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Category Archives: Criminal Law

Estimated Effects of the First Step Act

In the wake of the recent passage of the First Step Act, which was touted as “sweeping” criminal justice reform by the news media, the U.S. Sentencing Commission has released the first estimates of the Act’s effects on the current and future federal prison population. After analyzing Bureau of Prisons (BOP) statistics, not individual cases, … Read More

Federal Criminal Sentences Increasingly Vary by Judge

The disparity in criminal sentences meted out by federal judges is increasing, according to a new report issued by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. The Report, entitled Intra-City Differences in Federal Sentencing Practices: Federal District Judges in 30 Cities, 2005–2017, studies disparities according to sentencing judge since the Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines … Read More

First Step Act Promises Modest Criminal Justice Reform

Arseneault & Fassett, LLP On December 21, 2018, the First Step Act of 2018 was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump, representing criminal justice reform for defendants who await sentencing and inmates who are currently serving their sentences in federal prisons. In general, the benefits are modest but potentially wide-reaching. Mandatory … Read More

Changes to Pre-Trial Intervention Program Coming

Arseneault & Fassett, LLP New Jersey has adopted new Court Rules which affect the Pre-Trial Intervention (PTI) application and admission process for people charged with criminal offenses. PTI is a diversionary program which allows eligible defendants charged with indictable offenses (commonly called “felonies”) to comply with supervision and rehabilitation prior to trial. Participants who successfully … Read More

Third Circuit Opinion: United States v. Ferriero

Arseneault & Fassett, LLP In United States v. Ferriero, No. 15-4064 (3d Cir. Aug. 4, 2017), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld the convictions of a former county Democratic party chairman for violations of the Travel Act, the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, and wire fraud. The defendant had … Read More

Third Circuit Opinion: United States v. Martin

Arseneault & Fassett, LLP In United States v. Martin, No. 16-4289 (3d Cir. Aug. 15, 2017), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that a defendant who was determined to be a career offender was ineligible for a reduced sentence under a Sentencing Guidelines amendment. Martin pleaded guilty, pursuant to a plea … Read More

Third Circuit Opinion: United States v. Chapman

Arseneault & Fassett, LLP In United States v. Chapman, No. 16-1810 (3d Cir. Aug. 4, 2017), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that mailing threatening communications, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §876(c), qualifies as a “crime of violence” for purposes of determining career offender status under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. Violations … Read More

Trump Administration Sets Strict New Course for Federal Prosecutions

Arseneualt & Fassett, LLP The Attorney General of the United States, Jeff Sessions, has issued a memorandum to all federal prosecutors establishing the strict new policy of the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice (DoJ) for charging and sentencing federal offenses. The “Sessions memo” overturns a series of “Holder memos,” issued during the Obama administration, which … Read More

Bail Reform Act Takes Effect Throughout New Jersey

Arseneualt & Fassett, LLP New legislation takes effect this month in a major overhaul of the New Jersey criminal justice system’s pre-trial release regime. Beginning on January 1, 2017, the Bail Reform Act changes how courts determine whether a person who has been accused of a crime should be detained or released, and if released, … Read More

New Jersey Supreme Court Eases Requirements for “Plain View” Warrantless Searches & Seizures

Arseneault & Fassett, LLP A recent decision by the Supreme Court of New Jersey has made it easier for the State to use evidence seized without a warrant against a defendant in a criminal trial. In State v. Xiomara Gonzales, the Court changed the law as to what constitutes a valid “plain view” exception to … Read More