Category: Federal Criminal Procedure

July 10, 2013

High Court Clarifies Rule on Plea Discussions in Federal Criminal Cases

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court held last month in United States v. Davila that a guilty plea does not need to be automatically vacated, regardless of whether there has been prejudice to the defendant, when a magistrate judge improperly advises a defendant to plead guilty. In 2009, Anthony Davila was charged with conspiracy… Read More

May 24, 2013

A Legislative Solution to Prosecutors’ Tracking of Suspects Via Their Devices?

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the landmark 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona underlined the importance of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments and drew a line that law enforcement must not cross – all in the interest of protecting individuals’ constitutional rights. Unfortunately, however, the high court was not as clear regarding the level… Read More

April 19, 2013

Court to Rule on Exceptions to Warrant Requirement for GPS Tracking

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit is set to become the first federal appellate court to answer the question left open by the Supreme Court in United States v. Jones. Last year, the Court held in Jones that a Fourth Amendment “search” occurs, and a warrant is required, when a GPS tracking… Read More

March 11, 2013

Court: Data on Unsecured Network May Qualify for 4th Amendment Protection

The vast increase in the use of wireless data networks has led to new legal issues regarding network users’ right to privacy. A recent opinion issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon indicates that, under some circumstances, individuals on an unsecured wireless network have a reasonable expectation of privacy entitling them… Read More

February 20, 2013

Does ‘Speech or Debate’ Trump the Right to Defend Oneself in Court?

On February 5, 2013, the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House of Representatives filed a brief urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to hold that U.S. legislators and their aides cannot be forced to testify about their legislative activities, even when their expected testimony might help exonerate a criminal… Read More

November 5, 2012

DOJ Should Not Withhold Information From Defense in High-Profile Leak Case

Lawyers for Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a former federal contractor employee accused of unlawfully disclosing sensitive information, recently filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia criticizing the government’s withholding of information in the case and asking the court to order the government to produce the documents. The government should not… Read More

May 9, 2012

Brady Rights Require Attention, but This Bill Is Flawed

While the prosecution of former Senator Ted Stevens is long over, the fallout from the prosecutorial misconduct in that case continues. Congress is now considering legislation that attempts to ensure that federal prosecutors comply in a meaningful way with their obligations under Brady v. Maryland and its progeny. The legislation has some provisions that could… Read More

March 2, 2012

Justice Would Be Served by an ‘Open File’ Policy for Prosecutors

A couple of years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice made an effort to systematize and improve its discovery obligations under Brady v. Maryland, the 1963 Supreme Court case that requires prosecutors to disclose information in their files that would tend to exculpate criminal defendants. A U.S. attorney, speaking at a conference of defense lawyers,… Read More

January 27, 2012

High Court: Police Tracking of Suspect Via GPS Requires Warrant

Last November, we discussed the U.S. Supreme Court’s oral argument in United States v. Jones, which posed the question of whether police need to obtain a warrant before attaching a GPS device to a suspect’s vehicle during a criminal investigation. We noted that in this case, 21st-century technology had come face to face with the… Read More

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