Rolling the Dice on Gamble / First Step Act Update

Yesterday (Monday), the Senate held a procedural vote on the First Step Act to end debate and bring the bill up for a floor vote. The vote passed the procedural vote by an overwhelming 82-14. A vote is set for later today. Although Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and John Kennedy (R-Louisiana) are going to try and add more amendments, many Senators, including several Republicans, have said that enough is enough. The concerns of violent criminals getting out early already has several safeguards in place.

The bill must pass the Senate with at least 60 votes. Once it does that, a joint committee between the House and Senate will discuss any compromises and the bill will be sent back to the House for a new vote. The House will return to session Wednesday evening and we expect them to pass it as early as Thursday. Once that occurs, the President has until noon eastern time on January 3, 2019 to sign it and the bill would go into effect.

We are keeping an eye on this and as soon as it passes both chambers and President Trump signs it, we will send out a breaking news email to share with you.

Until then, enjoy this week’s article.

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Lexis Nexis Search Tips

We are continuing to monitor any updates on the First Step Act. Some rumors have been going around saying that the Senate passed it on Thursday. To the best of my knowledge, nothing has been voted on yet. In the event anything does happen, we will let you know. The bill must be voted on in the Senate and then sent back to the House to be voted on again and then signed by President Trump before it becomes law. To keep from getting false hopes up, even if the bill passes the Senate, we will let you know in the regular newsletter. However, once it passes both houses and is signed by the President, we will send a special notice. If you would like to keep track of it more closely, feel free to add our friends at Legal Information Systems (LISA Legal) to your contact list. Their email address is

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Categorical Exclusion on the Way Out? / Supreme Court Update

Supreme Court Update:
Cert granted in Kisor v. Wilkie.
Question presented: Should the Supreme Court overrule Auer v. Robbins & Bowles v. Seminole Rock & Sand Co., which directs courts to defer to an agency’s reasonable interpretation of its own ambiguous regulation?

Opinion issued in United States v. Stitts; United States v. Sims
Held: (1) The term “burglary” in the Armed Career Criminal Act includes burglary of a structure or vehicle that has been adapted or is customarily used for overnight accommodation. The decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals is reversed.

(2) Sims case is vacated and remanded to the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals to determine if the Arkansas burglary statute is overbroad.

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Is Official Misconduct Rare? / Supreme Court News

First off, we are trying something new. Each week, we plan on sending out with one of our posts a list of all Supreme Court cases that were granted in the past week, as well as each one that is set for arguments sometime that week. While we don’t have a synopsis of what the case is about (yet), we can at least let you know if a case you had been monitoring has been granted cert or has been argued before the court.

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The Failure to Hold Judges to Account

In the November 2018 issue of Prison Legal News, an article on how the #MeToo movement has impacted federal judges, the sobering information that, for six of the past 11 years, not a single federal judge has been reprimanded came to light. Worse, the scarcity of even an investigation is breathtaking. In 2015, only four out of the 1,214 complaints made were given a serious inquiry. Likewise, in 2016, it was only four out of 1,303. Continue reading “The Failure to Hold Judges to Account”

The Fake Statistic That Won’t Die

The Arizona Supreme Court recently overturned a state ban on bail for people accused of sexual assault “when the proof is evident or the presumption great,” holding that the categorical exclusion violated due process. Critics are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, and their arguments highlight the continuing influence of misconception about the “frightening and high risk of recidivism” among sex offenders. Continue reading “The Fake Statistic That Won’t Die”

The Kabuki Theater of Sentencing Reform

Editor’s Note: With Thanksgiving just a few days away, all of us at #BackSoSoon would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I know this time of year is tough for most of us. It is especially tough for me because I will be released two days before Thanksgiving in 2020 and thus I am anxiously awaiting the day. Take time to reflect on what you are thankful for and don’t necessarily look towards the negative. I am thankful for having a wonderful family who have stuck with me for nearly the past decade, as well as friends and associates. I am also thankful for people like Jackie, who without her help, #BackSoSoon would not be possible. So please everyone if you appreciate everything we share, send her a message and tell her thank you as well.

Due to the Thanksgiving holiday though, we will not be posting this upcoming Friday. In the event there is some type of breaking news, we will let you know as soon as possible. Until then, we hope you enjoy this week’s post by K.S. Remember that all views and opinions are that of K.S. and not necessarily those of #BackSoSoon.

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Is Porn Worse than Terrorism?

Editor’s Note: Make sure you check out Friday’s post as I speak one-on-one with a recently released sex offender from federal prison. In that article, Richard, will detail the struggles he’s had to deal with over the last 5-6 months, as well as putting to rest some of the rumors that many people assume. So don’t forget to share everything with your friends. Our Corrlinks address is at the bottom of this message, as is our website address. Continue reading “Is Porn Worse than Terrorism?”