Professional Profiles


Federal-Sentencing-Lawyer-Alan-EllisAlan Ellis, a past President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Fulbright Award winner, is a criminal defense lawyer with offices in San Francisco and New York, and over 47 years of experience as a practicing lawyer, law professor and federal law clerk.

He is a nationally recognized authority in the fields of federal plea bargaining, sentencing, prison matters, appeals, habeas corpus 2255 motions and international criminal law. He has successfully represented federal criminal defendants and prisoners throughout the United States. Mr. Ellis is a sought-after lecturer in criminal law education programs and is widely published in the areas of federal sentencing, Bureau of Prisons matters, appeals and other post-conviction remedies, with more than 120 articles and books and 70 lectures, presentations and speaking engagements to his credit.

Federal Lawyer Magazine has described him as “One of this country’s pre-eminent criminal defense lawyers.” The San Francisco affiliate of ABC-TV has said that he is “The best in the business.” The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a published decision has described him as a “nationally recognized expert in federal criminal sentencing.” Verdict magazine quotes other legal commentators as saying that he is “the go-to guy in America if you’re in deep trouble with the feds.”

Among his publications are the highly acclaimed Federal Prison Guidebook, the Federal Sentencing Guidebook and the Federal Post Conviction Guidebook. Mr. Ellis also publishes “Federal Sentencing, Prison and Post Conviction News” and related Practice Tips.

In the area of international criminal law, Mr. Ellis was awarded a prestigious Fulbright Senior Specialist Award by the U.S. State Department to conduct lectures in China on American criminal law in the fall of 2007. He was the first practicing American criminal defense lawyer to have been invited to the Peoples Republic of China by both the Chinese and American governments to teach there. Fulbright awards are coveted and confer special status on winners during their year of foreign teaching as outstanding, officially-recognized representatives of the United States. It is one of the most prestigious award programs worldwide. More Fulbright alumni have won Nobel Prizes than those of any other academic program.

Mr. Ellis is

  • Past President, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
  • Contributing Editor, American Bar Association Criminal Justice Magazine, for whom he writes a regular quarterly column on federal sentencing.
  • AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell. An AV Rating is Martindale-Hubbell’s highest ratings for attorneys. It shows that a lawyer has reached the height of professional excellence. He or she has usually practiced law for many years, and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity.
  • Fulbright Senior Specialist. Visiting Fulbright Professor of Law, Jiaotong University School of Law, Shanghai, China.
  • Fellow of the American Board of Criminal Lawyers.
  • Former member of the Board of Directors of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.
  • Past President to the ACLU of Central Pennsylvania.
  • Former lecturer, Wharton School of Business and Finance, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

At the forefront of critical issues facing the criminal defense bar, Mr. Ellis founded the NACDL Lawyers Assistance Strike Force, which has attained national prominence for its support of criminal defense lawyers who are prosecuted, subpoenaed and harassed as a result of their ethical and vigorous defense of their clients. He also founded NACDL’s Amicus Curiae Committee which, during his tenure, filed briefs in over 40 major state and federal cases throughout the United States. For his work in founding NACDL’s Strike Force and Amicus Committee, he was awarded the Association’s 1983 Robert C. Heeney Award for distinguished contributions to the criminal defense bar.

Mr. Ellis has been interviewed extensively by the national media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, USA Today, Forbes magazine ,“NBC Nightly News”, “ABC World News Tonight”, “CNN Prime News”, “CBS Radio News”, “National Public Radio”, Bloomberg News Television, and most recently CNBC.

He has been featured in the American Bar Association Journal, the San Francisco Recorder, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Pacific Sun and profiled by the syndicated TV magazine show, “In America/The West”, as well as KGO TV, the ABC affiliate in San Francisco. Mr. Ellis has written numerous editorials on criminal justice issues which have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Atlanta Constitution, San Diego Union, Oakland Tribune, Sacramento Bee, St. Louis Post Dispatch, Chicago Tribune, Salt Lake City Tribune, Pittsburgh Press, and LaOpinión. Mr. Ellis authors a regular quarterly column on Federal Sentencing for the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Magazine.

He has served as a member of the editorial board of the Criminal Practice Manual published by the Bureau of National Affairs Inc.

A former law professor and federal law clerk to two federal judges, Mr. Ellis is a 1967 graduate of Villanova University School of Law and an editor of the Villanova Law Review.

Click here for Mr. Ellis’ Published Articles.

Click here for Press.


Mark H. Allenbaugh, Of Counsel to the firm, is a nationally recognized expert on federal sentencing, law, policy and practice.  He has served as co-chair of the Sentencing Committee for the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; chair of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Task Force for the D.C. Chapter of the Federal Bar Association; and as a member of the ABA’s Corrections and Sentencing Committee.  He is also a member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Practitioner’s Advisory Group.

Prior to entering private practice, he served as a Staff Attorney for the U.S. Sentencing Commission.  Mr. Allenbaugh has published numerous articles on sentencing policy and criminal justice, which have been cited over 100 times in the top U.S. law journals, and over a dozen times in published federal district and appellate opinions including At a “Loss” for Justice: Federal Sentencing for Economic Offices, 25 Crim. Justice 22 (Winter 2011), “Drawn from Nowhere”: A Review of the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s White-Collar Sentencing Guidelines and Loss Data, 26 Fed. Sent. R. 19 (2013), Federal Sentencing Tips, 37 Champion 40 (2013), Trends and Practice Tips for Representing Child Pornography Offenders at Sentencing, 27 Crim. Justice 29 (2012).  He is a co-editor of Sentencing, Sanctions, and Corrections: Federal and State Law, Policy, and Practice, 2nd ed., Foundation Press, (2002).

Mr. Allenbaugh is licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court and numerous federal and state courts throughout the United States.



Jeff Carson, a federal prison consultant to the Law Offices of Alan Ellis, retired from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in January 2015, after 27 years of service. While employed by the BOP, Mr. Carson had wide ranging experience in Case Management, Sentence Computations, Inmate Classifications and most recently Inmate Placement and Designations. Mr. Carson served as Case Management Coordinator for nine years at which time he was involved in all aspects of inmate programming ranging from Inmate Discipline, Financial Responsibility, Central Inmate Monitoring, and Release Preparation Programming. Additionally, in his role as Case Management Coordinator at FCI La Tuna, he was the coordinator of the Treaty Transfer program and has extensive knowledge in this area. For the past nine years, until his recent retirement, Mr. Carson was an Operations Manager at the Designation Security Classification and Computation Center (DSCC).

The DSCC is the sole entity responsible for the computation of inmate sentences, classification and designation of all inmates in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. As an Operations Manager, Mr. Carson was responsible for these tasks for the Central District of California, District of New Mexico and the Districts in Alabama.

He has extensive knowledge in all aspects of sentence computation including jail credit issues, state concurrency cases, nunc pro tunc, and old law cases. He was also the designated Operations Manager for all juvenile cases. He has expertise in the classification of inmates utilizing Pre-Sentence Investigations, Judgment and Commitment Orders (J&C), Medical Information and any other information necessary to ascertain a security level for designation purposes.

Mr. Carson has provided training seminars for the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, the District of New Mexico Public Defender’s Office and the Western District of Texas Public Defender’s office.



Jonathan Edelstein, Of Counsel to the firm, has practiced criminal defense law for 12 years, with a focus on State and Federal appeals, post-conviction remedies, habeas corpus petitions and challenges to sex offender restrictions.  A graduate of Fordham University Law School, he is admitted to the bar in the State of New York, the United States District Courts for the Southern, Eastern, Western and Northern Districts of New York, the United States Courts of Appeal for the Second, Third and Fourth Circuits, and the Supreme Court of the United States.  Mr. Edelstein has authored or co-authored 15 law journal articles on various aspects of criminal law and has appeared as an Outside Counsel columnist in the New York Law Journal daily newspaper.  His work has been cited by numerous Federal courts as well as the highest courts of New York, Kansas, Maryland and Montana.  Notable cases litigated by Mr. Edelstein include United States v. Corsey, ___ F.3d ___, 2013 WL 3796393 (2d Cir. 2013) (remanded for resentencing where district court applied the maximum sentence without explaining its analysis and where significant mitigating factors existed), United States v. Flores, ___ F.3d. ___ 2013 WL 3957751 (9th Cir. 2013) (finding that there was insufficient evidence to support a sentencing enhancement for use of a minor in a drug trafficking crime), United States v. Garcia, 587 F.3d 509 (2d Cir. 2009) (guilty plea to money laundering vacated on the basis of the Supreme Court’s Cuellar decision); Cotto v. Herbert, 331 F.3d 217 (2d Cir. 2003) (court overcame a procedural bar to find that habeas petitioner was unconstitutionally denied his right to cross-examination); United States v. Graziano, 616 F. Supp. 2d 350 (E.D.N.Y. 2009) (conviction on top count of arson indictment vacated after trial, thus removing defendant’s exposure to a 30-year mandatory minimum sentence); and People v. Hull, 71 A.D.3d 1336 (N.Y. App. Div. 2010) (murder conviction vacated based on gunsmith’s expert affidavit that weapon could have discharged accidentally).



James H. Feldman, Jr., Of Counsel to the firm, practices out of his Ardmore, Pennsylvania office.  In his more than 23 years of practicing post-conviction federal criminal defense, Mr. Feldman has handled numerous sentencings, appeals, and 2255 motions in federal courts throughout the United States.  He is co-author of the Ellis firm’s Federal Sentencing Guidebook and its Federal Post Conviction Guidebook.  Mr. Feldman has also authored numerous articles on federal sentencing and post-conviction remedies including “Litigating in a Post-Booker World,” “Representing the White Collar Client in a Post-Booker World,” “A 2255 and 2241 Primer,” and “Sentencing under the Advisory Guidelines:  A Primer for the Occasional Federal Practitioner.”



Michael Henderson, a federal prison consultant to the Law Offices of Alan Ellis, has over 23 years of experience working with the Bureau of Prisons (BOP). While employed by the BOP, Mr. Henderson had wide-ranging experience in Federal Corrections and Case Management, with expertise in inmate discipline; inmate programs; oversight in two of six Regional Offices for inmate programs, inmate Regional legal appeals, compassionate release applications, and Congressional and Judicial correspondence; Central Inmate Monitoring (special inmate placement and movement); staff training; security classification oversight and prison designations and transfers; and prison facility administration. Additionally, he was an E.E.O. Investigator for the BOP. Mr. Henderson served as the Regional Designator for the Western Region of the United States in the early ’90s and again from 1997 until his retirement in 2000. In that capacity, his duties included oversight of the Federal Bureau of Prisons classification of newly sentenced federal offenders in the western part of the United States. Mr. Henderson worked at several prisons, including High, Medium, Minimum and Administrative Security.  During his career, Mr. Henderson received numerous awards and recognition for his work.  Noteworthy awards include an annual award from the inmate branch of the NAACP at FPC Allenwood, Pennsylvania and the Bureau of Prisons’ National Stanford Bates Award for outstanding contributions to improved Case Management. Mr. Henderson is the co-author of the Federal Prison Guidebook.



Phillip S. Wise was formerly BOP Assistant Director for Health Services.  He received his B. A. from Emory University (Phi Beta Kappa), and his M. Ed. from Georgia State University. He has 25 years of experience with the Federal Bureau of Prisons.  His most senior position was Deputy Director. In that position his responsibilities included national oversight for Health Services, Food Services, and Safety. He managed and had oversight for a $500 million budget. He directed or participated in the development of national policies related to corrections, correctional health care, public health issues and post release services. With the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the other members of the executive staff, he was responsible for the overall administration of the federal prison system.  Over his long career, his varied assignments included the following: Case Management; Drug Abuse Treatment Manager; Staff Training Academy Instructor; Regional Administrator for Correctional Programs; Regional and later National Administrator of Correctional Programs at the Central Office in Washington, D. C., where he later served as a Deputy Assistant Director and Assistant Director.  He was a Warden at the Federal Medical Center for Prisoners at Rochester, Minnesota where he managed medical and surgical inpatient and outpatient programs and forensic mental health programs. He was also Warden at the Federal Prison Camp for female prisoners in West Virginia.  Mr. Wise was a member of the Senior Executive Service and has received numerous honors and awards. He has provided testimony and briefings to members of Congress and senior government officials.  He has considerable experience as an auditor/evaluator of correctional institution operations. Subsequent to his work with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, he served as Vice President of a national correctional health care company that provided specialty health care for inmates in federal, state, and local facilities.  Currently, he consults on medical issues focused on procedures of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.  His primary areas of focus as a consultant are health care, mental health care, case management and female inmate issues. Mr. Wise is a member of the American Correctional Association.



Deborah Bezilla is the Administrative Assistant for the firm. She holds degrees in Accounting and History as well as a Paralegal Certificate from the Pennsylvania State University. She has been with the firm for more than 38 years.


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