Monthly Archives: May 2014

Proffer Letter Pitfalls

United States v. Bryant | 13-1578

May 2014

Any defense attorney who advises a client to enter into a cooperation deal with the government needs to read United States v. Bryant. It is a good reminder that the protections offered in exchange for candid testimony are rarely as firm as one might believe.

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The Procedural World of Sentencing

United States v. Donelli | 13-2548

May 2014

Donelli is another case of which defense counsel needs to be aware. In U.S. v. Cunningham, 429 F.3d 673 (7th Cir. 2005), the Seventh Circuit announced that sentencing judges must “address a defendant’s principal arguments in mitigation when those arguments have recognized legal merit.” Donelli instructs what a defense attorney must do at the time of sentencing to make a district court aware of a principal mitigation argument, such that the requirement of Cunningham consideration attaches.

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Staleness: A Dying Doctrine?

United States v. Carroll | 13-2600

May 2014

Bad facts make bad law. This was true in U.S. v. Carroll, No. 13-2600, which held that evidence more than five years old could support a finding of probable cause to search a home and computers within it.

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"Don't Call Me Shirley"

United States v. Haldar | 13-1238

May 2014

Haldar is a good reminder that trial counsel must be diligent in raising and maintaining evidentiary objections during the give and take of the trial process in order to preserve issues for appeal. Haldar also demonstrates that comedic references can have a very long shelf-life.

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