The NLKJ Blog

Prosecutor, then Judge, then Remand

The Seventh Circuit ruled today that the public’s confidence in the federal judiciary might be undermined if the Judge, who once served as the defendant’s prosecutor, sentenced the same defendant in a case before her. Judge Posner, writing for the Court in... read more

Special Conditions of Supervised Release

In USA v. Jeremy S. Cary, the 7th Circuit held that the special conditions of supervised release “must: (1) be reasonably related to the factors identified in § 3553(a), include the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the... read more

Withdrawing from a Federal Plea Agreement

Typically, once you enter a plea agreement (especially in federal court) the defendant is stuck. Federal Judges do a great job making sure the defendant’s plea is knowingly, voluntary and with full understanding of the consequences. USA v. Siamak Fard is a case... read more


Abdel Alsharfa and Tristan Elcock were definitely up to something. And, they had no real explanation why they were carrying almost $500,000 in cash. But, they broke no laws. The (nonprecedential) opinion merely says they were stopped by a State Trooper while driving... read more

Can “Victims” Testify at a Federal Sentencing?

Steven Salutric pleaded guilty to committing wire fraud (with a $3.8 million loss) in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343 and was ordered to serve a below-Guidelines sentence of 96 months. Salutric appealed and contended the district court committed error at sentencing when... read more

Cooperation and the Federal “Safety Valve”

Reynaldo Ortiz pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess heroin with the intent to distribute under 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 846, and received the statutory minimum prison sentence of 10 years. Reynaldo argued that his cooperation with law enforcement after his arrest... read more

GPS and the Fourth Amendment

In United States v. Taylor, the Indianapolis police department attached, without a warrant, a GPS unit to a suspected drug dealer’s car. After gathering location data from the GPS they learned the car made several stops at a storage unit. Based on that information,... read more

Are you really operating that car?

For years NLKJ lawyers have argued with Prosecutors about what “operating” a vehicle means. It seems like it should be an easy answer, but for many years our Indiana legislature did not clearly define the term. You may not be operating a vehicle if you’re in a parking... read more