Federal Sentencing Tips


The U.S. Sentencing Commission Continues to Make Fundamental Fixes to the Sentencing Guidelines

The U.S. Sentencing Commission Continues to Make Fundamental Fixes to the Sentencing Guidelines 

By:  Alan Ellis and Mark H. Allenbaugh 

On April 15, 2016, following last year’s important amendments to relevant conduct, mitigating role, and fraud guidelines, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to continue to make fundamental fixes to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines (USSG) that have long been in need of repair. These fixes became final on November 1, 2016.

During this amendment cycle, with respect to matters most pertinent to the white collar practitioner, the Commission addressed needed reform expanding the invocation of compassionate release for elderly and/or seriously ill inmates, addressed a circuit split regarding the sentencing of child pornography offenders who use peer-to-peer software to commit their offenses, and modified conditions of probation and supervised release. While this article focuses on these proposed amendments, the authors note that the Commission also passed important amendments regarding sentencing for animal fighting offenses in light of new legislation and amended the guidelines for alien smuggling. The Commission finally undertook a wholesale rewrite of USSG section 2L1.2, the illegal reentry guideline.

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About Alan Ellis
Alan Ellis is a criminal defense lawyer with offices in San Francisco and New York, with 50 years of experience as a practicing lawyer, law professor and federal law clerk. He is a nationally recognized authority in the fields of federal plea bargaining, sentencing, prison matters, appeals, habeas corpus 2255 motions and international criminal law.

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