Alan Ellis Newsletters

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 ...

Jun

Attorneys can take advantage of clarifying amendments after November 1, 2015, certainly at sentencing and on direct appeal (ideally if raised in the district court below) inasmuch as the amendments merely clarify pre-existing Guidelines language. New counsel may even arguably raise them in the context of an ineffective assistance of counsel claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §2255 in the event ...

Mar

Ensure Your Client Serves Time in the Best Facility Once a defense attorney understands how the system works, there are four things he or she can do to ensure that a client serves time in the best possible facility. Ensure the accuracy of the information on which the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) will rely to make its designation decision. Score the client and ...