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Federal Sentencing for RICO Act Violations

Are You Looking at a Long Federal Prison Sentence if You’re Involved in a RICO Case? Organized crime in the United States is generally described as a criminal enterprise with members engaging in illegal activity for financial gain. The federal RICO Act was first used by prosecutors to go after mob leaders, but has evolved into a powerful tool against fraud, extortion, and drug cartels. The Organized Crime Control Act includes the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law that allows prosecutors to file charges against the members within of the organization. Racketeering is a term used to describe members...

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Seizure of Home Computers in a Child Pornography Investigation

What Should I Do After the Feds Search My Home and Take My Computers in a Child Pornography Investigation? If anyone is found possessing, producing, selling or distributing any material depicting a child under 18 in a sexual manner, they could face federal charges of child pornography under 18 U.S.C. § 2252. The subsections of 18 U.S.C. § 2252 describe different categories of conduct covered by the statute. For example, it’s a federal crime to knowingly transport child porn using interstate commerce, by computer or mail, visual depictions of a minor who is engaged in sexually explicit conduct. These subsections...

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Are Federal Courts in Los Angeles Open During the Coronavirus?

For the most part, judges in federal court, at least across the criminal courts, are really trying to prevent litigants from coming into their courtroom. They are mostly seeing video and WebEx type appearances, meaning that all parties will appear on video. Nobody is really going into the courtroom. The one exception that I see in the criminal court at 255 East Temple Street on the third floor, which is pretty much the initial appearance or arraignment court, post-indictment arraignment. Video Court Appearances A lot of times they actually have the defendants there in the building, but they’re doing video...

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Do You Have to Personally Appear in Federal Criminal Court?

When it comes to federal criminal cases, over the last 27 years, I would answer that question yes, absolutely.  There’s no way you can phone in your appearance in a federal criminal case. Now, with the Coronavirus, that’s pretty much the only way the federal courts are doing business.  I’ve had a number of sentencings where my client wanted to appear in person. Basically, it was very clear to me that they were not going to allow that to happen.  One, we refused to sign the stipulation to continue it, so the court continued it on its own motion. Video...

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Traits the Best Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Have in Common

I’ve been doing federal criminal defense now for the past 27 years, and I think one of the most powerful traits that the best criminal defense attorneys has is a well-rounded background as it relates to defending federal criminal cases. That means: understanding how prosecutors deal with cases, understanding how judges deal with cases, and understanding what it takes for a defense attorney to be successful in a federal case. Whether the case is going to trial or whether the case is going to be resolved by way of a plea agreement.  This takes time, experience and a certain type of...

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Why Hire a Lawyer Before a Federal Case Has Been Filed?

What is the Benefit of Hiring a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Before the Case is Filed? A lot of people get wind that they’re being investigated and instead of getting to an attorney right away hiring them pre-filing, they just bury their head in the sand and hope for the best. They don’t want to fork-out the money.  They figure, if I hire an attorney then they’re going to think that I’m guilty.  All of these things are just short-sided thinking, and arguably, the reason you got yourself in this problem in the first place. Criminal Investigation By Federal Law Enforcement...

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How Bail Works in a Federal Criminal Case

This bail issue comes up all the time, and unfortunately, people are so zeroed in on it, they forget about the fact they actually have a federal criminal case pending against them. Regardless of whether they or their loved one gets out on federal bail, that case is not going away.  Depending on how serious it is, the person is likely to get some federal time anyway. So, the whole bail issue a lot of times, not always, is a sidetrack issue that really doesn’t allow the person to grapple with what they have to related to their federal criminal...

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What Happens at Initial Appearance in a Federal Criminal Case?

Typically, when somebody gets arrested, especially here in the Central District, Los Angeles and that area, someone is going to be taken into the court. I’ve seen the arrest being made early in the morning and then the person makes the 2:00 calendar in the federal court, at which time they’ll be given what charges they’re being accused of.  They will have an opportunity to speak to their attorney. That’s why it’s so important if you’re trying to get an attorney for a loved one who’s just been recently arrested by the feds, pick up the phone now and call...

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Status of Federal Criminal System During COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed federal criminal practice significantly. One of the biggest things that is being prevented from happening is criminal defendants actually going into the courts. It’s very rare now that you see a defendant being able to appear in court.  Whereas, every other time when there wasn’t a pandemic, whenever there was some sort of a court proceeding, I would say 95% of the time, the defendant and the attorney are going to be there. Video Hearings in Federal Court The federal judges do not want people in their courtroom.  That’s the bottom line I see, so...

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What is Necessary to Prove a RICO Federal Indictment?

This RICO charge is a very serious one and a lot of times when I see people getting wrapped up in a RICO charge it involves multiple defendants. In other words, it’s not just one person getting indicted at the federal level, it’s a bunch of people getting indicted. A lot of times we will see gang members getting caught up and charged with RICO charges and in a lot of these cases, they’re facing the rest of their lives in federal prison. Federal prison for gang members is not good because they’re not able to do as many things...

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