There are plenty of instances of a defendant in a federal criminal proceeding simultaneously facing deportation as an illegal immigrant. The situation gets a bit more complicated when a federal criminal defendant is out free on bond when he is detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation proceedings. In United States v. Veloz-Alonso, the…Continue Reading Impact of Deportation Proceedings on Federal Appeals
On December 6th, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Gamble v. United States, which concerns double jeopardy and the separate sovereigns doctrine. Without question, this case will have massive implications for our country. Why? Because, at its core, this case calls into question the ability of both the federal…Continue Reading Gamble v. United States: Double Jeopardy and Separate Sovereigns Doctrine
The double jeopardy rule is one of the more commonly understood principles of the criminal justice system. Per the Fifth Amendment, no “person [shall] be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” If a defendant cannot be tried twice for the same crime, then what gives state…Continue Reading Double Jeopardy Rule Reexamined
It stands to reason that if a defendant facing criminal charges cooperates with the government, then the government will recommend a reduced sentence. In the case of United States v. Mathes, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals certainly thought so and ordered that a defendant who exhibited “extraordinary cooperation” in the government’s drug trafficking investigation be…Continue Reading Defendant's Pre-Trial Cooperation Nets Resentencing
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently dismissed two counts of civil rights violations against Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the New Jersey Port Authority, and Bridget Anne Kelly, an ex-aide to former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. They were both convicted of several charges based on their involvement in the infamous…Continue Reading Bridgegate Scandal Lingers On But Some Charges Dismissed
In United States v. French, the First Circuit Court of Appeals addressed an interesting development in a case involving two defendants charged with owning and running a marijuana farming operation on about 80,000 acres of land in Maine. Both defendants were convicted of the drug-related charges but later found out that one of the jurors on…Continue Reading Juror Misconduct After a Conviction: Potential for New Trial?
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently tackled a complicated issue involving the application of New York state drug laws to the federal sentencing guidelines for a defendant convicted of possessing Xanax with the intent to distribute and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon. In United States v. Townsend, the Second Circuit took a critical…Continue Reading Impact of Prior State Drug Convictions on Federal Sentences
Voter suppression laws, gerrymandering, and challenges to the Voting Rights Act are all attacks on citizens’ right to vote, and on their vote being counted. Another voter suppression tactic – one that has been around for centuries – is the use of “felony disenfranchisement” laws in the United States, i.e., laws that restrict the right…Continue Reading Should a Conviction Mean That You Can't Vote?
Judges who hand down criminal sentences every day in our federal and state courts engage in sentencing discrimination without even really understanding or being aware of it. How do we know that is true, and what can we do about it? Strangely enough, part of the answer can begin on Broadway. “What do Broadway musicals…Continue Reading Sentencing Discrimination: The Hidden Role of Implicit Racial Bias
The best way to present a cogent, organized, and persuasive sentencing argument is through a Sentencing Memorandum. As you may know, in either state or federal criminal court, the next stage following any criminal conviction is the sentencing stage. During this phase of the criminal process arguments from both sides are made to the judge,…Continue Reading 5 Essential Aspects of a Sentencing Memorandum
Normally, if a trial court made an obvious mistake in calculating a person’s sentence the mistake should be corrected, right? Well, if the Fifth Circuit had its way, the answer would be “no.” Luckily, the U.S. Supreme Court in a June 2018 decision set the record straight on the proper application of the plain error…Continue Reading Plain Error Rule: U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Fifth Circuit
It could be the most significant step in criminal sentencing and prison reform in a generation. But, the FIRST STEP Act faces one major obstacle standing in the way of passage – Kentucky Senator and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. And this could be the one and only chance for this historic bill to pass.…Continue Reading McConnell Pressured to Allow Passage of First Step Act
A Tentative Deal in the Senate May Finally Pave the Way for the Most Substantial Rewrite of the Nation’s Criminal Justice Laws in a Generation. Having just worked our way through a blistering midterm election season, there is little question that our country is divided. Indeed, come January 2019, Congress will officially be divided with…Continue Reading First Step Act Prison Reform Bill Update
On November 14, 2018, criminal justice and prison reform advocates finally heard what they had wanted to hear for almost a year: President Donald Trump is “thrilled to announce his support” for the bipartisan First Step Act criminal justice reform legislation. With President Trump’s support of this legislation the last true obstacle to the First…Continue Reading First Step Act FAQs: Criminal Justice Reform in Action
Just like the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, many states have their own version of sentencing guidelines, and sentencing charts. The State of New York is no exception. The Sentence Chart in New York for state crimes is particularly complicated. In fact, there is not just one sentencing chart in New York, but four. Moreover, those four…Continue Reading Sentencing Chart in New York: A Closer Look