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January 2015 Archives

Federal sentencing guidelines and downward departures, P.3

In our last couple posts, we’ve been exploring the topic of downward departures in the context of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. We’ve already discussed the basic approach used by the guidelines in determining a defendant’s sentencing range for fraud-related offenses. Here we want to discuss what the guidelines say on the topic of downward departures, both in general and with respect to crimes of fraud.

Federal sentencing guidelines and downward departures, P.2

In our previous post, we began looking at the issue of departures from federal sentencing guidelines. Departures, as we noted, can be either downward or upward depending on the circumstances. Downward departures, to be sure, present an opportunity for advocacy in criminal defense, but obtaining them is not a free-for-all. There are guidelines regarding when a departure may be appropriate, and prosecutors often ask for upward departures when they are able to do so. Here we’ll take a brief look at the issue.

Federal sentencing guidelines and downward departures, P.1

Sentencing is an important aspect of federal criminal cases. Although Federal Sentencing Guidelines provide a sentencing range deemed appropriate to the offender’s convictions, judges do have the discretion to depart from the sentencing range. Sometimes judges will opt for a downward departure, which is a sentence that falls below the suggested sentencing range. In other cases, a judge will opt for an upward departure.

How can an attorney help me with criminal charges?

When an individual faces criminal charges, the normal reaction would be one of anxiousness, fear, confusion, and perhaps anger. Not only is there the surprise and embarrassment of the charges, there is the lack of understanding, for most, as to how the legal system works, and what the ultimate outcome will be. This, of course, is why it is important to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney for guidance and advocacy.

Supreme Court: officer’s reasonable mistake of law doesn't destroy probable cause, P.2

In our previous post, we began speaking about a recent United States Supreme Court decision which determined that an officer’s reasonable misunderstanding of the law does not destroy probable cause. In the case which gave rise to that decision, the issue came up in the context of the doctrine of the exclusionary rule, which holds that a criminal defendant may exclude from trial incriminating evidence which was illegally obtained by law enforcement.

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