Alan Ellis Blog

Mar

Law360 is publishing a series of articles written by Alan Ellis. For the first installment of the series, Mr. Ellis interviewed two federal judges at length and asked them to share some do’s and don’ts for lawyers who appear before them at sentencing. Click to read the article.

Dec

By Alan Ellis, Mark H. Allenbaugh, Robert Hunter, and Douglas C. Crawford Click for the PDF version. When imposing a sentence, the US Sentencing Guidelines (USSG) instruct judges to consider and weigh two distinct aspects of the crime: “the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant.” ...

Nov

This article is adapted from Alan Ellis’ Federal Prison Guidebook.  I want to acknowledge the contributions of Deborah Bezilla, Todd Bussert, Bruce W. Cameron, Jeff Carson, J. Michael Henderson and Ian Gold. The notion of sex offenders as pariahs in correctional settings is not without foundation. Like the rest of society, ...

Oct

By Alan Ellis and Mark H. Allenbaugh Click for the PDF version of this article. INTRODUCTION  According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, federal prosecutions of child pornography possession, distribution and production offenses rose more than 2000% since 1992. This is far and away the fastest growing prosecution rate of any of the major offense ...

Oct

I've been practicing law for nearly 50 years. During that time, I have had a great deal of experience with judges who have been willing to share all manner of suggestions. This article presents some of their best advice for white-collar criminal defense attorneys whose clients are facing sentencing. Minimize citations in your sentencing memorandum. ...

Sep

RDAP is the only BOP program through which federal prisoners can earn a sentence reduction.  To qualify for RDAP, one must, inter alia, have at least 24 months or more remaining to serve; present a verifiable, documented pattern of substance abuse or dependence within the 12-month period preceding arrest on the underlying ...

Sep

By Alan Ellis and Mark H. Allenbaugh On April 9, 2015, the US Sentencing Commission voted to fundamentally fix some portions of the US Sentencing Guidelines that have been in need of addressing for quite some time. On April 30, 2015, the Commission submitted to Congress amendments to the federal sentencing guidelines pursuant to its authority under 28 U.S.C. ...

Sep

Click for the PDF version. Approximately 97 percent of all federal criminal defendants plead guilty. Seventy-five percent of those who proceed to trial are convicted. There is, therefore, almost a 99 percent chance that a person charged with a federal crime will ultimately face a judge for purposes of sentencing, and 87.6 percent will be sentenced to prison. Thus, ...

Sep

Click for the PDF version of this article. Approximately 97 percent of all federal criminal defendants plead guilty. Seventy-five percent of the others who proceed to trial are convicted. Almost 99 percent will ultimately be sentenced. Over 87 percent will be sentenced to prison. Thus, for most offenders the three key concerns are: “How much time am ...

Sep

Click for the PDF version of this article. The process of designating a facility for service of a federal sentence has become more complex and involved. Previously, an inmate was assigned a security level and a Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facility with a corresponding security level was identified and designated. Now, however, in addition to receiving a security level, each ...

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