As courts continue to struggle with how to apply the federal sentencing guidelines after the U.S. Supreme Court's 2005 Booker ruling, the U.S. Department of Justice -- concerned about wide disparities in sentences for crimes ranging from financial fraud to child pornography -- has called for a comprehensive review of the state of federal sentencing. Stay tuned to our special report for the latest in sentencing trends, analysis, and major rulings on sentence enhancements and mandatory minimums.
A Pennsylvania federal judge's statements during a plea colloquy served to expand the appellate rights of the defendant beyond what was contained in the plea agreement, the 3rd Circuit has ruled, remanding for resentencing the case of an Internet company owner convicted in a $74 million fraud scheme.
Southern District of New York Judge Jed S. Rakoff has refused to alter the lengthy sentences of two convicted crack dealers despite a change in U.S. Justice Department policy supporting retroactive application of a 2010 law intended to modify disparities between crack and powder cocaine sentences.
Black convicted offenders are the racial group least likely to earn relief from mandatory minimum sentences for assisting the government, according to a major study of mandatory minimum penalties by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
The full 11th Circuit has decided to take up a question about the scope of a 2010 federal statute designed to reduce the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences. The en banc review is remarkable because the government has signed on to the defense position in the cases to be reheard.
In its first decision of the term, a unanimous Supreme Court held that a defendant is not spared from a separate, consecutive sentence for use of a gun to commit a violent crime even if he or she faces a higher, mandatory minimum sentence for a different count of the conviction.
A federal judge told prosecutors to work on their arguments for enhancements before the sentencing in the high-profile health care fraud case against former InterMune executive Scott Harkonen. She pressed for an explanation of how the government came up with its loss calculations.
A federal judge in New York has rebutted the criticism by a top Department of Justice official that many federal judges have "lost" their "moorings to the sentencing guidelines" in major fraud cases and that fraud sentences "are inexplicably and unjustifiably all over the lot."
Embarrassing Facebook photos and regrettable MySpace statements are starting to become commonplace in pre-sentencing reports and disposition hearings. But attorney Ken Strutin also sees potential in these sites to generate mitigating evidence for the defense to present at sentencing.
A criminal sentenced under tougher sentencing guidelines than in effect when he began his fraudulent conduct cannot claim a violation of the ex post facto clause of the U.S. Constitution, the 2nd Circuit has ruled, upholding the 2006 sentences of two Computer Associates defendants.
For the second time in two months, the 2nd Circuit has vacated a long prison term for a child pornography defendant that was driven by automatic enhancements. The circuit tossed out the 14-year prison sentence that Jason E. Tutty was ordered to serve by a federal district judge.
The DOJ wants the U.S. Sentencing Commission to investigate widely disparate federal sentencing practices, with special attention to guidelines for fraud and child pornography crimes. But some experts say it may be something that the commission does not want to examine too closely.
A stunned Lynne Stewart has been re-sentenced to 10 years in prison for providing material support to a terrorist conspiracy, in part because the 70-year-old former defense lawyer crowed that she could handle the initial 28-month sentence ordered by a federal judge "standing on my head."
Mandatory minimum sentences are too high, restitution for crime victims should be available in all cases, and judge-specific data on sentencing should not be reported, says a first-ever survey of more than 600 federal trial judges conducted by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. has issued new guidance to federal prosecutors in a memo that was submitted to the U.S. Sentencing Commission. The guidance comes amid the Justice Department's ongoing policy review focusing on disparities in sentencing and excesses in mandatory-minimum sentencing.
In vacating the sentence of an admitted child pornographer, a federal appeals court in Manhattan attacked mandatory sentencing enhancements for virtually ensuring defendants will hit the statutory maximum regardless of the severity of their crimes.
Five years after the Supreme Court held that the federal sentencing guidelines are merely advisory, judges still follow them for the most part, though there is an ever-growing divergence, according to the most recent federal statistics.
The 1st Circuit has waded into a growing circuit split over how tough judges can be on defendants accused of financial fraud. At issue is whether judges should count people who are reimbursed for financial losses from criminal schemes as victims when deciding whether to increase a defendant's sentence.Special Reports Index