I just finished a criminal trial and a week later, mediation in a civil case. Each reminded me that this is an adversarial system. Your case is not necessarily about the truth. Harsh? Maybe, but that is the reality.

Whatever type of case you are involved in, the legal process involves two different narratives, or stories. In the criminal case
Continue Reading Save that story for your lawyer!

Once upon a time, as I returned to private practice from my time as Executive Director of the Federal Defenders of Idaho, I made plans. Not going to get behind. Going to keep that calendar clear enough to run, ride or swim every day. Keep my time for me, and Sue and the kids.

“Sweet dreams are made of this….”
Continue Reading I remember thinking, “I’m going to blog every day.” Nice Dream!

I just finished reading a news story in the NY Times titled “Frail, Old and Dying, but Their Only Way Out of Prison Is In A Coffin.” It follows reporting by The Marshall Project on the same topic. The bottom line, accurately told by both is this: there are far too many old prisoners who are dying in
Continue Reading Federal Prisons Are A Terrible Place to Live and An Even Worse Place To Wait For Death!

Strong sentencing arguments are critical in every case. Every single case. Regardless of how you find yourself in a sentencing hearing – after a conviction by a jury or a judge, or through a plea agreement – your chances at being placed on probation or being locked up will often hinge on your attorney’s ability to advocate effectively and convincingly.
Continue Reading Is your lawyer doing enough for you at sentencing?

 As any experienced Idaho criminal defense lawyer will tell you, the vast majority of cases are resolved with a plea bargain long before they ever reach a courtroom. Plea bargains are important to prosecutors because they help efficiently clear dockets and allow them to prosecute more cases. They can also be beneficial to defendants by allowing them to serve

Continue Reading Supreme Court Tightens Rules on Plea Bargains

 Thanks again for the nice thoughts about my Dad – but even he would want me back in the saddle and getting ready for trial. Before I get deep into trial mode (two weeks and counting), I wanted to take a minute and answer a question about federal criminal sentencing. A prospective federal client asked me about the use of

Continue Reading Back to Defending People – And the Business of Federal Cases

 I am back from a sentencing today and again it is obvious. What matters when it comes to sentencing is the protection of society. So says virtually every judge you encounter in any courtroom in any sentencing proceeding.

How can you best demonstrate that your conduct does not pose a risk to the community? That’s what it usually comes down

Continue Reading Sentencing: It’s All About Protecting Society

 In another one of those confusing 9th Circuit fraud decisions – the Court of Appeals has upheld the convictions and sentences of three men who summoned the likes of Charles Ponzi and swindled 1700 investors out of $40 million. In US v. Treadwell the Court upheld an instruction  that “intent to defraud is an intent to deceive or cheat,” and

Continue Reading 9th Circuit Says Intent to Defraud is the Intent to Cheat

If you think that white colar crime results in a slap on the wrist, consider the recent sentencing decision in a case of mortgage fraud, in Georgia.  The Georgia United States Attorney reports that last week Adriene Newby-Allen was sentenced to 135 months imprisonment and ordered to pay $5,278,703 in restitution. Newby-Allen pled guilty in July to charges arising from

Continue Reading Mortgage Fraud Sends Defendant To Prison For 135 Months

I was at the beach – Mission Beach to be precise – and relaxing with my bride over the weekend. The sun was shining and the sea air cooling, but like all good things – that too came to an end on Monday.  I am now in Nevada, taking depositions in a crop insurance fraud case.  There is lots of

Continue Reading Away from the beach – thinking about sentencing guidelines