Guilty Plea

The Effect of a Guilty Plea on an Appeal

By Brandon Sample | January 10, 2019

A guilty plea does not necessarily mean that a criminal defendant gives up the right to appeal his conviction. If the defendant seeks to challenge the constitutionality of the statute that he pled guilty to violating, he may still have the right to a direct appeal from a district court’s decision. This is the principle…

Capital Punishment, Eighth Amendment

Capital Punishment and the Eighth Amendment

By Brandon Sample | January 9, 2019

The Supreme Court is preparing to decide a complex appeal in Moore v. Texas, which involves a defendant who was convicted of murder and sentenced to execution but claims that he is intellectually disabled. Pursuant to the Supreme Court’s decision in 2002 in Atkins v. Virginia, it is unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment to execute…

Right to Counsel

Does Right to Counsel Begin Before Indictment?

By Brandon Sample | January 8, 2019

A defendant on trial in a criminal proceeding is entitled to an attorney for his defense. In the event that a defendant cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one. This tenet of U.S. criminal law is widely known and has been a basic principle of criminal procedure since the country was founded. The…

Confidential Business Information, mail and wire fraud statutes

Wire Fraud and Stealing Confidential Business Information

By Brandon Sample | January 7, 2019

Employees of corporations have varying levels of access to the corporation’s information that the business may consider confidential. One significant source of criminal prosecutions is the use of confidential information by employees for their own personal gain and to the detriment of the company. When does benefiting from confidential business information cross the legal line?…

Federal Criminal Restitution, amount of a restitution order

Challenging Federal Criminal Restitution Orders for Tax-Related Crimes

By Brandon Sample | January 6, 2019

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…

Sentencing Meaning

Sentencing Meaning: What Does All The Jargon Mean?

By Brandon Sample | January 5, 2019

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…

Recidivism Reduction ,Early Release, early release from prison, Elderly Offender Pilot Program

Reexamining Federal Supervised Release Conditions

By Brandon Sample | January 4, 2019

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…

Traffic Stop, Criminal History, Sentencing Guidelines

Is a Traffic Stop an Arrest for Sentencing Purposes?

By Brandon Sample | January 3, 2019

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…

Sex Offender Registration

Sentencing for Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration Requirements

By Brandon Sample | January 2, 2019

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…

Plea Negotiations, Plea Deal

Judge Interferes with Plea Negotiations

By Brandon Sample | January 1, 2019

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…