Sentencing Tips

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 ...

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

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 ...

Sep

Earlier this year, Alan Ellis interviewed Elliot Atkins, Ed.D., a noted forensic psychologist. The highlights of the interview are included in this article, which is intended to provide defense counsel with strategies for more effectively educating the Court about the client whose mental and emotional functioning may have contributed to the commission of the offense. A substantially similar version of this ...

Sep

For the past year and a half, Alan Ellis has interviewed almost two dozen federal judges, discussing with them their philosophies on and advice for lawyers representing clients at federal sentencing. Mr. Ellis saw a pattern across the viewpoints of the judges: they are not getting the information they need during the sentencing phase of a case. Some of the ...

Jul

Part 9 of the Law360 series provides insights from an in-person interview conducted with two judges at the annual Eastern District of California Bench Bar Conference, held last fall. David W. Dratman, a veteran Sacramento criminal defense lawyer of over 39 years, and Alan Ellis had been invited to interview Chief Judge O’Neill of Fresno and former Chief Judge England ...

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