The Second Chance Act

April 09, 2008

On April 9, 2008 President Bush signed into law the Second Chance Act. Although the Act is certainly a step in the right direction, the bulk of the Act is designed to permit additional funding and research for re-entry programs and targets recidivism. However, one provision amends the law and allows the Federal Bureau of Prisons to grant up to 12 months in a Halfway House rather than 6 as previously authorized. The Act also amends 18 USC §3624(c) and permits the BOP to grant up to 6 months in Home Confinement. To date the Bureau of Prisons has not issued regulations letting the criminal justice community know how it will utilize its new authority, but we are optimistic that more inmates will find that they will receive more CCC and HC time than previously permitted. See Update Above Please feel free to call or e-mail with specific questions.

December 10, 2007. In a spectacular and groundbreaking decision, the US Supreme Court allows sentencing judges significantly more discretion in imposing a below guidelines sentence.

In Gall v. United States the Supreme Court made it easier for district courts to impose a below guideline sentence without fear of reversal. As many may know, many appellate courts reversed below guideline sentences as being “unreasonable.” In the Gall decision the Supreme Court held that judges can impose sentences below the specified guideline level and still have such punishment regarded as “reasonable.” The Court also imposed a heretofore different appellate standard of review and mandates that federal appeals courts to use a “deferential abuse-of-discretion standard” when a trial sets sets a punishment below the range. It is imperative to bring this important decision to your lawyer’s attention or have your counsel contact us for specific information. More than ever, sentence mitigation and investigation is needed well prior to any sentencing hearing.