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m.russ@russfirm.com
This is a follow up to our prior blog relating to escaping mandatory minimum sentences and the Safety Valve. In this blog, we address an avenue to escape mandatory minimums that is more familiar with criminal defendants and the public at large: substantial assistance.  What is a Mandatory Minimum Sentence? We discussed mandatory minimum sentences in...
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Drug cases at the federal level are not to be taken lightly. These cases are often the product of extensive investigations and generally involve a significant quantity of drugs. Congress has taken a firm stance on drugs and has armed the Department of Justice with several tools to combat crime, including lengthy mandatory minimum sentences.  ...
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Criminal cases are generally resolved in one of two ways – 1) trial, or 2) a plea deal. In the federal system, the vast majority of cases are resolved by guilty pleas. Generally, when a plea agreement is reached, the parties will agree on which charges the defendant will plead guilty to but will leave...
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The presence of a firearm in a federal case is generally bad news. 18 U.S.C. § 924(c) threatens long prison sentences for anyone who possesses or uses a firearm in connection with drug trafficking offenses, and the Federal Government is not shy about charging a defendant under the statute. Unfortunately, it does not matter whether...
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Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Georgia reversed a defendant’s convictions for felony murder and two firearm charges because the trial court erred by admitting hearsay statements from an accomplice, failed to give a jury instruction on the accomplice-corroboration requirement, and erred by admitting evidence of the defendant’s involvement in two prior shooting.  This...
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Having a child be accused of a crime is probably one of the top fears for a parent, but our system does not treat juveniles the same way they do adults. The most obvious reason for the disparate treatment is that juveniles are unable to make fully informed decisions in the way adults are. Accordingly,...
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Overview Accomplice liability has been one of the more difficult concepts for clients to grasp – and for good reason. Under federal law, a person who orders, aids, abets, or assists in the commission of a crime can be charged with the underlying crime and will face the same penalties as the primary offender.   Accomplice...
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Many statutes relating to firearms or controlled dangerous substances require the State or Federal Government to show that a defendant unlawfully “possessed” the firearm or drugs. Many defendants are well aware of what the law considers “actual possession.” Simply put, this is when the police find a firearm or drugs on your person, or you...
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There are several stages of a criminal case, but one of the first substantive steps will be the Preliminary Hearing. The Preliminary Hearing generally takes place within weeks of an arrest, but the hearing is not an opportunity to adjudicate whether the Defendant is innocent or guilty. Instead, the purpose of the hearing is to...
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