Sentencing Posts

Reading the Plea Leaves

Oct 25, 2023

Reading the Plea Leaves

Are guilty pleas in Fulton County confirming the righteousness of Fani Willis’ RICO prosecution or do they reflect an inherent frailty of the case, even in a venue where jurors largely can be expected to instinctively support a prosecution of high-profile Republicans? A close look at the recent plea agreements suggests that prosecutorial victory laps…

When Acquitted Conduct Becomes Untouchable

Jul 27, 2023

When Acquitted Conduct Becomes Untouchable

Alphonse Gabriel Capone was never prosecuted for murder, so there was never a jury determining whether Al was responsible for the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in which seven gang rivals were executed by Capone’s underlings. Instead, “Scarface” Capone was prosecuted and convicted for felony tax evasion offenses, for which he received 11 years in…

Singing the Varsity Blues – Convictions Vacated For Two Defendants in the College Admission Scandal.

Jun 19, 2023

Singing the Varsity Blues – Convictions Vacated For Two Defendants in the College Admission Scandal.

On May 10, 2023, the First Circuit Court of Appeals provided welcoming news to two of the defendants in “Varsity Blues” the college admissions scandal – their convictions were being vacated. Former Wynn Resorts executive Gamal Abdelaziz and private equity executive John Wilson were just two of dozens of high-profile defendants charged with various white-collar…

Officer Misconduct Reform Issues Highlighted in Brooklyn District Attorney’s Dismissal of Nearly 400 Convictions

Sep 20, 2022

Officer Misconduct Reform Issues Highlighted in Brooklyn District Attorney’s Dismissal of Nearly 400 Convictions

On September 7, 2022, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office announced its request to vacate nearly 400 convictions, dating back to 1999, that were founded on testimony provided by officers who were later found guilty of crimes committed while on duty. Among the 13 officers’ crimes are murder, planting drugs, taking sex bribes, civil liberties violations,…

A Tiny Crack in the Wall?

Dec 10, 2019

A Tiny Crack in the Wall?

Federal sentencing proceedings have a long and rich history of including every speck of good and bad that a defendant brings to the table. Unlike the trial itself, there are no Rules of Evidence that apply to keep the factfinder from considering unreliable or unproven information. The judge need only find facts by a preponderance…

The Cliffhanger – Paul Manafort’s Sentencing Drama

Feb 14, 2019

The Cliffhanger – Paul Manafort’s Sentencing Drama

A hit man walks into a restaurant where Tony Soprano and his family are eating dinner while the jukebox blares a Journey song. The last show of the highly successful series ends with an abrupt cut to black before the audience knows the fate of Tony and his family. The end of The Sopranos series…

DOJ’s New Charging and Sentencing Policy Will Disproportionately Impact Vulnerable Populations

May 15, 2017

DOJ’s New Charging and Sentencing Policy Will Disproportionately Impact Vulnerable Populations

On May 10, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum that expressly rescinds previous Department of Justice (DOJ) policy and directs federal prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” against federal defendants. The likely result of this harsher approach to the enforcement of federal drug laws is a return to…

Will Clemency Continue?

Feb 1, 2017

Will Clemency Continue?

There are many big policy changes happening in Washington these days and they receive appropriate press coverage. But, there are also many smaller changes that can have literally life changing effects on citizens, which are not generally reported in the media. One of those smaller changes is whether the Trump administration will revive a clemency program…

‘Tis the Season of Giving: Supreme Court Expands Insider Trading Liability to Recipients of “Gift” Stock Tips

Dec 6, 2016

‘Tis the Season of Giving: Supreme Court Expands Insider Trading Liability to Recipients of “Gift” Stock Tips

Just in time for the holiday season, the Supreme Court has ruled that gift-giving is truly its own reward.  But far from embodying the spirit of generosity that typically goes with that saying, the Court has ruled that the warm feeling one gets from giving to others can give rise to criminal insider trading liability….

Even Bad Guys Have Rights

Mar 7, 2016

Even Bad Guys Have Rights

This article first appeared February 29, 2016, on FEE.org – you can access this version here. Remember Martin Shkreli, the “pharma bro” notorious for raising the price of his company’s life-saving drug by some 5,000 percent? Did you know he was recently arrested for securities fraud (completely unrelated to the drug hike)? It didn’t take long…