Fines and asset forfeiture are common elements of sentencing in cases involving theft or fraud. The government can seize a defendant’s assets that are alleged to have been involved in his criminal activities. However, the court may order that assets be turned back over to the defendant at sentencing. One of the ways that defendants…Continue Reading Eighth Amendment's Prohibition on Excessive Fines
If a criminal defendant is at the point of already being convicted and sentenced to prison time for a federal offense, then a sentence reduction is a positive development. But what happens if the district court disagrees with an appellate court order for a sentence reduction based on the unreasonableness of the original sentence? The…Read More Sentence Reduction: Adopting the Letter, Not the Spirit of the Law
According to the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (MVRA), defendants convicted of crimes in federal court are required to pay their victims criminal restitution for the losses that they suffered. The case of Lagos v. United States involved an issue of interpretation over the act’s language regarding what types of losses would be eligible for restitution.…Continue Reading Supreme Court Narrows Federal Criminal Restitution
Tax evasion is a serious crime that can result in prison time and hefty fines. Defendants convicted of tax-related crimes typically receive a downward variance from the applicable sentencing range according to the Sentencing Guidelines. However, the opposite proved true for a wealthy defendant involved in a high-profile tax case in New York. The Second…Continue Reading Second Circuit Affirms $10 Million Fine for Tax Evasion
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?
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?
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
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
“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…Continue Reading Pennsylvania’s Sentencing Guidelines: A Review and History
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…Continue Reading Proposed Amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines Published