“‘Mandatory minimum’ sentences to end for many drug offenders”

August 12, 2013

Los Angeles Times on August 11, 2013 released the following:

“Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. plans to announce a federal policy shift to reduce penalties for low-level, nonviolent offenders and to ease prison overcrowding.

By David G. Savage

SAN FRANCISCO — Federal prosecutors will no longer seek long, “mandatory minimum” sentences for many low-level, nonviolent drug offenders, under a major shift in policy aimed at turning around decades of explosive growth in the federal prison population, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. planned to announce Monday.

“Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no good law enforcement reason,” Holder planned to tell the American Bar Assn. meeting here, according to an advance text of his remarks. “While the aggressive enforcement of federal criminal statutes remains necessary, we cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation.”

Under the new policy, prosecutors would send fewer drug offenders to federal prison for long terms and send more of them to drug treatment and community service. A Justice Department spokesman said officials had no estimate of how many future prosecutions would be affected.

The change responds to a major goal of civil rights groups, which say long prison sentences have disproportionately hurt low-income and minority communities.

In his speech, Holder endorses that point of view, saying that “a vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities” and that “many aspects of our criminal justice system may actually exacerbate this problem, rather than alleviate it.”

He also notes that prominent conservatives have embraced the idea of cutting sentences and reducing prison populations.

Conservative groups with leaders including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush have called for changing U.S. crime and prison policies, Justice Department officials note. Support from conservatives has come in part because of the enormous bite that prison costs take out of state budgets.

Beginning with the “war on drugs” of the 1980s, many states and the federal government adopted laws that required judges to impose long sentences on anyone caught with certain amounts of illegal drugs, regardless of the circumstances.

More recently, as crime rates have dropped sharply in most major urban areas, public demand for lengthy prison terms has waned, and both liberal and conservative states have changed their laws to incarcerate fewer people.

Advocates of change point to Texas and New York as leaders in the effort to reduce sentences, particularly for lower-level drug crimes. Although California has modified its strict “three strikes” sentencing laws, the state has made fewer changes than many others. The state’s prisons currently are under court order to reduce the number of inmates by nearly 10,000 this year to cope with overcrowding.

Congress has moved more slowly than state legislatures. But conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats have both called for pulling back on the use of mandatory minimum prison terms.

In his speech, Holder plans to cite proposals by Sens. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), two of the Senate’s leading liberals, and Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), two tea party favorites, that would give judges more leeway in sentencing drug offenders.

“By reserving the most severe penalties for serious, high-level or violent drug traffickers, we can better promote public safety, deterrence and rehabilitation, while making our expenditures smarter and more productive,” Holder says in his speech.

How big a role mass incarceration has played in cutting crime rates remains a hotly debated topic among criminal justice experts. But there’s no disagreement that mandatory minimum sentences helped cause explosive growth in prison populations. At the federal level, nearly half of the 219,000 inmates are serving time for drug-related crimes.

“While the entire U.S. [prison] population has increased by about a third since 1980, the federal population has grown at an astonishing rate — by almost 800%,” Holder’s speech says. “It’s still growing, despite the fact that federal prisons are operating at nearly 40% above capacity. Even though this country comprises just 5% of the world’s population, we incarcerate almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners.”

Under the new federal policy, which stems from a review Holder ordered this year, U.S. attorneys will no longer bring charges that include lengthy mandatory minimum prison terms in cases of “low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels,” Holder planned to announce.

Those low-level offenders instead “will be charged with offenses for which the accompanying sentences are better suited to their individual conduct.”

Meting out long sentences to low-level criminals “breeds disrespect for the system” and does not serve public safety, the speech says.

In addition, according to the remarks, the federal Bureau of Prisons will revise its guidelines to allow the early release of more inmates who are elderly or who seek “compassionate release” for medical reasons.

The department is also looking into new ways to identify drug offenders who can be sent to drug treatment or required to do community service as an alternative to prison.

“Clearly, these strategies can work,” Holder’s speech says, citing recent efforts in Texas, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Hawaii. “They’ve attracted overwhelming, bipartisan support in ‘red states’ as well as ‘blue states.’ And it’s past time for others to take notice.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


FBI: “Former Kinloch Mayor Indicted for Lying on Employment Records”

July 11, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on July 10, 2013 released the following:

“ST. LOUIS, MO— Former Kinloch Mayor Keith Conway was indicted on federal charges of falsifying employment records while completing his original sentence at a St. Louis halfway house, the Dismas House.

According to the indictment, on May 1, 2013, the United States Bureau of Prisons transferred Conway from its prison facility at Marion, Illinois, to the Dismas House residential re-entry center in St. Louis. The Bureau of Prisons contracts with Dismas House for the housing and supervision of inmates and retains jurisdiction and responsibility over those inmates until their ultimate release from Bureau of Prisons’ custody upon completion of their sentences. As a resident of Dismas House, Conway was required to seek and obtain full-time employment and to submit paycheck stubs to verify that employment to the Dismas House Program Director. While a resident at Dismas House awaiting final release from the Bureau of Prisons, Conway falsely represented that he had obtained full-time employment and was permitted to leave the Dismas House premises during his purported work hours.

Conway was originally sentenced to 21 months in prison in November 2011 on charges of using Kinloch city funds to pay personal expenses, fund personal travel, and purchase a Florida vacation condominium timeshare; and attempting to influence Kinloch City Officials to provide false information to federal law enforcement about the criminal charges pending against him.

Conway, 49, was indicted by a federal grand jury on four felony counts of filing false documents.

If convicted, each count carries a maximum penalty of five years and/or fines up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Public Corruption Unit, including officers of the St. Louis County Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Hal Goldsmith is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Federal prosecutors seek prison psychologist’s personal notes on Tucson shooting suspect

July 18, 2012

The Washington Post on July 17, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. — Federal prosecutors say they want to see a prison psychologist’s personal notes on Tucson shooting rampage suspect Jared Lee Loughner.

In a motion filed Tuesday, prosecutors asked a federal judge for Bureau of Prisons psychologist Dr. Christina Pietz’s personal notes from her latest competency evaluations of Loughner from Feb. 8 to June 7.

Prosecutors say the pages containing Pietz’s notes of conversations with defense counsel can be redacted from the government’s copies.

Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges stemming from the January 2011 shooting that killed six people and wounded former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others.

He remains in custody at a Missouri prison facility where he’s undergoing treatment to make him mentally fit to stand trial. A status hearing is scheduled Aug. 7.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Bout could serve sentence in Russia – US Attorney General

May 16, 2012

RT.com on May 16, 2012 released the following (edited on May 17, 2012):

“The US may consider an application to transfer Viktor Bout, sentenced to 25 years in jail, to serve his prison term in Russia if it sends one, US Attorney General Eric Holder told Russian reporters.

The­ US Attorney General gave an exclusive interview to a number of Russian media outlets. A full interview will be published in the Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily on Thursday.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry stated recently that the country will do everything possible to get Bout back.

Earlier this week, the US Bureau of Prisons announced that it was reconsidering its plan to send the Russian businessman to the high-security Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado. Bout’s attorney Albert Dayan said that he was informed about this decision on Tuesday. On the same day, prosecutors notified the judge in a letter that the Bureau of Prisons was re-evaluating where to transfer Viktor Bout from a federal lockup in Brooklyn.

Viktor Bout, a former Soviet military officer, was found guilty of conspiracy to kill US nationals, including military officers and employees, conspiring to use anti-aircraft missiles and selling millions of dollars’ worth of weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC. He is now serving his 25-year prison term in the US.

Russia has repeatedly condemned Bout’s trial on the grounds that the charges were not connected to any crime, but rather were over alleged criminal intent.The Russian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement that blasted the US trial as politically motivated, adding that it has blacklisted the US officials involved in the case.”

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Former media mogul Conrad Black is released

May 4, 2012

Associated Press on May 4, 2012 released the following:

“MIAMI (AP) — Former media mogul Conrad Black was released from a federal prison in Miami early Friday and faced deportation after serving about three years for defrauding investors.

Bureau of Prisons spokesman Chris Burke did not give an exact time on when Black was released and said he didn’t have any other details.

Black, whose empire once included the Chicago Sun-Times, The Daily Telegraph of London, The Jerusalem Post and small papers across the U.S. and Canada, had returned to prison last September to finish serving his sentence.

U.S. immigration officials said they had custody over Black, who doesn’t have American citizenship. Black is facing deportation and could travel to either Canada or Britain.

“I can confirm that he’s in (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) custody,” said bureau spokesman Nestor Yglesias He would not say where Black was headed, citing privacy laws.

A former member of the British House of Lords, he had been sentenced to more than six years in prison after his 2007 conviction in Chicago, but had then been released on bail two years later to pursue an appeal that was partially successful. A judge reduced his sentence to three years and he returned to prison last September. With time off for good behavior, he has completed his sentence.

Black’s big chance to quash his convictions arose in June 2010, when the U.S. Supreme Court sharply curtailed the disputed “honest services” laws that underpinned part of the case against him.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago tossed out two of Black’s fraud convictions last year, citing that landmark ruling. But it said one conviction for fraud and one for obstruction of justice were not affected by the Supreme Court’s ruling. The fraud conviction, the judges concluded, involved Black and others taking $600,000 and had nothing to do with honest services. It was, they asserted, straightforward theft.

Black – who received the title of Lord Black of Crossharbour – was known for a grand lifestyle, including a $62,000 birthday party for his wife, a swanky apartment on Park Avenue in New York and a trip to the island of Bora Bora.

Black’s three-month trial drew international attention, heightened by his sometimes haughty comments. When shareholders grumbled about the cost of the Bora Bora trip, he wrote a memo saying: “I’m not prepared to re-enact the French revolutionary renunciation of the rights of the nobility.”

At the core of the honest-services charges against Black was his strategy, starting in 1998, of selling off the bulk of the small community papers, which were published in smaller cities across the United States and Canada.

Black and other Hollinger executives received millions of dollars in payments from the companies that bought the community papers in return for promises that they would not return to compete with the new owners.

Prosecutors said the executives pocketed the money, which they said belonged to shareholders, without telling Hollinger’s board of directors.

At his resentencing hearing last year, several inmates wrote letters to the judge saying Black had changed their lives through lectures he gave on writing, history, economics and other subjects. But one prison employee claimed in an affidavit that Black had arranged for inmates – “acting like servants” – to iron his clothes, mop his floor and perform other chores. Another employee told her Black once insisted she address him as “Lord Black.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Visitor Arrested for Allegedly Attempting to Smuggle Contraband into Metropolitan Detention Center

March 20, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on March 19, 2012 released the following:

“SAN JUAN—On March 17, 2012, CARMEN GONZALEZ-ORTIZ, age 70, was arrested for allegedly attempting to smuggle contraband into the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) located in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. GONZALEZ-ORTIZ is charged with possession of prohibited items within a federal prison facility.

The criminal complaint alleges GONZALEZ-ORTIZ entered the federal detention facility in order to visit her son, MIGUEL GONZALEZ-GONZALEZ, an inmate at MDC. It is further alleged GONZALEZ-ORTIZ entered the facility carrying inside her front waistband and inside her front pants pocket approximately 30 pills of what is believed to be the controlled substance known as Suboxone, 100 pieces of orange film also believed to be Suboxone, and two cellular telephone SIM cards, all wrapped in a balloon. In addition, it is also believed she was carrying approximately 13 grams of marijuana, which was wrapped in black electrical tape.

While visiting her son, GONZALEZ-ORTIZ was seen by a Bureau of Prisons (BOP) officer who was monitoring the MDC visitation room surveillance cameras covertly removing the contraband from her pants pocket, and also, from inside her waistband, and handing them to her son. MIGUEL GONZALEZ-GONZALEZ then took the contraband and appeared to place it in his rectum.

GONZALEZ-ORTIZ and her son were subsequently escorted out of the visitation room and placed in separate holding areas within MDC. During the examination of MIGUEL GONZALEZ-GONZALEZ, the contraband items as seen on the MDC surveillance cameras were found.

Suboxone is a Schedule III Controlled Substance used to treat opiate addiction. Suboxone is a combination of the prescription medications Buprenorphine and Naloxone.

If convicted, GONZALEZ-ORTIZ faces up to a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment.

This case is initially being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Charles Walsh and was investigated by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP)-MDC Special Investigations Office and the FBI.

The public is reminded a criminal complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty. The U.S. government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Viktor Bout Opinion and Order February 24, 2012

February 24, 2012

U.S. v. Viktor Bout, Case No. 1:08-cr-00365-SAS

Order Granting Viktor Bout’s Request for a Transfer to General Population

As stated in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York’s Docket Sheet:

“OPINION AND ORDER as to Viktor Bout. After fifteen months in solitary confinement with extremely minimal human contact and mobility, Viktor Bout requests that he be transferred to general population. The Supreme Court has noted that “[p]rison walls do not form a barrier separating prison inmates from the protections of the Constitution” and that “‘[w]hen a prison… practice offends a fundamental constitutional guarantee, federal courts will discharge their duty to protect constitutional rights. Because I “cannot simply defer to the Warden and abandon my duty to uphold the constitution,” I must grant Bout’s request…. CONCLUSION: For the aforementioned reasons, Bout’s request for a transfer to general population is granted. The BOP is directed to transfer Bout forthwith. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Shira A. Scheindlin on 2/24/2012)(ja) (Entered: 02/24/2012)”

Viktor Bout Opinion and Order February 24, 2012

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.