Author Archive

Jun

The federal presentence investigation report (PSR) is the document most heavily relied on by a judge in imposing sentence—particularly in those cases where a guilty plea has been entered and the court knows little about the defendant. It also is the document that the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) relies on in making designations and placements and many other decisions ...

May

Some of the more interesting insights that I’ve received from judges whom I’ve interviewed for this series have come from those who were criminal defense lawyers. This article focuses exclusively on the information shared by four judges with the unique perspective of both the stage manager and the audience. (1) Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr., from the Southern District of Florida ...

Apr

Most lawyers are understandably unable to advise a first-time federal inmate as to what it will be like in prison. Rarely do they ever get beyond an attorney visiting room. In this four-part series of articles, we, the co-authors of "Federal Prison Guidebook," with the help of Philip S. Wise, retired Bureau of Prisons assistant director of heath services, offer ...

Mar

Most lawyers are understandably unable to advise a first-time federal inmate as to what it will be like in prison. Rarely do they ever get beyond an attorney visiting room. In this four-part series of articles, we, the co-authors of "Federal Prison Guidebook," with the help of Philip S. Wise, retired Bureau of Prisons assistant director of heath services, offer ...

Jan

U.S. District Judges Frederic Block of the Eastern District of New York and Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California in San Francisco are legendary sentencing judges. Read their views on sentencing in this article, Part 10 of the Law360 series, "Views from the Bench," by Alan Ellis. Click to read the article.

Jan

In this article, published in Bloomberg Law's White Collar Crime Report, Alan Ellis, Mark Allenbaugh and Doug Passon discuss the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision examining the use of acquitted conduct at sentencing. The authors argue that based on the high court’s ruling, only facts arising out of a final conviction, and not elements of acquitted, dismissed, or uncharged crimes, ...

Dec

Rule 35 and Prior State Sentences United States v. Hankton, No. 16-31126 (5th Cir. Nov. 16, 2017) In Hankton, defendants, at their federal sentencings, had the time they had served on prior, related state sentences credited toward their federal sentences. Quoting Hank Sadowski, former and now-retired Bureau of Prisons’ Regional Counsel, who has written and lectured extensively on the subject ...

Nov

Provided by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) is a rigorous, residential drug treatment program for U.S. federal prisoners. Each institution's RDAP staff determines eligibility and requires that an inmate has a verifiable documented narcotic drug, prescription drug, or alcohol abuse problem in their Presentence Investigation Report. See the full list of RDAP ...

Nov

This table, prepared by the Federal Defender Program of Chicago in 2001, is a useful predictive tool. It is not an official BOP document and should not be relied on as such. Please note that good time credits do not apply to sentences of one year of less. Click to see the Good Time Credit Calculation Table.

Nov

In this article published by Bloomberg Law White Collar Crime Report, Alan Ellis and Mark Allenbaugh discuss the proposed amendment to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines regarding acceptance of responsibility and challenging relevant conduct. Ellis and Allenbaugh argue that any revised commentary to U.S.S.G. § 3E1.1 should make clear that challenges to relevant conduct, as well as arguments in favor of ...

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