Category Archives/Archivos de la categoría: Articles

In Rare Ruling Vacating Sentence as Unreasonable, Second Circuit Expounds on the Role of Mercy in Sentencing

An article by Jacqueline L. Bonneau and Harry Sandick, December 20, 2017, edited by David Zapp and Johanna Zapp

In United States v. Singh, 16-1111-cr (Kearse, Hall, Chin), the Second Circuit vacated the defendant’s 60-month prison sentence—which was nearly three times the top of his Guidelines range—for illegally reentering the United States after the commission of […]

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Guilty Pleas Plea Bargain vs. No Plea Bargain

“Eric Carpenter, a former Army lawyer who teaches law at Florida International University, said a naked plea can be advantageous by allowing the defense to refrain from agreeing to certain facts that it might otherwise have to concede to under a plea agreement.”

This remark was made in connection with the plea of guilty by Sgt […]

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Extradited Colombians must be allowed to see their families

March 1, 2017

Juan Carlos Pinzón
1724 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036

Dear Ambassador Pinzón,

We write this letter in support of a request that you insist to the appropriate U.S. authority to honor the condition of extradition as set forth by your Supreme Court to allow extradited Colombian nationals visits by […]

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“Juicio” es una mala palabra

Por Johanna Zapp

Lo siguiente es parte de un artículo que apareció en el diario New York Times recientemente.  El mismo habla de la decadencia de los juicios con jurado en nuestros tribunales. Hace poco estuve en la Radio Pública Nacional  para tratar exactamente este tema. Yo comentaba sobre cómo los acusados están aterrorizados ante la […]

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Trial is a Bad Word

By Johanna Zapp

This is part of an article that appeared in the New York Times recently. It talks about the decline of jury trials in our courts. I was recently on National Public Radio talking about this exact issue. I was commenting on how defendants are terrified at the notion of going to trial. An […]

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How Important Is My Guideline?

By David Zapp and Johanna Zapp

Guidelines are like politics. Depends on where you are. In “Red” (Republican-Conservative) federal districts, guidelines will apply more frequently. In “Blue” (Democratic-Liberal) districts, “below-guideline” sentences will be the order of the day.

Let’s take New York City and Miami/Tampa. New York City is blue, blue, blue.  Trump didn’t even bother to […]

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Prosecutors Nix Deal With Star Witness in Federal Drug Trial

Associated Press, November, 15, 2016.

“NEW YORK —With Manhattan federal court jurors watching, an Assistant U.S. Attorney confronted a government informant after a defense attorney played the audio of recorded prison phone calls that the lawyer said proved that the informant in recent weeks engaged in drug trafficking from prison and lied about communicating with his […]

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Free Them!

Editorial, New York Times,  December 7, 2016

The Constitution gives presidents nearly unlimited authority to grant pardons and commute. In the last two years, Mr. Obama has directed the Justice Department to systematically review cases of people serving out sentences that would be far shorter had they been convicted under new, more lenient sentencing laws. While […]

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The “Second Opinion”

NYTimes, Front Page, Sunday July 31, 2016

“Steve Cara expected to sail through the routine medical tests required to increase his life insurance in October 2014. But the results were devastating. He had lung cancer. Doctors told him it was inoperable.

His oncologist recommended an experimental treatment: immunotherapy. Uncertain, Mr. Cara sought a second opinion. A doctor […]

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Hunting for People of Color (Stop and Frisk)

By David and Johanna Zapp

Utah v. Strieff, 136 S.Ct. 27 (2015), did not overrule Terry. v. Ohio (stop and frisk).  But it sure made it harder for defendants to succeed on motions to suppress evidence in circumstances that started out unlawfully.

That is because the Court held that an officer’s discovery of an outstanding arrest warrant […]

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Everything You Wanted to Know About Challenging Foreign Based Wiretap Evidence

By David and Johanna Zapp

  1. “When conducted in this country (U.S.), federal wiretaps are governed by federal wiretap law, but not outside the United States.” Maturo, 982 F.2d at 60.
  2. The Fourth Amendment’s exclusionary rule, suppressing evidence seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s (right to be free from unreasonable searches), generally does not apply to evidence […]
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Watch Out for the E-Mails (Corrlinks)!

By BENJAMIN WEISER, The New York Times, (edited), AUG. 26, 2016,

When Defendant pleaded guilty, he apologized in court. But this week federal prosecutors revealed that they had also been reading his emails. And they say the emails, sent from jail portray him as unrepentant. The government memo included copies of some of the emails. They […]

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U.S. to Phase Out Use of Private Prisons for Federal Inmates

By the New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration said on Thursday that it would begin to phase out the use of private for-profit prisons to house federal inmates. In announcing the policy shift, the Justice Department cited a critical recent report by the department’s independent inspector general about safety and security problems in […]

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Mexico halts extradition of Joaquín Guzmán Loera

Judges in Mexico have temporarily halted the extradition of Joaquín Guzmán Loera,  “El Chapo,” pending the outcome of appeals filed this week by Mr. Guzmán’s lawyers. The appeals argue in part that some of the accusations are based on hearsay rather than direct evidence.

I don’t know why lawyers in Colombia and elsewhere do not raise […]

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Supreme Court Rules Against Freezing Assets Not Tied to Crimes

By Adam Liptak – March 30, 2016

For the New York Times

The Supreme Court’s ruling on Wednesday arose from the prosecution of a Florida woman for Medicare fraud that, according to the government, involved $45 million in charges for unneeded or nonexistent services.

The government may not freeze assets needed to pay criminal defense lawyers if the […]

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Interview with David Zapp regarding Jorge 40’s Expulsion From the Peace and Justice Commission

TTP: “What did you think of Jorge 40 being kicked out of the Peace and Justice Commission for not cooperating?”

David Zapp – “I think it was the best example of chutzpah.”

TTP: “What’s chutzpah?”

David Zapp – “It’s the Hebrew word for “nerve” like when a man is accused of murdering his parents and then falls on […]

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Paramilitary Leader “Jorge 40” Sentenced to198 Months

In sentencing the high-ranking commander of the AUC, Judge Walton rejected the government’s argument that Jorge 40 should be sentenced as a large-scale narcotics trafficker. The judge’s reasoning was that the evidence showed that Jorge 40 was a soldier imposing a “war tax” on legal and illegal businesses in his territory to fund a war […]

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Guidelines Do NOT Determine Sentence

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines do not determine the sentence. A law, 18 United States Code 3553(a), lists the factors that determine the sentence. One of those factors is the sentencing guideline applicable to the offense that the judge is free to ignore, reject entirely, or, modify.” Often the parties agree on the guideline and they […]

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Speak Up: The Life You Save May Be Your Own

The Obligations of a Defense Lawyer to Give You “Effective Assistance”

This article came up as a response to a reader’s suggestion that an office should be established to oversee the performance of lawyers. That’s not necessary because defendants who speak up can tell a judge all he needs to know. But you must speak up! […]

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Cooperation as a Money Making Scheme. Beware of The Messenger…

Ex-defendants who have cooperated with law enforcement and have served their sentences, are trying to monetized their experience by bringing drug dealers to U.S. agents—for a price, of course to be paid by the drug dealers. The quid pro quo though is that the drug dealers have to cooperate with the government. Some lawyers have begun […]

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