19, 2019. The reply period will officially close on March 15, 2019. The proposed amendments include the following major categories…

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Aiding Illegal Immigrants: Law and Free Speech

Aiding Illegal Immigrants, Aid to Illegal Immigrants, Undocumented Immigrants

It seems logical that it is illegal to assist undocumented or illegal immigrants in entering the U.S. without following any of the immigration procedures. However, the question of an immigration consultant providing aid to an undocumented or illegal immigrant is a bit more complex. Does a prohibition on advising someone who resides in the U.S.…

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Impact of Deportation Proceedings on Federal Appeals

Deportation Proceedings

There are plenty of instances of a defendant in a federal criminal proceeding simultaneously facing deportation as an illegal immigrant. The situation gets a bit more complicated when a federal criminal defendant is out free on bond when he is detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation proceedings. In United States v. Veloz-Alonso, the…

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Gamble v. United States: Double Jeopardy and Separate Sovereigns Doctrine

Gamble v. United States, Double Jeopardy, Separate Sovereigns

On December 6th, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Gamble v. United States, which concerns double jeopardy and the separate sovereigns doctrine. Without question, this case will have massive implications for our country.   Why? Because, at its core, this case calls into question the ability of both the federal…

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Defendant’s Pre-Trial Cooperation Nets Resentencing

Cooperate with the Government

It stands to reason that if a defendant facing criminal charges cooperates with the government, then the government will recommend a reduced sentence. In the case of United States v. Mathes, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals certainly thought so and ordered that a defendant who exhibited “extraordinary cooperation” in the government’s drug trafficking investigation be…

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Bridgegate Scandal Lingers On But Some Charges Dismissed

Bridgegate Scandal Image

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently dismissed two counts of civil rights violations against Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the New Jersey Port Authority, and Bridget Anne Kelly, an ex-aide to former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. They were both convicted of several charges based on their involvement in the infamous…

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Juror Misconduct After a Conviction: Potential for New Trial?

Juror Misconduct

In United States v. French, the First Circuit Court of Appeals addressed an interesting development in a case involving two defendants charged with owning and running a marijuana farming operation on about 80,000 acres of land in Maine. Both defendants were convicted of the drug-related charges but later found out that one of the jurors on…

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