The Justice System is changing. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo to federal prosecutors last month implementing a new approach as they evaluate what crimes to charge and sentences to pursue. Although ultimate sentencing discretion remains with the Court, the government's position has an impact.
IN THE NEWS: The Law Office of John Freeman, PLLC, is proud to announce that its founding member has been invited to join the ranks of the American Society of Legal Advocates. This esteemed legal organization welcomed John Freeman as their newest member on December 16, 2013, recognizing Mr. Freeman as one of the Top 100 Lawyers in Michigan.
In The Justice System, what factors does the court consider in determining whether a client will be granted bail or remain incarcerated pending the outcome of the case? For most clients, this is the single most important issue after learning they have been charged with a criminal offense. Therefore, consider carefully what experienced attorney to retain.
In the Justice System, sentencing, and mandatory minimums for federal offenders are hot topics again. In March, 2013 Democratic Senator Patrick J. Leahy and Republican Senator Rand Paul introduced the Safety Valve Act of 2013. If the bill becomes law, it will allow federal judges to sentence offenders facing mandatory minimum sentences to less time in prison, regardless of the crime charged, provided that doing so does not jeopardize public safety. This does not mean that federal judges will be required to sentence offenders below the mandatory minimum, it merely permits judges to do so when the mandatory minimum sentence is unreasonable and does not fulfill the legislature's goals of punishment.
Being convicted of sex crimes brings a heavy price, particularly in child pornography cases. Congress says that anyone convicted of child pornography must pay mandatory restitution for the total amount of the victim's losses. While federal courts cannot agree on how the law should enforce restitution payments in child pornography cases, the Sixth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, which covers all of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, recently remanded two $1 million-plus restitution orders to the district court to determine the extent to which individual defendants must pay restitution where they share responsibility for the victim's injuries. The cases involved men who were ordered to pay full restitution for possessing images of the same victim, although neither man created the images, nor did they have any contact with the person in the images.
Protecting your rights is becoming more difficult for Michigan Criminal Defense lawyers. It seems like every other week we're picking up the newspaper or listening to the evening news about a new way the government infringes on a person's privacy rights. As technology improves, not only do we need to worry about internet hackers, stalkers and identity thieves, but now we have to worry about the government as well.
A retired Utica, Michigan, teacher who was recently convicted of possession of child pornography has been sentenced in the U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan in Detroit to 20 years. The sentence was the maximum faced by the man after he pleaded guilty to the federal charge last year.