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Crime in the Suites An Analysis of Current Issues in White Collar Defense

A Blog About Current Issues in White Collar Defense

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit handed down a ruling earlier this month in United States v. Divens that made it harder for the government to refuse to grant a defendant an additional one-step downward departure for an acceptance of responsibility under United States Sentencing Guideline (U.S.S.G.) § 3E1.1(b). Under the guidelines, defendants are typically given a two-level reduction for acceptance of responsibility pursuant to § 3E1.1(a). Defendants can get another one-step reduction under § 3E1.1(b) on the motion of the government. The Fourth Circuit in Divens rejected the argument that the government should be able to decline to move for an additional one-step departure because the defendant rejected the government’s plea agreement. This case is a significant win for defendants because it makes it much harder for the government to deny a defendant an additional one-step reduction. Additionally, by not being under any pressure to accept a plea agreement, a defendant is able to preserve his appellate rights. This... Read more

On July 14, 2011, Sen. Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking the Department of Justice to clarify its position regarding enforcement of online gambling laws. The tone of the letter suggests that Sen. Reid, who has been a supporter… Read More

On June 17, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled in United States v. Freeman that federal prosecutors in criminal cases have an affirmative duty to investigate the viability of a defense challenge regarding whether a cooperating witness could be lying on the stand. This requirement, as expressed in this new… Read More

James Risen, an investigative journalist for The New York Times, is currently challenging a subpoena issued by the U.S. Department of Justice seeking testimony from him against a CIA agent accused of leaking classified information. The subpoena highlights a trend in which the government attempts to use journalists’ testimony against government employees who reveal information… Read More

Last month, citing evidence that illegal gambling was going on at “Internet cafés” throughout the state, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley issued a new permanent regulation banning gambling at such places. The regulation bans the operation of establishments “where a gambling purpose predominates over the bona fide sale of bona fide goods or services” – in… Read More

Business is booming at America’s for-profit colleges. With steady high unemployment rates, many of the job-hungry have opted to pursue higher or specialized degrees in an effort to make themselves more marketable. Pricy for-profit institutions, like the 400,000 strong University of Phoenix, are flourishing with this increased demand as students flock to their courses to… Read More

New updates to the FBI’s agent manual, the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide (DIOG), greatly expand the FBI’s powers to search for information relating to groups or individuals who are not suspected of wrongdoing. The DIOG, which has been described as a collection of procedures, standards, approval levels, and explanations, to be used by FBI… Read More

Eight months seems a harsh sentence for a juror who made some ill-considered Facebook posts. Harsh, that is, until you hear the facts. The proceeding against U.K. resident Joanne Fraill is one of the first contempt prosecutions ever against a juror for improper Internet use. And the punishment she received is a reminder that, when… Read More

On June 3, 2011, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Representative David Price (D-N.C.) re-introduced the Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (CEJA), which aims to extend U.S. criminal jurisdiction in to U.S. citizens working abroad as federal contractors or employees. Leahy and Price introduced similar legislation in the last congressional session. However, that attempt died in committee… Read More