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Category: Blog

From case law developments to perspectives to news, you'll find it here.

July 14, 2022
Bureau of Prisons Publishes New Male PATTERN Risk Scoring Form

The Federal Bureau of Prisons has published a new male PATTERN Risk form. Over the next few days we will break down what that means. What is PATTERN? This is what we indicated PATTERN was in our blog explaining the impact of the FIRST STEP ACT one year after its passage: A significant part of […]

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July 13, 2022
Attorney General Appoints New Bureau of Prisons Director

The Attorney General has picked someone to replace embattled former director Michael Carvajal as director of the Bureau of Prisons. BOP:  Attorney General Selects New BOP Director Below is an excerpt from the BOP Website about Peters. (BOP) - Today, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that he has selected Colette S. Peters to serve as […]

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July 12, 2022
Supervised Release Modifications Allowed: Fourth Circuit

United States v. Morris, No. 18-6926 (4th Cir. 2022) District Refuses Modification of Supervised Release Morris pled guilty to two child pornography offenses and was sentenced to sixty months imprisonment.  This was to be followed by a term of ten years of supervised release.  Four years into his sentence, Morris moved to modify eight conditions […]

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July 12, 2022
Serious Drug Offense Depends on Version of Controlled Substance Act

Serious drug offense case remanded to be sentenced without the ACCA enhancement. United States v. Jackson, 21-13963 (11th Cir. 2022) Jackson entered a guilty plea to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.  This was in violation of 18 U.S.C. 922(g). According to the factual basis in support of his plea, […]

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July 11, 2022
Amended 924(c) by First Step Act Applies to Resentencing: Ninth Circuit

Resentencing in three consolidated appeals may use the Amended 924(c) statute as remanded by the Ninth Circuit Court.  United States v. Merrell, No. 20-30183, 20-30189, 21-30043 (9th Cir. 2022) Appeals Process with 924(c) Convictions This case involves three consolidated appeals involving resentencing.  Each defendant had been resentenced following a successful 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion based […]

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July 5, 2022
Plea Agreement Rejected and Government Not Allowed to Withdraw Charges

  When the Court rejected the plea agreement, the government was not allowed to withdraw a lesser charge in the Sixth Circuit. United States vs. Bell, No. 21-5008 (6th Cir. 2022). Bell and Plea Agreement In August 2018, a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment which charged Bell with distribution of a controlled substance resulting […]

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June 30, 2022
Supreme Court Makes Important Decision for Scienter in Drug Cases: Ruan

This case present a general scienter provision of knowingly or intentionally dispensing controlled substances as authorized. Xiulu Ruan v. United States  Ruan's Supreme Court Syllabus Petitioners Xiulu Ruan and Shakeel Kahn are medical doctors licensed to prescribe controlled substances. Each was tried for violating 21 U.S.C. 841, which makes it a federal crime, “[e]xcept as […]

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June 30, 2022
Supreme Court: FIRST STEP Act Allows Courts to Consider Intervening Changes in the Law at Resentencing: Concepcion

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued their ruling in Concepcion vs. United States, No. 20-1650.  Concepcion holds that the First Step Act allows district courts to consider intervening changes in law when resentencing a defendant. Syllabus of Concepcion Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 to correct the wide disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentencing. […]

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June 30, 2022
Ninth Circuit: Use/Carrying Explosive Not Crime of Violence for 924(c) Purposes: Matthews

United States v. Matthews, 19-56110 (9th Cir.) Matthews was convicted of maliciously damaging or destroying property by means of an explosive, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 844(i); and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 924(c). Per statute, an explosive device qualifies as a “firearm” under 924(c), and required […]

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June 22, 2022
Commentary in Career Offender Guidelines: Circuit Split

Vargas argued that an inchoate offense such as conspiracy does not qualify as a “controlled substance offense” as defined by the Guidelines. Vargas' Argument in District and Fifth Circuit Court Vargas pled guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. The probation officer determined that Vargas was a career offender under U.S.S.G. 4B1.1(a) […]

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