Author Archive

Aug

Inmates often say that 99 percent of lawyers don’t know the first thing about the Bureau of Prisons and the 1 percent who do are all doing time themselves. Understanding these practice tips, published in BNA's Bloomberg Law, will decrease the 99 percent number. Read the article here.

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 ...

Nov

Attorneys Alan Ellis and Karen L. Landau discuss ways in which federal criminal defendants, who have been convicted of a crime, either after a guilty plea or a trial, may challenge a conviction or sentence. The article, which first appeared in the Criminal Justice, Spring 2002 Edition, answers the following questions: Who is entitled to a direct appeal? What issues ...

Nov

Attorney Alan Ellis and Todd Bussert outline areas about which defense counsel should be aware in order to afford clients the greatest opportunity for post conviction relief. In this article, originally published in Criminal Justice, Volume 25, Number 1, Spring 2010 by the American Bar Association, they explore ethical constraints on defense counsel’s ability to advise clients and to shield ...

Nov

Attorneys Alan Ellis and James H. Feldman, Jr. discuss how the §2255 and §2241 motions are applied to prisoners in custody to vacate their convictions or sentences. Originally published by the National Association of Criminal defense Lawyers, the article answers the following questions: Who can file a §2255 motion? What issues can be raised in a §2255 motion? How does ...

Nov

Attorney Allan Ellis discusses the the four-level scale the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) employs in the designation process that seeks to correlate prisoners’ perceived medical needs to resources, both at institutions and in their corresponding communities. Learn more about the criteria the BOP uses to determine how federal inmates are classified into the four medical levels and how community medical ...

Oct

Have you ever encountered sentencing judges reluctant to direct the probation officer to make corrections to errors in the final Presentence Investigation Report? The same thing—and sometimes with even better results—can be accomplished by asking the judge to issue a Statement of Reasons. Click to read the article.

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 ...

Apr

In this article, published in Bloomberg Law's Criminal Law Reporter and White Collar Crime Report, Alan Ellis and Mark Allenbaugh discuss the importance of effectively using statistics in federal sentencing to avoid unwarranted disparities. The authors provide an overview to practitioners on how to best use the data in mitigation of punishment. Click to read the article.