Whether someone provides “truthful information” to qualify for a reduced sentence under the safety valve is not up to the government, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held on August 21, 2020. U.S. v. Lima-Rivero, 19-10759 (5th Cir. Aug. 21, 2020).  After pleading guilty to possession of methamphetamine, the defendant provided information…

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In my first column in a series on federal habeas corpus for state and federal prisoners, we’ll go over time limits for filing in federal court and how those time limits are calculated. The following information is adapted from my book WinningCites: Section 2255, A Handbook for Prisoners and Lawyers. AEDPA and Affirmative Defenses There…

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As previously discussed, actuarial risk assessment tools are not new. It is only their modern application that marks them as such. This attitude may prevent positive prison reform in the future, as these tools reflect ingrained biases in the current system. Supporters of actuarial risk assessment tools argue that they are fairer because they rely…

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Actuarial risk assessments are among the most popular tools used in American sentencing reform. However, their usage as sentencing reform tools is the subject of some controversy. Their main purpose is to identify individuals who are at risk of re-offending in the future. While these tools do provide some insight, research often neglects to mention…

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