Justice Gorsuch Opines on Due Process and Civil Asset Forfeiture

In Sessions v. Dimaya,1 Justice Gorsuch concurred in the judgment of a fragmented Supreme Court but only in part of the plurality opinion by four other justices. Justice Gorsuch wrote a separate opinion to explain something he (but not the plurality) thinks is fundamental about due process. His concurring opinion […]

Obstruction of the Tax Code: Supreme Court Limits Gov’t Power to Criminalize Sloppy Tax Filers

Did you commit a felony when you made those cash payments to your babysitter?  Last week, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion answering the question as decisively, no. “Please,” you are probably thinking, “that could never have been the case.” But according to the federal government’s arguments in a […]

Supreme Court Limits Gov’t Power to Charge Criminal Penalties for Unknowingly Obstructing the IRS

Washington, D.C. – The Supreme Court this week issued a ruling protecting all Americans from prosecution for vaguely defined tax crimes. In the case of Carlo Marinello, II v. United States, it clarified a broad statute regarding who can be charged with criminal conduct for obstructing the IRS’s administration of the tax […]

Plea Bargaining and Its Effect on The Sixth Amendment

Earlier blog posts on criminal justice and policing reform focused on overcriminalization, mandatory minimums, and other perverse incentives within our justice system. This post will focus on the Sixth Amendment and Plea Bargaining. For the purposes of this post, “plea bargaining” refers to “agreements between defendants and prosecutors where defendants […]

The Unintended Consequences of Mandatory Minimums

This blog post will re-examine the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (SRCA) and focus on mandatory minimums. For the purposes of this blog post, “mandatory minimums” refers to “when a person convicted of a crime must be imprisoned for a minimum term, as opposed to leaving the length of punishment […]

Inaccessible Criminal Codes and Their Domino Effects

On October 4, 2017, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017 (“SRCA”) was reintroduced in the Senate with bipartisan support. A version of the bill was first introduced in the Senate in October of 2015, but never received a vote. If signed into law, SRCA would reduce and restrict […]

Congress should reject flawed Back the Blue Act

On May 16, 2017, Representative Ted Poe (R-Texas) introduced the Back the Blue Act in Congress.[1]  The bill has since been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.  The Back the Blue Act of 2017 (“BBA”) creates new federal crimes for killing and assaulting police officers—conduct that is already illegal under […]