Have you ever wondered if the government is monitoring your Facebook or Instagram? They are.
If you have been annoyed at having your smartphone searched at the airport, you'll be interested to hear this. It turns out that agents need reasonable suspicion that you're involved in something illegal before they can perform such a search.
Do you know how many federal crimes are on the books? Neither do we. In fact, nobody does.
The next time you ride Amtrak, you may encounter an agent from the Drug Enforcement Administration asking you to allow a search of your belongings. Don't consent -- especially if you have something to hide.
There are approximately 1.16 million people labeled "known or suspected terrorists" on the FBI's terrorism watch list. While most of them are from foreign countries, about 4,600 people on the list as of 2017 were U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents -- and many of them are completely innocent.
The American Bar Association's (ABA's) House of Delegates and the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys (NACDL) have just passed a unanimous resolution urging Congress to fully fund the federal First Step Act and to make it retroactive.
As we discussed on this blog last December, the First Step Act was a bipartisan reform law that promised relief for federal defendants and prisoners in several areas. The Act was expected to be especially helpful to minority defendants, as minorities have traditionally been sentenced more harshly than whites for equivalent crimes. The first major overhaul of the federal criminal justice system in decades, the First Step Act was signed into law by President Trump on Dec. 21, 2018.
New data obtained through the Freedom of Information Act indicate that the federal government has been prosecuting fewer white-collar crimes under this administration than it had done previously. Researchers from Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse found a 35.7-percent dip in the number of cases filed in January over the same period five years ago.
The case involved South Carolina bank robbery. Witnesses were unable to ID the robber and the bank's surveillance video turned out to be too grainy to help. When the FBI finally arrived at a suspect, the man countered that the robber had been his brother. With only low-quality video to go by, how could investigators tell which brother had committed the crime?
The question of how much discretion federal judges should have when sentencing criminal defendants is an important one, and opinions have changed over time. In the 1980s and 1990s, Congress passed a large number of strict, mandatory minimum sentencing requirements.