Alan Ellis Newsletters

Oct

BOP policies are complex and difficult to understand--even defense lawyers find them taxing. Clients and families are more often than not lost in the bureaucratic maze of terminology and regulations, and they turn to their lawyers for explanations. This column consolidates the information from the previous articles and adds new information about how inmates with medical needs will be treated ...

Jun

This article is meant to serve as an easy-to-read primer to help lawyers understand federal sentencing. Over 25 years ago, before the Sentencing Guidelines went into effect, a federal judge could, with a few exceptions, sentence a convicted defendant to anything from probation to the statutory maximum. All that changed when the Sentencing Guidelines went ...

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

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 ...

Jul

  It is important for defense counsel to make sure that the Presentence Investigation Report (PSR) adequately documents any drug abuse or dependency (illegal or prescription) or alcohol problem. Unless a client’s substance abuse is adequately documented in the PSR, he or she may not qualify for the BOP’s Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP), and will not get the chance to ...