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…

Armed Career Criminal Act, ACCA

Defining Burglary Under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA)

By Brandon Sample | December 31, 2018

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…

Sentencing For Conspiracy

What Is the Possible Sentencing for Conspiracy?

By Brandon Sample | December 30, 2018

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…

Appeal Waiver

Requirement of Consideration for Appeal Waivers

By Brandon Sample | December 29, 2018

Plea deals may seem like the most opportune way for a criminal defendant to avoid having to serve the maximum sentence that he could receive for his offenses. However, the government typically has the upper hand in this situation and requires that the defendant relinquish his right to appeal the sentence. In United States v.…

Fair Sentencing Act

Fair Sentencing Act of 2010: Retroactivity FAQs

By Brandon Sample | December 28, 2018

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…

Habeas Corpus Petition

A Rare Win for Habeas Corpus Petitioner

By Brandon Sample | December 26, 2018

Habeas corpus, otherwise known as the Great Writ, is a way for the defendant to challenge his detention by the government as unlawful. Given that courts so rarely grant writs of habeas corpus, the petition is sometimes considered a last-ditch strategy to avoid serving a prison sentence. In fact, courts have issued habeas corpus writs…

Sentencing Modification

Requirement to Explain Sentencing Modifications

By Brandon Sample | December 25, 2018

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…

Supervised Release Term

Supervised Release Term Appeal Potentially Goes Awry

By Brandon Sample | December 24, 2018

One of the key strategic decisions in deciding whether to appeal a criminal sentence is whether there is a possibility to receive an even harsher sentence. In the case of United States v. Lopez-Pastrana, the First Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a supervised release term that was imposed on a defendant who was not actually sentenced…

Right to a Jury Trial

Challenging Waivers of Right to a Jury Trial

By Brandon Sample | December 23, 2018

Federal courts are obligated to err on the finding that a constitutional right has not been waived in a criminal case. This is true for a defendant’s right to a jury trial. What is ordinarily a mundane issue of federal criminal procedure recently ended up generating an overturned conviction in a fraud case. In United States…