The FIRST STEP Act makes changes to the way that “good time” is assessed by the Bureau of Prisons, retroactively applies the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, Reauthorizes the Second Chance Act, allows inmates to petition the court for compassionate release, bans the shackling of women during child birth, adds “sunlight” provisions to parts of these bills and several other things. This explainer will discuss a majority of portions of the Act.
The piece of legislation known as the FIRST STEP ACT has passed both the House and Senate.
There has been a lot in the news about Congress and tax cuts and healthcare, but there are four bills that I am watching that specifically do with criminal justice reform. I have been reading that there will be a “legislative sprint” this upcoming week and I am hopeful that some of the bills covered […]
I have breaking news about two cases we have been watching very closely. Today, the Supreme Court decided Class v. United States, 16-424. At issue in Class was whether a guilty plea inherently waives a defendant’s right to challenge the constitutionality of his statute of conviction. The Supreme Court held today that a guilty plea […]
There’s been a lot in the news about congress and tax cuts and healthcare, but there are four bills that I am watching that specifically do with criminal justice reform. In addition to the victories that we have had this year, I’ve been reading that there will be a “Legislative sprint” this upcoming week and […]
Madkins was convicted of distribution of cocaine base and distribution of cocaine base within 1000 feet of a school. He was found guilty and was designated a career offender. He had two prior convictions in the state of Kansas for possession with intent to sell cocaine and marijuana. Madkins claimed that the Kansas statutes included […]
In United States v. Strickland, No. 14-30168 the Ninth Circuit vacated a sentence because the term “physical force” under Oregon’s Third Degree Robbery statute doesn’t match the term’s use in the ACCA. Strickland pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to 15 years under the ACCA for three […]
In U.S. v. Concha, the Court reversed the sentence of a person who cooperated because his sentencing court abused their discretion by considering factors unrelated to his assistance. Concha was arrested and agreed to cooperate by delivering both real and counterfeit cocaine. After the delivery, two people were indicted for conspiracy to distribute. A 5k1.1 […]
In U.S. vs. Reyes-Ochoa, No. 15-41270, the Fifth Circuit held that a sixteen-level “crime of violence” enhancement for a Virginia Statutory Burglary was plain error. Reyes-Ochoa was a citizen of El Salvador. He pled guilty to being an alien who knowingly and unlawfully entered the US following deportation. The prior Virginia Statutory Burglary meant that […]
In United States v. Ramos-Gonzales the Fifth Circuit vacated the Southern District of Texas’ “re-imposition” condition of Supervised Release. Ramos-Gonzales was arrested and charged with attempt to transport undocumented individuals. She pled guilty and the PSR suggested a guidelines range of 8-14 months with a 3 year term of supervised release. The first time she […]