Sentencing Tips

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 ...

Jun

Criminal defense lawyers consider Judges John R. Adams and Otis D. Wright, II, tough sentencers. Judges Justin L. Quackenbush and Walter H. Rice are viewed as being at the opposite end of the spectrum. In Part 5 of this series, I learn how similar they were on what constitutes good sentencing advocacy, despite their reputations. Click to read the ...

May

Judge Cynthia A. Bashant of the Southern District of California in San Diego and Judge Jon D. Levy of the District of Maine in Portland were both appointed by President Obama in 2014 and confirmed at the same time. Lawyers consistently describe both as “right down the middle” at sentencing. Read the information they shared in an interview for Part ...

Apr

This compilation contains unofficial text of amendments to the sentencing guidelines, policy statements, and commentary submitted to Congress, and is provided only for the convenience of the user. Official text of the amendment can be found on the Commission’s website at www.ussc.gov and will appear in a forthcoming edition of the Federal Register.   Click ...

Apr

By Alan Ellis and Mark H. Allenbaugh On April 15, 2016, following last year’s important amendments to relevant conduct, mitigating role and the loss table in the fraud guidelines, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to continue to make fundamentally fixes to the Sentencing Guidelines, which have long been in need of repair. These fixes will become final on November 1, 2016, ...

Apr

As the third part of the Law360 "Views From The Bench On Sentencing Representation" series of articles continues to develop, I have had the privilege of interviewing 12 federal judges to date. Through conversations with each of them, I have recognized the value of sharing the thoughts of the judges on specific topics. For this article, I asked the judges ...

Mar

This second article in the series, "Views from the Bench," published in Law360's White Collar Expert Analysis section, shares the views of Judge Schiltz of the District of Minnesota and Judge Scola of the SD of Florida. The judges shared their thoughts on a defendant's remorse, restitution and some of their pet peeves in sentencing proceedings. Click to read ...

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, ...

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