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Our Federal Prisons Are Fueled By Drugs

That’s the takeaway from this report by the federal courts and U.S. Sentencing Commission. To summarize, there are almost 200,000 people in federal prison today, and almost half of them (or 48%) are there for drugs. Almost all of them (93%) are men, and the vast majority are young, minority men. The breakdown is 35% Hispanic, 35% black, and 27% Read More

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The New DOJ Policy on Charging Decisions

Two weeks ago, the new U.S. Attorney General announced a new policy for charging and sentencing in criminal cases. Although the policy targets drug cases in particular, it applies to all federal prosecutions. You can break it down into three parts. First, prosecutors should file the “most serious, readily-provable” charges in each case. The most serious Read More

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What Are Your Intentions?

In most white-collar cases, the main driver at sentencing is the dollar amount of the victim’s loss, and in federal cases, the rule is that you’re responsible for either the actual loss or your intended loss, whichever is greater. We touched on the difference between actual and intended loss in this post from last spring. But recently, an Read More

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U.S. Sentencing Commission Votes to Reduce Federal Drug-Trafficking Sentences

Unanimously, it was done. At a public meeting on April 10, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to amend the federal sentencing guidelines in a way that is expected to reduce the average sentence for most drug-trafficking cases from 62 months to 51 months. The vote was anticipated by a speech that was delivered by the chair of the Sentencing Commission on Read More

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The Times May Be a-Changin’, and It’s a Good Thing

Last week, the chair of the United States Sentencing Commission delivered an important speech that brought conservatives, liberals, and others together under the banner of sentencing reform. The speech was entitled, “A Generational Shift for Drug Sentences,” and it was delivered by the Hon. Patti Saris, who is a federal district judge for the District of Massachusetts. Judge Saris currently serves as the chief judge of Read More

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