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October 2012 Archives

Medicare fraud crackdown nets 33 arrests in Miami

33 people in Miami are facing charges of Medicare fraud - including doctors, nurses, and other licensed medical professionals. A total of 91 people face charges in seven cities across the country. These arrests come as part of a nationwide crackdown by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force.

"Smart justice" movement could address Florida's prison problem

In the past we've written about Florida's lengthy prison sentences and the policies that have caused them. Now the Florida Smart Justice Alliance, a coalition of groups including business interests and advocates for a fair justice system, is making another effort to reform Florida's strict sentencing policies.

Florida's much-touted prescription database seeing little use

A year ago, Florida lawmakers approved a program that would require pharmacists to enter pain prescription information into a statewide database. Supporters said this would be a powerful weapon against prescription drug abuse for the state, which was struggling in a fight against "doctor shopping" and prescription drug crimes.

500 Hour Residential Drug Abuse Program and Guns - A Way Out or A Way In?

The Bureau of Prisons prohibits a defendant who receives a two level increase for possessing a gun from receiving the sentence reduction attached as a bonus to completing the 500 Hour Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP). Some district court judges have been writing a separate letter to the Bureau of Prisons urging them to accept a person into the 500 Hour Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP) if the defendant did not himself possess the gun but instead a co-defendant possessed the gun. However, it now appears a district court judge can put the information in the Statement of Reasons section of the Judgment Order, which the Bureau of Prisons is required to follow if the Statement of Reasons pertains to an aspect of Bureau of Prisons confinement and so a separate letter would not be required.

Supreme Court of the United States to Hear 924c Issue

The Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari last week in Alleyne v. United States, No. 11-9335. The federal question of importance is whether under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, a jury, not a judge, must find that the defendant brandished a firearm in order to trigger the seven (7) year mandatory minimum under 18 USC 924(c). Essentially, what the High Court will decide is whether the precedent set forth in Harris v. United States, 536 U.S. 545 (2002) should be overturned. In the instant case, the federal indictment alleged that defendant Alleyne "did knowingly use, carry, brandish, and possess a firearm during and in relation to and in furtherance of" a robbery. The jury was given a special verdict form and he was acquitted of brandishing. This is a gigantic step forward for federal defendants. We will keep you posted as to oral arguments and ultimately the decision.

Issues Concerning Child Pornography

Once a photograph or video is uploaded onto the Internet, it becomes almost impossible to retrieve. When a minor is shown in a sexually explicit manner in any photograph or video, it can be considered child pornography. Such material is considered an exploitation of the child and may be prosecuted under possession, distribution or production-related charges. Any video or photograph that shows provocative images of a child is considered illegal generally and a federal crime specifically.

Mark J. O'Brien's cases have been featured in:
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“Mark, thank you for everything. I will forever be indebted to you. You have stood by me and believed in me when it was not the popular thing to do. You are an amazing advocate.” Adam Filthaut
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