Legal News and Views

The 2019 U.S. Supreme Court

What Acquitted Conduct Says about Justice Kavanaugh and Federal Defendants and Supervised Release The Supreme Court has changed drastically over the last two years. With the inclusion of both Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh to the highest court in the Country, there are plenty of questions on what way things will go for federal defendants …

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The Newest SCOTUS

Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh How This Pick Stacks up on Criminal Justice and Dimaya 2018 Marks the second time the Trump administration will have selected a judge to sit on the United States Supreme Court. The first nomination, Justice Neil Gorsuch, widely considered to be a right-leaning partisan pick, actually sided with the defendant in …

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The Difficulty on Bringing State Cases into Federal Habeas Proceedings

Federal Habeas Filings Under §2254 Filing a habeas petition is difficult and very time consuming. Filing an effective habeas petition is even harder. This is in reference to federal inmates filing for 28 U.S.C. §2255 habeas relief in federal court. A majority of these filings fail even before they get a hearing, never getting their day in …

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Federal Sentencing: Criminal History Category

Calculating Criminal History Weight The final piece to sentencing calculations takes into consideration criminal history. Everything from misdemeanor driving crimes (like driving with a suspended license) to prior major felonies, the PSI/R considers the entirety of a defendant’s criminal history. With no criminal history at all, zero points are assigned. Every other instance of past …

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Dimaya Sentence Reductions via §2255

The Sentence Reduction Potential of Dimaya and Johnson On April 17, 2018, the Supreme Court of the United States published an opinion in an immigration case called Sessions v. Dimaya. This case caused waves because the left-leaning justices split with right-leaning justices evenly at 4-4 and the deciding vote was the freshman justice Gorsuch. In …

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28 U.S.C. 2255 Example – A Double Edged Sword

When it Works, Sometimes it Doesn’t In our continuing exploration of 28 U.S.C. §2255 cases, the practice of federal habeas appeals never ceases to be amazing. And confusing. Take, for instance, the case of Howard Handa. 1 United States v. Handa, 122 F.3d 690, (9th Cir. 1997) In this case, defendant Handa was sentenced for …

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Direct Appeal Issues in Federal Court – Plain Error vs. Abuse of Discretion

There are lots of issues that can be raised on direct appeal from an original sentencing hearing or trial. Too many than can be established in one blog post. Lawyers who practice in federal courts spend years litigating cases and studying law at the district level and sometimes at the appeal level. This post gets …

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The 2016 Guidelines Manual Amendments

Today, the 2016 amendments to the United States Sentencing Commission’s Guidelines Manual go live. The topics of this year’s adjustments are: Compassionate Release from Prison; Animal Fighting; Child Pornography Circuit Conflicts; Immigration; and, Conditions of Probation and Supervised Release. Obviously, here we’ll be focusing on the Conditions of Probation and Supervised release, with some later …

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