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U.S. Sentencing Commission Releases Data on Sentence Reductions

The U.S. Sentencing Commission has issued a “Retroactivity Data Report,” reflecting the data showing how many inmates have had their sentences reduced under the First Step Act’s retroactive sentencing provisions for crack-cocaine offenders. The data includes a break down by criminal history category, whether the offender had a firearm, and the average reduction.

President Biden Announces Six More Federal Judicial Nominations

The Biden administration announced the nominations of six more federal judges. The nominations are for the 1st, 2nd, and 10th appellate circuits as well as the three district courts. President Biden has nominated 19 judges, and none of yet been confirmed.

UPDATED: Tracking the Capitol Riot Cases

The Department of Justice has obtained its second conviction in connection with the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol and its aftermath. A jury in the Eastern District of New York found a defendant guilty of threatening to assault U.S. officials based on a video he posted after January 6 called “Kill Your Senators” and advocating for protestors to return to the Capitol with guns. The conviction follows the first guilty plea stemming from the riots, with a member of the Oath Keepers pleading guilty two weeks ago to obstructing an official proceeding and entering a restricted building with a dangerous weapon.

New BOP Memo Expands Eligibility for Home Confinement

The DOJ recently issued a memorandum to BOP facilities expanding the number of inmates who are eligible for release to home confinement under the CARES Act. While neither the BOP nor the DOJ have published the memo yet, Keri Blakinger of the Marshall Project has obtained a copy of the memo and confirmed its authenticity with the BOP. Among other things, the new criteria allows more inmates with low-level disciplinary issues or Low PATTERN scores to obtain release to home confinement.

DEA Releases its “National Drug Threat Assessment” for 2020

The DEA has released its “National Drug Threat Assessment” for the Year 2020. The report contains an exhaustive review of topics such as the different sources for different drugs imported into the U.S., the price and purity levels of several controlled substances, data regarding where most drugs are trafficked or seized, consumption patterns, and other information that can be helpful to defense attorneys in drug cases.

BOP States It Has No Immediate Plans to Send Inmates on Home Confinement Back to Prison, But That Could Chance

BOP Director Michael Carvajal testified before the Senate on April 15, 2021. He testified that the BOP does not currently have any immediate plans to send inmates back to prison who are currently on home confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The director also testified, however, that Congress needs to pass a law to ensure inmates are not send back when the COVID-19 emergency order is lifted.

Attorney General’s Remarks on Gun Violence Prevention Suggest Increase in Federal Prosecutions for Firearm Offenses

Earlier this month, Attorney General Merrick Garland spoke about the rise of gun-related deaths in the U.S. and the federal government’s strategy to reduce them. His remarks suggest that criminal prosecutions will play a central part to that strategy. The AG’s remarks about keeping guns “out of the hands of criminals” suggest an increase in …

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Group of Current and Former Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Officials Issue Joint Statement on Need to Reduce Extreme Sentences

This month, a group of current and former prosecutors and law enforcement officials issued a “Joint Statement on Sentencing Chances and Addressing Past Extreme Sentences.” The group is calling for reforms including the expansion of compassionate release, new agencies or units to review long sentences, and prospective limits on prosecutors’ ability to charge individuals for offenses that carry especially long mandatory minimums.

DOJ Has Charged 474 Individuals with COVID-19 Fraud, And Counting

The Department of Justice recently announced that it has charged 474 defendants with fraud related to COVID-19 relief programs, such as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, and the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program. The DOJ reports that the cases combined involve over $569 million in potential loss amounts, and that they have been brought in 56 federal districts.

President Biden Announces 11 Judicial Nominations

As reported by Politico, the Biden administration has released a list of 11 candidates for the federal judiciary, including picks for three circuit court vacancies, seven district court vacancies, and an administrative vacancy. The most high profile pick is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of the D.C. District Court, who has now been nominated to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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