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Federal Pretrial Issues

The Do’s and Don’ts of Federal Pretrial

A couple of things can trigger the beginning of a federal criminal prosecution. We see in the news all the time that the Department of Justice investigates and charges federal crimes, but those are newsworthy cases. In normal cases, either a criminal complaint, indictment, or FBI raid is the first action that alerts somebody that they have just become a “defendant.”

The normal course of criminal justice is mundane and workaday. Papers get filed, and ordinary citizens get charged with committing federal crimes.

Whatever the situation, a brand new federal criminal case has been opened and a new defendant has been named. Now what?

In an informative video series, PCR Consultants discusses a few of the biggest pitfalls of federal investigations. Who to talk to. Who to avoid. What sort of lawyer is best? These and many other topics are covered.

Here’s the

The Do’s and Don’ts of Federal Pretrial

A couple of things can trigger the beginning of a federal criminal prosecution. We see in the news all the time that the Department of Justice investigates and charges federal crimes, but those are newsworthy cases. In normal cases, either a criminal complaint, indictment, or FBI raid is the first action that alerts somebody that they have just become a “defendant.”

The normal course of criminal justice is mundane and workaday. Papers get filed, and ordinary citizens get charged with committing federal crimes.

Whatever the situation, a brand new federal criminal case has been opened and a new defendant has been named. Now what?

In an informative video series, PCR Consultants discusses a few of the biggest pitfalls of federal investigations. Who to talk to. Who to avoid. What sort of lawyer is best? These and many other topics are covered.

Here’s the first in the series.

To learn more about federal pretrial and mistakes federal criminal defendants make, go to This Page and find out more

Federal Pretrial

A day in the Airport

I’ve recently seen mean-spirited architecture. The main purpose of this architecture are to ward off homeless people in a central located area so the bad element will remain away.

Sometimes these architectural pieces will come in the form of spikes on the ground in a vestibule corner to keep sleeping there. {Others|Other times|Sometimes|Certain Cities) it will be armrests on communal benches, again to prevent sleeping there.

Instead of trying to push away the undesired population in big cities, why don’t we, as a people, do something to eliminate homelessness instead?

Now when I see rows of seats in airport lounges, all I can see is that corporations see us all this way, not just homeless people. We’re all cattle. Airport Lounges

I’ve recently seen mean-spirited architecture. The main purpose of this architecture are to ward off homeless people in a central located area so the bad element will remain away.

Sometimes these architectural pieces will come in the form of spikes on the ground in a vestibule corner to keep sleeping there. {Others|Other times|Sometimes|Certain Cities) it will be armrests on communal benches, again to prevent sleeping there.

Instead of trying to push away the undesired population in big cities, why don’t we, as a people, do something to eliminate homelessness instead?

Now when I see rows of seats in airport lounges, all I can see is that corporations see us all this way, not just homeless people. We’re all cattle. Airport Lounges

The Basics of Federal Sentencing

If you need to learn about federal sentencing and how federal criminal sentences are calculated, then take a look at this group of posts from PCR Consultants. The first post of four is a primer followed by three that go into detail on the complexities of federal sentence computations.

The figuring starts with a base-line number which is founded in the type of charge associated with the sentence. Calculations are then added to or subtracted with enhancements and mitigations based on specific offense conduct. lastly, the last post details calculation changes based on criminal history.

If you want to take the mystery out of how federal sentence recommendations are calculated, it’s a must read.

Federal Sentencing

If you need to learn about federal sentencing and how federal criminal sentences are calculated, then take a look at this group of posts from PCR Consultants. The first post of four is a primer followed by three that go into detail on the complexities of federal sentence computations.

The figuring starts with a base-line number which is founded in the type of charge associated with the sentence. Calculations are then added to or subtracted with enhancements and mitigations based on specific offense conduct. lastly, the last post details calculation changes based on criminal history.

If you want to take the mystery out of how federal sentence recommendations are calculated, it’s a must read.

Federal Sentencing

The Purpose of Federal Supervised Release

The Standard for Federal Supervised Release

A few years ago, the Seventh Circuit published an opinion clearly stating their views on the practice and purpose of federal supervised release. That circuit is doing it again with an opinion regarding three distinct but related cases, challenging their supervised release conditions. (U.S. vs. Kappes, U.S. vs. Crisp, and U.S. vs. Jurgens; Nos. 14-1223, 14-2135, & 14-2482 respectively and decided April 8, 2015.)

Thanks to the Federal Criminal Appeals Blog for the head’s-up on this one.

There are some key points made by this ruling that anybody interested in the nuts-and-bolts of federal supervised release should be

The Standard for Federal Supervised Release

A few years ago, the Seventh Circuit published an opinion clearly stating their views on the practice and purpose of federal supervised release. That circuit is doing it again with an opinion regarding three distinct but related cases, challenging their supervised release conditions. (U.S. vs. Kappes, U.S. vs. Crisp, and U.S. vs. Jurgens; Nos. 14-1223, 14-2135, & 14-2482 respectively and decided April 8, 2015.)

Thanks to the Federal Criminal Appeals Blog for the head’s-up on this one.

There are some key points made by this ruling that anybody interested in the nuts-and-bolts of federal supervised release should be aware of. If you are on supervised release, or interested in the subject at all, the entire opinion is a must read.

The Purpose of Supervised Release

To start off with, the Circuit posted a history and usage overview of supervised release. The most interesting part of this section of the order is below:

“The purposes of supervised release have been variously described as rehabilitation, deterrence, training and treatment, protection of the public, and reduction of recidivism.” (United States v. Johnson, 529 U.S. 53, 59-60 (2000); United States v. Siegel, 753 F.3d 705, 708 (7th Cir. 2014); United States v. Evans, 727 F.3d 730, 733 (7th Cir. 2013))

The real meat of this point is clarified a little later.

“Supervised release was not intended to be imposed for the purposes of punishment or incapacitation, “since those purposes will have been served to the extent necessary by the term of imprisonment.” (S. Rep. No.98-225, at 125; see also Johnson, 529 U.S. 59 (“Supervised release fulfills rehabilitative ends, distinct from those served by incarceration.”)…see also 18 U.S.C. § 3583(c) (directing a court contemplating the imposition of supervised release to consider most sentencing factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a), except the need for the sentence to provide just punishment for the offense). The Supreme Court has described supervised release as “the decompression stage” between prison and full release.” (Johnson v. United States, 529 U.S. 694, 709 (2000))

What this says is basic. The goals of supervised release are not to further punish the defendant, since that is the purpose of incarceration, not supervision. The factors courts are required to when contemplating imposing a term of federal supervised release are almost the same as the factors they consider when imposing prison time. The only difference is that courts cannot consider the need for supervised release to provide just punishment for the offense.

The Meaning Behind the Purpose

Let us look at this from the perspective of one who desires to apply for early release from federal supervised release. If, 1) the purpose of supervised release is not to inflict more punishment for the underlying crime; and 2) the “decompression state” between prison and full freedom is accomplished, then there is no reason to keep a defendant on supervision any longer.

The hard part is proving that this decompression stage is over. From lots of prior 7th Circuit decisions, we have these factors that mark this decompression and satisfy that requirement. From the first quoted section, these five purposes of supervision are:

  1. Rehabilitation: have you completed all treatment and aftercare?
  2. Deterrence: are you effectively deterred from committing future federal crimes?
  3. Training and Treatment: do you have enough treatment and education to stay away from crime and to maintain employment? Stability of home and job are key indicators to a judge that you pose a low risk to commit new crimes. Sometimes it just matters how busy you are. Job? Kids? Wife/Husband? All these keep a person busy, and no idle time means no time to devote to criminal behavior. “Idle hands are the Devils’ playground” and all…
  4. Protection of the public: Again, this lends to treatment, stability, and reduced risk of committing new crimes.
  5. Reduction of recidivism: At this point it gets redundant, but explicit. What is your quantifiable risk to commit new crimes. If you have zero criminal history, this part is easy!

That’s All For Now

So far, we’ve only viewed about 6 pages of this 68-page opinion. However, this is plenty to digest for now. If you’re looking to get early release from federal probation or federal supervised release, consider the purpose of supervision and ask yourself if you’re finished with its intended goals. If so, you could be a prime candidate!

Contact the PCR Consultants team for a free consultation
www.pcr-consultants.com
(480) 382-9287

Federal Supervised Release

Time Limits on Filing a 2255 appeal

When Can you file a §2255 Appeal

We will talk more about this below, but federal defendants only get one opportunity to file a motion of this type. Making it count is vitally important. To do this, three points must be made.

First, appropriate courthouse of jurisdiction must be established (meaning the pleading must be entered at the Court which imposed the sentence, not the local prison courthouse). Second, the arguments made must be applicable to a §2255 motion. Third, the filing has to happen within the allowable time period for habeas-style petitions.

Click here for a discussion on topics appropriate for direct appeal.
Click here for a discussion on topics appr

When Can you file a §2255 Appeal

We will talk more about this below, but federal defendants only get one opportunity to file a motion of this type. Making it count is vitally important. To do this, three points must be made.

First, appropriate courthouse of jurisdiction must be established (meaning the pleading must be entered at the Court which imposed the sentence, not the local prison courthouse). Second, the arguments made must be applicable to a §2255 motion. Third, the filing has to happen within the allowable time period for habeas-style petitions.

Click here for a discussion on topics appropriate for direct appeal.
Click here for a discussion on topics appropriate for §2255 motions.

Unlike direct appeals, which must be filed within two weeks (normally) after the judgment of sentence, a §2255 Motion can be filed in a twelve month time period. That is, the defendant must file this motion within one year of the latest of these four events:

  1. The date of final judgment;
  2. The date any obstacles to filing the motion by government action in violation of the constitution were removed;
  3. The date when the United States Supreme Court rules on a case which triggers an applicable argument to the prisoner;
  4. The date where triggering facts could have been discovered through research.

For clarification, in the first bullet above, a judgment becomes final when a sentencing hearing concludes or when any direct appeal to that conviction is entered. So if the Supreme Court refuses to hear an appeal, then the date of final judgment is the date where the Supreme Court petition for hearing is denied.

Inmates Get One Chance

Defendants only get one shot at filing a §2255, except in rare cases where new evidence is found, or the Supreme Court makes a startling ruling that changes the process of similar cases. Many, many inmates get help from other defendants they are incarcerated with to file a motion like this. Some are very good, but most times this is a total waste of the one shot a prisoner gets at filing a motion like this.

The moral of this story? Do the best work the first time around and avoid making common mistakes that get a defendant’s one chance at a §2255 tossed out before it even gets a chance to be heard.

If you would like to learn more about filing federal appeals, and what these motions can and cannot do, visit PCR Consultants for a full report.

You can also give us a call at (480) 382-9287 for a free, no obligation consultation regarding your questions about §2255 appeals.

The PCR Consultants Team
www.PCR-Consultants.com
(480) 382-9287

Federal 2255 Appeals