Federal Criminal News

NJ FEDERAL COURT CRIMINAL SENTENCING: THIRD CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS RULES THAT ENFORCEMENT OF PLEA AGREEMENTS SUBJECT TO BASIC CONTRACT PRINCIPLES; DECISION IS APPLICABLE TO UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTS FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

United States v. Davenport, a recent federal sentencing decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, held that the Government did not breach the terms of a defendant’s plea agreement by arguing for a two-level enhancement under the United States Sentencing Guidelines. The Court analyzed the facts of the case using basic contract principles. This ruling applies to all United States District Courts in New Jersey.

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Combating False Confessions in the NJ State and Federal Criminal Courts

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

With the recent release of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report on the use of coercive techniques in interrogation, false confessions are again in the news. The experienced criminal defense attorneys of Schwartz & Posnock have successfully defended individuals who falsely confessed to crimes they did not commit.

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Federal Criminal Defense Study Exposes Failure of US Prosecutors to Disclose Evidence Favorable to Criminal Defendants

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

Recently, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (“NACDL”) released their latest report, “Material Indifference: How Courts Are Impeding Fair Disclosure in Criminal Cases,” written in conjunction with the VERITAS Initiative at Santa Clara Law School.

This study illustrates a significant problem facing both state and federal criminal prosecutions; i.e., the endemic failure to ensure that information favorable to a criminal defendant is provided by prosecutors in an open and timely manner, resulting in a denial of a fair trial.

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Federal Criminal Law Update: The United States Sentencing Commission Announces Priorities for the Coming Year, Including Consideration of Federal Sentences for Economic Crimes and Mandatory Minimum Penalties

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

In a recent press release, the United States Sentencing Commission set as its top priority continuing to work with Congress to implement the recommendations in its 2011 report on federal mandatory minimum penalties, which included recommendations that Congress reduce the severity and scope of some mandatory minimum penalties and consider expanding the “safety valve” statute which exempts certain low-level non-violent offenders from mandatory minimum penalties.

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Federal Sentencing News: The United States Circuit Court for the Third Circuit Rules that New Jersey Federal Criminal Lawyers Must Make All Procedural Objections to a Sentence at the Time of Sentencing or the Objection Is Waived

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

In an en banc precedential ruling, the United States Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit held that procedural error at sentencing is preserved only if a party objects after sentence is imposed or at the time that the procedural error becomes evident. This ruling is binding on federal criminal lawyers who practice in New Jersey.  The Circuit Court, in United States v. Flores-Mejia, adopted this new rule for several reasons:

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Federal Criminal Defense: Plea Agreements Increasingly Require Civil Forfeiture in Federal Criminal Cases in the District of New Jersey

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

If “orange is the new black,” then it looks like civil forfeiture is becoming the new method of forcing a defendant to make restitution in a federal criminal case. Lately, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey has been incorporating a civil forfeiture component into plea agreements, particularly when government funds are the subject of an accused’s alleged criminal conduct.

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Substantial Interference in a New Jersey Federal Criminal Investigation Will Lead to Sentencing Enhancements

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

In United States v. Waterman, a federal criminal case decided on June 17, 2014, the defendant challenged the sentence imposed upon him after being convicted of destruction of records, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1519.

The defendant, a police officer, destroyed a computer hard drive during an FBI investigation into his alleged possession of child pornography. The investigation began when the defendant informed his supervisor that he had viewed child pornography on his personal home computer. Two years after this disclosure, the defendant tried to destroy one of his personal computers. As noted by the court, the defendant merely destroyed the circuit board of the computer,  not the data platters which contained the information on the hard drive. However, because the damage to the circuit board was so great, the data could not be retrieved.

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Schwartz & Posnock, New Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers: Sentencing on a Federal Criminal Charge – An Introduction to the Process

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

Individuals who are charged with a federal criminal offense are often unfamiliar with the federal sentencing process. Federal court sentencing bears very little resemblance to sentencing in State court. We offer this series of blogs to give potential clients some basic information about federal court sentencing.

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What to Expect If You Are Charged with a Federal Criminal Offense in New Jersey: Processing by US Pre-Trial Services; Processing by the FBI and by the US Marshalls; the Initial Appearance in Court

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

We are often asked by individuals who have no experience in the federal criminal system, what to expect when they are charged with a federal criminal offense and they have to make their first appearance in court. The procedures are similar to those in the New Jersey State criminal justice system, however, there are some critical differences.

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New Federal Criminal Ruling on Preservation of Appeals Now Controls Federal Criminal Defense Practice In New Jersey

New Jersey Criminal Lawyers Schwartz Posnock

In an important ruling for federal criminal defense lawyers in New Jersey, United States v. Joseph, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that criminal defense attorneys must preserve legal arguments on appeal with an exacting degree of particularity. In its decision, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that preserving an argument was different from preserving an issue. Specifically, the court held that an issue is a broad concept or a question that may be addressed by multiple arguments or theories. However, the only arguments that are preserved for appeal are the same arguments made before a district court. In the Joseph case, the court ruled that simply making a suppression motion at trial does not allow a party to then appeal under all possible suppression arguments. The probable cause challenged at trial did not allow appellant to appeal the suppression decision based on a completely different theory.
The critical point of the ruling in United States v. Joseph, 2013 WL 5273120 (decided on September 19, 2013), is that raising one argument at trial does not preserve every possible argument that is related to an issue. A specific argument not raised at the trial level will be deemed waived on appeal. When arguments are not based on the same legal rule and the same facts, they are not the same for purposes of preservation in an appeal. This ruling covers all criminal cases pending in the Newark, Trenton and Camden divisions of the United States District Courts of New Jersey.
Attorneys practicing federal criminal defense in New Jersey should be mindful of this decision, as it significantly changes the rules for preserving appellate rights. If you have been charged with a federal criminal offense, it is important that you consult an experienced federal criminal lawyer. You can contact the experience criminal defense attorneys of Schwartz & Posnock, at our Essex County, Union County, Middlesex or Monmouth County offices, to discuss the various defense strategies that we can utilize on your behalf to achieve a positive result for you.

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