Category: federal criminal defense

  • Jail Hell

    Randall Patterson’s Houston Press article on conditions inside the Harris County Jail, based on inmate interviews. If you believe the government, this must be a vast conspiracy of defamation conducted by inmates. If you believe the inmates, federal crimes are routinely committed by jailers. Which story is more credible? Considering that the inmates aren’t even […]

  • Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers: How We Doin’?

    Today I saw “Edwin” in court. Edwin is a longtime criminal-defense lawyer, a former assistant federal PD, and one of my criminal trial advocacy professors at University of Houston law school. Edwin represented a codefendant in my first jury trial 12 years ago, and his client’s testimony sent my client to prison for 9 years […]

  • An Embarrassment Even to Criminal Defense Lawyers

    I wrote way back in ought-seven about how criminal-defense lawyers are unembarrassable. I find my unembarrassability challenged by this: Houston lawyer Jerome Godinich has blown deadlines to file writs of habeas corpus for death row prisoners three times. In [two of the] cases, the lawyer waited until after business hours on the last day an […]

  • Criminal Liability Under the CPSIA

    Following Walter Olson’s (Overlawyered) posts about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, I thought I’d check out the criminal penalties for violation of the CPSIA. Contrast this: Any person who knowingly and willfully violates section 2068 of this title after having received notice of noncompliance from the Commission shall be fined not more […]

  • What Kind of Schmuck Would Hire Frank Pignatelli?

    From a post, The Nature of the Job, last October: Clients sometimes think that they want a lawyer who will act unethically for them, but they don’t: first, because a defense based on lies is almost always doomed to fail; and second, because clients need lawyers they can trust. Unethical lawyers are . . . […]

  • Writing Sample

    Here (JDSupra) is a sentencing memorandum that I wrote for a man convicted of a federal crack cocaine conspiracy (this case). He had suffered a horrible childhood, and then lived a law-abiding life for about 25 years before It did the trick, and it has received good reviews from those who have read it; I […]

  • Pride

    Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. I had a federal drug conspiracy sentencing this week in which I was arguing, based on my client’s horrible childhood and his history of being a law-abiding and productive member of society for all but two of his 49 years, that he should not […]

  • Everybody Gets Convicted Anyway

    Today I was hired to represent a young man in federal sentencing proceedings whose “trial” lawyer had advised him to plead guilty without explaining why, tried to withdraw from the case because the client wasn’t uncritically taking his advice, and then finally on the eve of trial, unprepared, convinced the man to plead guilty because […]

  • Federal Convictions Reversed

    From Alex Bunin, Federal Public Defender for the Northern District of New York, comes “Federal Convictions Reversed,” this collection (pdf) of summaries of appellate cases reversing federal convictions (not sentences). An invaluable resource to the federal criminal-defense lawyer, but that’s to be expected — the various public defenders’ offices are still and likely always will […]

  • Federal Mortgage Fraud in Texas = Payday for Criminal Defense Lawyers?

    Texas’s U.S. Attorneys for the Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western Districts of Texas say that prosecuting mortgage fraud is their top priority, writes Mary Flood in the Houston Chronicle. “There will be a lot of work for you”, said the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas to the group of mostly criminal-defense lawyers […]