The Import of Haymond

Later this month, the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in United States v Haymond, a case that tests the legality of increased mandatory minimums and maximums for sex offenders who are accused of committing another sex offense while on release. Haymond had the misfortune to get malware on his smartphone, which gave him all sorts of nasty little goodies, including child pornography. As the evidence was pretty conclusive that he did not deliberately download these files, the Government tried to convict him through the back door of revoking his supervised release.

Continue reading “The Import of Haymond”

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.

Continue reading “Rolling the Dice on Gamble / First Step Act Update”

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.

Continue reading “Categorical Exclusion on the Way Out? / Supreme Court Update”

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.

Continue reading “Is Official Misconduct Rare? / Supreme Court News”

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”

Reexamining Smith v. Doe (Part Four)

Editor’s Note: This is the final part of the series where we have reviewed the Supreme Court case of Smith v. Doe, in which is ruled the sex offender registry constitutional. Last Tuesday (Oct. 2), the Supreme Court heard another registry case in Gundy v. United States. We are in the process of reviewing the transcripts from the oral arguments and hope to have our analysis done by next week. Continue reading “Reexamining Smith v. Doe (Part Four)”