Impact of Deportation Proceedings on Federal Appeals

Deportation Proceedings

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

Gamble v. United States: Double Jeopardy and Separate Sovereigns Doctrine

Gamble v. United States, Double Jeopardy, Separate Sovereigns

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

Defendant’s Pre-Trial Cooperation Nets Resentencing

Cooperate with the Government

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

Bridgegate Scandal Lingers On But Some Charges Dismissed

Bridgegate Scandal Image

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

Juror Misconduct After a Conviction: Potential for New Trial?

Juror Misconduct

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?

Impact of Prior State Drug Convictions on Federal Sentences

Prior State Drug Convictions Image

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

Should a Conviction Mean That You Can’t Vote?

Sentencing Issue, Voting Rights, Felon Disenfranchisement Image

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?

Sentencing Discrimination: The Hidden Role of Implicit Racial Bias

Sentencing Discrimination, Implicit Racial Bias Image

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

Plain Error Rule: U.S. Supreme Court Overturns Fifth Circuit

Plain Error Rule, U.S. Supreme Court, Fifth Circuit, Rosales-Mireles v. U.S. Image

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

First Step Act FAQs: Criminal Justice Reform in Action

First Step Act, criminal justice reform

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