Sentencing Tips

Jul

At the time then-judge Gorsuch was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Trump, we wrote about his position on "relevant conduct." A year later, President Trump has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to take the seat of retiring Justice Kennedy. Judge Kavanaugh shares the concerns of Justice Gorsuch on the impact judge-found facts drive federal sentencings, often increasing terms of ...

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 ...

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

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 ...

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.

Mar

Reproduced with permission from Bloomberg BNA's White Collar Crime Report, 3/31/2017 Alan Ellis and Mark Allenbaugh discuss the proposed amendment to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines regarding acceptance of responsibility and challenging relevant conduct. The authors 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 departures and ...

Mar

Plea Bargained vs. Open Pleas: What the Data Reveal By Alan Ellis, Esq., and Mark H. Allenbaugh, Esq. Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11 governs guilty pleas for federal criminal defendants. This expert analysis examines the raw sentencing data published by the U.S. Sentencing Commission regarding the types of pleas defendants enter and the sentences they receive. In particular, we examine the number ...