What Is Sentencing Bargaining, and Why Do We Do It?

sentencing bargaining

It takes place in private. Sometimes it occurs within a matter of minutes. And it has a massive impact on a person’s life. It is the practice of plea bargaining, which sometimes takes the form of sentencing bargaining. You cannot read a book or watch a television program about a legal case where the concept…

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Federal Sentencing Guidelines | What You Need To Know

federal sentencing guidelines

Over the last few decades, the United States has been overrun with politicians telling us to elect them because they believe in locking up criminals – particularly drug criminals – and simply throwing away the key. Being “tough on crime” vis-a-vis federal sentencing guidelines became so ubiquitous in political discourse, it seeped into American culture…

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Sentencing Bias in the U.S. | Why Justice Isn’t Blind

sentencing bias

President Obama, in a speech at Howard University in 2016, provided some thoughtful insight on the existence of implicit bias in our criminal justice system, stating, “And we knew . . . that even the good cops with the best of intentions – including, by the way, African-American police officers – might have unconscious biases,…

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Sentencing Alternatives To Prison Cheered By Reformers

sentencing alternatives

It is becoming increasingly clear that America’s experiment with mass incarceration is a failure. The United States has the dubious distinction of being the world leader in the number of citizens sitting behind bars even though our country is not the world leader in safer communities. Sentencing alternatives are needed. Fortunately, the public is becoming…

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5 Tips For Choosing The Best Sentencing Advocate

sentencing advocate

Procedural crime television shows, courtroom dramas, and suspense thrillers in our current world of pop culture tend to present the bad guy as just that – a “bad guy.” Not a lot of dimensions to the “bad guy” in most cases. Unless of course you have an effective sentencing advocate. Take the television show Law…

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Sentencing to Death? ABA Says Not For Those Under 21

sentencing to death

When it comes to public opinion on the whether sentencing to death is appropriate, to borrow from Bob Dylan – “The times they are a’ changin’.” The American public is losing confidence in the death penalty these days. It appears that people are deeply concerned about innocent people being sentenced to death; about fairness in…

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Sentencing Reform And Federal Prison News – January 2018

sentencing reform

We are a week into 2018 and there is much buzz about what lies ahead in the year from the courts, Congress, and the U.S. Sentencing Commission for federal prison and sentencing reform. Here’s a summary of some of the highlights. (a) Congress – Sentencing Reform Different bills remain under consideration, but none have yet…

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Clemency Project Report Provides Data On Obama Initiative

clemency project report

The U.S. Sentencing Commission has issued an interesting report about President Obama’s clemency initiative. The Commission’s clemency project report is 59 pages in length and discusses the Obama clemency initiative in detail. For example, the clemency project report has several key findings, including: • President Obama made 1,928 grants of clemency during his presidency. Of them,…

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Fifth Circuit To Decide If Texas Burglary Qualifies For ACCA Enhancement

texas burglary

The entire Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to decide whether Texas burglary of a habitation under Texas Penal Code 30.02(a)(1) is equivalent to “generic burglary” under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA). See, United States v. Herrold, No. 14-11317 (5th Cir. 2017).  The court’s decision to rehear Herrold comes on the heels of the Sixth Circuit’s…

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Federal Forfeiture Misuse Curbed By New Supreme Court Decision

federal forfeiture

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a very important decision today concerning federal forfeiture matters. Federal law allows the Government to obtain forfeiture of “property constituting, or derived from, any proceeds the person obtained, directly or indirectly, as the result of certain drug crimes.” 21 U.S.C. 853(a)(1). Terry Honeycutt and his brother, Tony, were charged…

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Dimaya, Oh Dimaya … Where Art Thou?


If you are a federal sentencing fan like me, then you are also likely waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision in Sessions v. Dimaya, No. 15-1498 (yes, it’s now Sessions since AG Lynch is no longer there). At issue in Dimaya is whether 18 U.S.C. 16(b) is unconstitutional in light of the Supreme Court’s 2015 Johnson…

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