While people may not mourn his death based upon the heinous allegations against him, Epstein’s suicide is a high-profile example of the American prison system’s systematic failure to protect both those accused and convicted of crimes. Jails and federal holding facilities incarcerate those accused of crimes pending trial, and at times, those convicted with shorter sentences. Federal and state prisons house those who have pled or have been convicted of crimes.
NY & NJ Criminal Defense Law Blog
Stahl Criminal Defense Lawyers has once again been recognized by US News and World Report as one of New Jersey's best White Collar Criminal Defense Firm in its 2020 edition. Stahl Criminal Defense Lawyers is once again included in the 2020 Best Lawyers® in America list. He has been included on the Best Lawyers® in America list for nine years, since the list was published in 2012.
At airports throughout the United States, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officers are seizing travelers’ cash when coming into and leaving the country for failure to report the cash. Regular international travelers may be familiar with the Customs forms airlines hand out just prior to arrival in the United States. On the form you must declare goods purchased during your international travel, as well as any cash in excess of $10,000. Most people do not realize, however, that you must also declare any cash in excess of $10,000 before you leave the United States, as well.
Whether you are being sentenced in federal or state court, it is critically important to carefully plan what you are going to say to the judge, both in written submissions and orally, before the sentence is imposed. Acceptance of responsibility and true remorse are key factors judges consider when imposing a sentence.
A recent article about a federal sentencing in Florida is a perfect example. A judge in the Southern District of Florida changed her mind and imposed a more severe sentence after listening to the defendant speak. The case involved a low-income housing fraud scheme. The defendant claimed contrition and responsibility, but immediately thereafter stated he did not act with fraudulent intent and never received a single complaint of underpaying a worker. Nearly a full year was added to his sentence as a consequence. His statement, according to the judge, was a far cry from any acceptance of responsibility she had heard in 30 years on the bench. The judge also remarked that she didn’t know who the defendant made the statement for, but suspected it was for members in attendance and their perception of him as a CEO of his construction firm.
We receive many calls over the course of the year from potential clients, telling us they received a “target letter” from the U.S. Attorney’s Office or State Attorney General’s Office and that they are considering whether to go to an interview with law enforcement under a “proffer agreement.”
Recent statistics show that about 96% of the criminal cases in federal court are resolved through guilty pleas. The number of cases going to trial has dramatically decreased in the past ten years. Thus, today’s criminal defense attorneys must be adept at negotiating the best possible resolution for their clients that choose to plead guilty.
I have written a number of times about modern technology being used in criminal investigations, from cellphone towers tracking our phones, to Alexa and other smart home devices used to record internet searches and conversations, to security cameras used to spy on their homeowners. Recently, the New York Times and other media outlets reported that Google has the ability to track which cellphones are in the area of a crime scene at a particular time. Once law enforcement narrows down which phones they are interested in, they obtain a warrant for the particular cellphone owner’s information.
Anyone facing a federal sentencing knows how difficult and daunting the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines can be for many types of crimes. For financial crimes, the amount of loss, number of victims, complexity of the scheme and the like can quickly ratchet someone with no prior offenses into the 10+ year range. With a system that does not allow for early release on parole, like most states, and that credits a defendant with only 54 days a year good time credit, sentencing in the federal system can be particularly harsh.
In their simplest form, Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are digital representations of value that can be traded through an exchange and stored in digital wallets secured by 26-35 character long case sensitive account numbers that require a private key, similar to a password or pin to access. Virtual currency is not legal tender issued or guaranteed by any government. Rather, its value is determined by consensus within a community of users. Since these transactions are done on the internet and through exchanges using cash, wire transfers, or credit cards to a host of web-based businesses, the purchasers’ identities and source of funds are more difficult to uncover.
In many cases, defense attorneys utilize various experts to assist in their defense of a client. Those experts may include private investigators, forensic accountants, psychologists, DNA analysts, accident reconstruction analysis and economists. While experts can provide invaluable assistance in understanding the prosecution’s theory of the case and in analyzing and attacking the government’s evidence, special care must be taken to protect and preserve the attorney-client and work-product privileges.