Sentencing for Juveniles

Sentencing for Juveniles: The Problem of the Juvenile Lifer

By Brandon Sample | May 13, 2019

Are juvenile offenders constitutionally different from adult offenders? In dealing with the issue of sentencing for juveniles, the United States Supreme Court answered that question in the affirmative in two landmark decisions.   In 2012, the Supreme Court decided Miller v. Alabama, which held that imposing a mandatory life without parole sentence for a juvenile…

home confinement

Home Confinement | New BOP Policy Released | April 2019 Update

By Brandon Sample | April 8, 2019

Home confinement for federal prisoners is about to expand with the release of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) new April 4, 2019, Operations Memorandum, Home Confinement Under the First Step Act. You can access a copy of the entire operations memorandum here: BOP Home Confinement Memorandum. We have previously reported about the BOP’s implementation of…

Elderly Offender Program | Early Release

Breaking News: Internal BOP Elderly Offender Program Documents Obtained

By Zachary Newland | March 28, 2019

Consistent with our commitment to hold decision-makers accountable, the Law Office of Brandon Sample has filed a number of FOIA requests with the BOP since the First Step Act became law. Just this week, our office obtained internal Federal Bureau of Prisons documents describing the implementation of the Elderly Offender Home Detention Program and how…

Unlawful Alien

Firearm Laws Applied to Unlawful Aliens

By Brandon Sample | March 25, 2019

The issue of which constitutional safeguards apply to unlawful aliens has been a topic of heated discussion in recent years as the immigration situation continues to dominate national headlines. Many federal courts have danced around issuing clear holdings that define which rights apply to illegal aliens. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case U.S. v.…

Sentencing Objectives

What Are The 5 Sentencing Objectives That Justify Criminal Punishment?

By Brandon Sample | March 15, 2019

We get hit, and we hit back. It is a primal instinctual reaction. It is a fundamental part of being human. Yet, what does that reaction signify? Most likely, we don’t think deeply about it. Indeed, in the moment, the reaction is sudden, immediate, and done without contemplation.   Sentencing Objectives Built Into Our Instinct…

Jury Selection

Examining Racial Bias in Jury Selection

By Brandon Sample | March 3, 2019

Although racial bias is prohibited in the jury selection process, many criminal defendants still find themselves having to challenge the government’s reasons for excluding potential jurors that are of the same race as the defendant. The jury selection process can be one of the most influential aspects of a criminal trial on the outcome, which…

Daubert Standard

The Daubert Standard and Admitting Expert Testimony

By Brandon Sample | February 21, 2019

Scientific evidence can be very persuasive to a jury and has the potential to seriously sway the outcome of a trial. This is why the Supreme Court put standards in place for how a district court must evaluate whether expert testimony and scientific evidence can be admitted at trial. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals…

Criminal Forfeiture

Criminal Forfeiture and Substitute Property

By Brandon Sample | February 17, 2019

If a defendant is charged with a crime, the government may also bring a criminal forfeiture action to collect the property used in the criminal activity. When the defendant’s actual property is not available, the government can obtain an order for the value of the property instead. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals tackled the…

Excessive Fines

Eighth Amendment’s Prohibition on Excessive Fines

By Brandon Sample | February 13, 2019

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…

Sentence Reduction

Sentence Reduction: Adopting the Letter, Not the Spirit of the Law

By Brandon Sample | January 25, 2019

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…