Category: Federal Criminal Procedure

November 24, 2014

Smart is the New Tough: A Changing Approach in America’s War on Drugs, Crime?

Fact: the United States incarcerates its citizens at the highest rate in the developed world. Indeed—save one small chain of islands, whose entire population is just a fraction of our prison population—the United States’ incarceration rate is the highest on the planet.  And nearly half of our approximately 1.75 million inmates are serving time for… Read More

November 13, 2014

Where to Draw the Line With Undercover FBI Operations

Several news publications have been making much ado about a tactic the FBI used in 2007 to locate an individual suspected in a series of bomb-threats to Washington state high schools. The FBI created a fake news article, falsely representing it as an Associated Press publication, and sent a link to the suspect’s MySpace account…. Read More

April 30, 2014

Another SDNY Judge Finds the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Wanting

In a sentencing hearing yesterday in the Southern District of New York, yet another judge reached the conclusion that the quasi-mathematical formulaic approach of the United States Sentencing Guidelines fails to account adequately for differences between criminal defendants.  But, in this case, the result was to the detriment of the individual being sentenced in that… Read More

December 20, 2013

First Circuit Reverses District Court Order Granting New Trial

Appellate courts do not often reverse a trial judge’s decision to grant a new trial, so we took notice when the First Circuit did so in United States v. Carpenter.  Given the case history, the First Circuit decision should help to answer an important question:  How much leeway do prosecutors have when summarizing evidence in… Read More

December 11, 2013

Taking Advantage of a Video Poker Glitch Can Land you in Jail in Nevada

Last month, federal prosecutors in Nevada filed a motion to dismiss an indictment that shined a bright light on overly broad federal criminal statutes and the abuse of prosecutorial discretion in using them. John Kane and Andre Nestor were each charged in an indictment in January 2011 with one count of conspiracy to commit wire… Read More

November 5, 2013

District Court Holds Anti-Retaliation Provision of Dodd-Frank Act Does Not Apply in Case Virtually Lacking Any U.S. Connections

A recent decision in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has reinforced the United States Supreme Court’s jurisprudence on the extraterritorial application of federal statutes. In Liu v. Siemens A.G., the plaintiff asserted that he was fired as a consequence of his disclosure of business practices by his employer in… Read More

September 13, 2013

FBI Hacking Into Electronic Devices: An Effective But Invasive Tool

Privacy and national security interests are notoriously tricky to balance.  Lean too far one way, and you lose an important tool in preventing and detecting crime; lean too far the other way, and you are depriving Americans of their liberty through persistent government intrusion and observation. This balancing act has been an especially hot topic… Read More

August 22, 2013

Circuit Split Brewing Over Government Access to Cell Phone Location Data

A split among the U.S. courts of appeals is taking shape over the threshold requirements for the government’s ability to obtain historical cell phone location data, in the wake of a July 30, 2013, ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. That court held that a U.S. district court must order… Read More

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