Category Archives: Federal Government Watch

Criminal Defense Alert: Significant Changes in Amendments to 2018 Federal Sentencing Guidelines (USSG)

The 2018 Amendments to the United States Sentencing Guidelines (USSG) were unanimously adopted by the U.S. Sentencing Commission last month.  On May 1, 2018, the Federal Sentencing Guideline amendments were submitted to Congress. November 2018 Effective Date They will automatically become effective on November 1, 2018, unless Congress takes proactive steps to disapprove them.  For…


Relevant Conduct in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines: Acquittals and Uncharged Conduct

 Are federal judges limited to considering only final convictions in sentencing? Yes. After Nelson, arguably they must ignore facts of past acquittals, dismissals, or uncharged crimes. Federal criminal laws are violated all over the country.  There can be money laundering and drug trafficking in Alaska or Hawaii just as well as North Texas or South…


Outrageous Prosecutorial Misconduct: Cliven Bundy Case Dismissal – Lessons for Every American

A federal judge has dismissed with prejudice the charges brought against Cliven Bundy and it’s a big deal.  It’s always a big deal for a judge to dismiss a case “with prejudice,” because that means the case is over.  There’s no option for the government to re-file their criminal lawsuit.  It’s over. Dismissed with Prejudice…


Texas in the 2017 DEA National Drug Threat Assessment

A few weeks ago, the Drug Enforcement Administration released its annual drug crime report, entitled the 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment.  It’s published as the government’s latest “…comprehensive strategic assessment of threats posed to our communities by transnational criminal organizations and the illicit drugs they distribute throughout the United States.”  (Report, page 7.) 2017 DEA…


Doctor Warning: Opioid Drug CEO Indictment Is Tip of Health Care Fraud Arrest Iceberg

Last week, two big things happened in the Prescription Drug World which will impact doctors and health care providers in the Dallas, Fort Worth, and North Texas area.  How? More and more, Texas doctors and local physicians are going to find themselves the subject of criminal investigation and some are going to be shocked as…


What are Racketeering Charges?  Organized Crime, Gangs and Cartels, and Overcharging RICO

Most people think of movies like “The Untouchables” or “the Godfather” when asked about “racketeering” charges and arrests on R.I.C.O. violations.  Makes sense; RICO was designed to combat “organized crime” in this country, and as a general rule that has meant the Mafia.  The Cosa Nostra was its original target. RICO Act: Racketeering Charges Expand…


Prosecutors Have Standards to Follow: the Federal Principles of Prosecution

Prosecutorial misconduct remains at epidemic proportions here in Texas as well as the rest of the United States.  We discuss the problem periodically because it’s a scary reality for criminal defense lawyers and their clients. Prosecutors can abuse their power and do bad things.  It happens.  All too often. For more on prosecutorial misconduct, check…


New Medical Marijuana Lawsuit Filed Against Attorney General, DOJ, and DEA

Two and a half weeks ago, a little girl from Rowlett named Alexis Bortell filed a lawsuit in federal court against the federal government because she wants access to medical marijuana here in Texas.  She’s sick; Alexis suffers from epileptic seizures. Medical marijuana helps her – she doesn’t have the seizures if she uses it. …


Doctors in Texas Alert: Feds Are Targeting Health Care Fraud Arrests

Health Care Fraud Arrests of Doctors in Texas The government’s position is that “health care fraud” can involve all sorts of nefarious activity by medical professionals.  There’s lots of precedent involving federal investigations and arrests based upon overbilling of the federal insurance programs Medicare and Medicaid, for instance.  See, e.g., our discussion in “Arresting Texas…


Prosecutors and Police in Dallas: How Bad is It?

So, what’s going on here in Dallas County with our prosecutors and our police department?  Well, there are lots of things going on right now that impact criminal justice – and criminal defense – here in North Texas.     Because excessive force by the police and prosecutorial misconduct isn’t just stuff that happens in…