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There have not been many decisions from the D.C. Circuit in recent months – criminal or otherwise. But a rare reversal in an unusual coram nobis proceeding is worth mentioning as we swing into those grey winter months.

In an opinion remarkable for its turnaround – announced only 45 days after oral argument – the Circuit concluded that Kerry Newman, a permanent resident alien since 1980, had established one viable ground on which to claim that his defense counsel might have rendered ineffective assistance by providing erroneous advice at sentencing about the potential consequences of a guilty plea to a felony offense. United States v. Newman, _ F.3d _, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 1988 (D.C. Cir., Oct. 2, 2015).

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Gentle readers,

As you know, we’ve had precious little content here at the Federal Criminal Appeals Blog. So, starting this week, we’re trying something new – having other folks write posts.

Please let us know how we’re doing with this. Feel free to send me an email with feedback. Please let me know what you think. And you’ll see bio information for the authors who are writing here – feel free to reach out to them as well.

It’s an experiment. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. I’m hopeful on this one. And it’s better than the blank space this blog has been.

Enjoy!

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This blog used to be great. It was a useful tool for those of us in the trenches of defending people accused of crimes in federal court.

Alas – my workload has been such that the blog has slipped as a priority. (Also I’ve been writing over at Above the Law).

For that reason, and at the suggestion of a former reader, I’m asking for help.

typewriter-1-1530257.jpgIf you’re a criminal defense lawyer practicing in one of the circuits and would like to take responsibility for updating this page with the federal defense wins from one of the circuits, please send me an email.

I would imagine there are circuits where this wouldn’t be too onerous. The Fifth Circuit, for example, would not probably not be heavy lifting.

Folks who join the team will get credit and attribution on the blog and thanks. All of the glory that comes with writing a blog on federal criminal appellate law can be yours. And if you decide to write here, and happen to find yourself in Washington, D.C., I’d be willing to buy you almost an entire beer.

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Due to various case and vacation related reasons, there will be no short wins today.

But, fear not – if you really want to read stuff written by me about federal criminal law, you can read my editorial in Sunday’s Baltimore Sun here about Eric Holder’s proposals to reduce the prison population.

Here’s the punchline:

No one at the Department of Justice wins an award or gets a promotion for deciding to walk away from a case, or advocating for a lower fair sentence instead of a higher one they can brag about in the office. And Mr. Holder’s “reforms” do nothing to change that. If federal prosecutors aren’t throwing people in prison from state court, they’ll find other people to put in prison.

We either need to drastically reform the culture of law enforcement — and reward decisions to walk away as much as decisions to go forward — or we need to drastically reduce the number of people who make a living from other people going to prison.

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I’m grateful that the ABA Law Journal has, again, decided this is one of the 100 best law-related blogs in the country.

That’s right, your very own Federal Criminal Appeals Blog is on the 2012 ABA 100 list.

Here’s what the ABA Law Journal said about the blog:

Described by fans as informative, useful and insightful with a dose of nonsnarky humor, D.C. lawyer Matt Kaiser exclusively covers cases involving defendants successful on appeal. Reader Dan Kaplan of the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Phoenix says, “I get regular summaries of criminal appellate decisions in my circuit (the 9th), but this blog supplements that with interesting decisions from other circuits. The summaries are thorough but short and very readable, and best of all, they include only defense wins. I have on a few occasions cited in briefs cases I learned about from this blog.”


vote_rec_orange.jpg

This means three things:

(1) I am worried the editors at the ABA Law Journal are still drinking.

(2) I owe Dan Kaplan at least a drink (redeemable in Washington, D.C.).

(3) You can vote for this Blog to win the “Criminal Justice” category. Voting takes place here. (or you can click the big button above).

Thank you, very much, to everyone who lobbied the ABA Journal on my behalf. Thanks also to the friendly folks at the ABA Journal for reading my stuff and liking it.

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Last year, the friendly folks at the ABA Law Journal decided that this was one of the best 100 law-related blogs out there in 2011. I’m grateful and mildly worried about their judgment.

You, on the other hand, are here reading this blog. Which makes me think that you might like it.

If that’s true, then first, thanks very much.

Second, I’d be grateful if you wouldn’t mind mentioning it to the ABA Law Journal as they try to figure out which blogs are rocking it in 2012. You can do so here.

And, yes, it’s presumptuous to do this so soon after summer vacation. Apologies.

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Gentle readers,

I hope this finds you well. I wanted to raise two things with you.

First, as you’ll likely have noticed, I haven’t been too active here since June (in the sense that I haven’t been active here at all). I gave myself a bit of a summer vacation that lasted longer than I’d originally planned.

1288990_beachin_it_1.jpgI wrote a few things for Above the Law on the Supreme Court (here are links to my coverage of the Fair Sentencing Act, Williams v. Illinois, and the Stolen Valor Act). I also represented some folks as a part of my day job (for some reason, much of my summer was spent representing people in white collar investigations instead of indicted cases – I’m not sure why).

I hope you were able to find another place to find high-quality, yet light and jaunty descriptions of federal criminal appeals these past few weeks.

Alas, from the blog’s perspective, I consider my summer vacation to be over.

Second, many an astute reader has reached out to let me know that, ahem, I’ve missed a few cases. It’s true. Since, perhaps, the early spring I’ve fallen short of writing about every reported decision where a defendant wins (even before my summer break). Too many people have their cases remanded for a completely uninteresting (to anyone else) problem with a supervised release condition, or a guidelines issue that should have been completely obvious, or because Booker requires every defendant in a criminal case to receive probation (that last one is something I heard in a jail the other day – it may not be the law (though soon it won’t matter because any minute now Congress will approve the 65% good time credit law)).

So, to be clear, I’ve been curating which cases I write about for a while. And I’m likely to continue. I suppose you may not care – if you’re reading this blog for comprehensiveness you’re on a quixotic errand from the jump – but it is a minor adjustment to what I’ve been saying I’m offering.

Going forward I’m likely to skip some of the cases I used to spend serious time with – like those Special Assessment wins.

And, as always, if you have comments, please leave them or feel free to email me.

Thanks for reading!

Matt

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Faithful readers,

I hope this finds you well.

1038827_u_s__supreme_court_1.jpgI know you come here for the very best in myopic and cheeky descriptions of federal criminal appeals. Thank you for your readership.

I wanted to let you know that I’m also writing a column over at Above the Law about the Supreme Court – and not just about federal criminal stuff. I wrote last week about how dull I find bankruptcy lawyers.

If you’d like to see what I’m writing over there, please feel free to do so at this link.

It’s a different audience over at Above the Law – an audience made of people that has never had to explain that while, yes, technically, the judge could give you probation in light of Booker, it doesn’t mean that the judge is going to vary 13 years downward to do it.

The Above the Law readers are people who don’t know what Corrlinks is.

They’re people who have never walked out of a courthouse carrying a garbage bag containing their client’s wallet, belt, and keys after a surprisingly bad hearing to review conditions of pretrial release.

But I’m sure they’re fine people nonetheless. Except for the people who write stuff in the comments – I assume they’re deeply unhappy third-year associates drowning in law school debt, document review, and Dewar’s.

In any event, I wanted to let you know, gentle readers, that you’re my people too. And posts will continue to be posted here with about the same frequency that they have been.

Thanks very much for reading. Hope you’re well,

Matt

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I wanted to briefly let you know that you can subscribe to this blog by email. Then, whenever there’s a post, you’ll get an email. It’s massively efficient.

Just enter your email address, then hit “subscribe”:

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If you’re one of the folks who gets this blog by email already, and, indeed, are reading this very post by email, you can just forward the email to your friends if you think they’d like to subscribe to the blog.

And, soon, we’ll have more exciting news of a defendant winning in federal court.

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11Blawg100_VoteBlogSmallRed.jpgWow, this blog is one of the ABA Journal’s 100 law blogs (or “blawgs”) on the 2011 ABA Journal Blawg 100!

Thanks very much to the ABA Journal for the nod!

Here’s a quote from the editor of the ABA Journal about the Blawg 100:

“Blogging has become an important, even vital, source of information, education, entertainment and inspiration in the legal community. Whether written by practicing lawyers, law students, judges or law professors, blawgs are becoming more bold, more sophisticated and more integrated into the everyday experience of the profession,” said Allen Pusey, editor and publisher of the ABA Journal. “And choosing just 100 of the best from our directory of 3,500 legal blogs is becoming an increasingly daunting task.”

As in years past, they’re taking votes for best blog in a number of categories. If you’d like, you can vote for this blog here, or by clicking the big shiny picture to the left.

Unsurprisingly, you will find this blog nominated in the “Criminal Justice” category.