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Legislative Update: A Puzzling Juxtaposition

While the Acquitted Conduct Act advocates for fair sentencing, another legislative proposal seems to pull in the opposite direction.

A Bipartisan Move for Justice

In a surprising turn of events, the Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act, spearheaded by Congressman Steve Cohen, made its way through the House Judiciary Committee on November 2, 2023. Notably, the bipartisan measure earned unanimous approval with a 23-0 vote, paving its way to the floor of the full House of Representatives.

Putting an End to Unjust Practices

The Act, introduced in September, addresses a longstanding concern in the justice system. It aims to halt the unfair practice of judges enhancing sentences based on conduct for which a defendant has been acquitted. The Bill expressly states that a court shall not consider acquitted conduct for purposes other than mitigating a sentence.

The Act's definition of "Acquitted Conduct" covers scenarios where individuals were charged but adjudicated not guilty or received a favorable disposition in a prior charge. Additionally, it encompasses acts underlying criminal charges that were dismissed in federal, state, or tribal courts. Essentially, if an individual is found not guilty at trial, that conduct should not be used against them during sentencing.

A Contradictory Move

While the Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act advocates for fair sentencing, another legislative proposal seems to pull in the opposite direction. On October 30, 2023, Senate Joint Resolution 47 was introduced, referring to the Senate Judiciary Committee. This resolution expresses disapproval of a rule related to the 'Office of the Attorney General; Home Confinement Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.'

Challenging the CARES Act Provision

Senate Joint Resolution 47, if passed by both the House and the Senate and signed into law, would effectively terminate the CARES Act provision allowing individuals convicted of a crime to remain on home confinement. Notably, President Biden has signaled a veto threat if the resolution reaches his desk.

A Head-Scratching Dilemma

The stark contrast between these two legislative moves raises questions about the coherence of current policy directions. On the one hand, there's a push for fair sentencing, emphasizing that acquitted conduct should not influence sentencing decisions. On the other hand, there's a potential roll-back of the CARES Act provision, suggesting a shift towards a stricter approach for individuals on home confinement.

As these bills progress through the legislative process, their implications for the justice system and those currently on home confinement remain uncertain. Stay tuned for further updates on this intriguing legislative juxtaposition.

If anything here applies to you, contact us today.

At The Law Office of Jeremy Gordon, we fight aggressively for our clients. We are experienced, and know what it takes to present a successful defense in a federal criminal case. For prompt, courteous and skilled representation as your federal criminal defense attorney, contact us today to schedule a free phone consultation.
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