Just the other day someone asked me if the U.S. Constitution requires nine Supreme Court Justices. I did not know the answer so I looked it up. The short answer is the U.S. Constitution does not state the precise number of justices. The constitution gave Congress the power to decide the number of justice. Since

My Dad often said that "those that have the capital don’t get the punishment." Boy, he is still right on the money. Nashville Dr.Eddie Hamilton pleaded guilty last week of  to a misdemeanor heath care fraud charge. It seems the good doctor was billing Tenn Care and insurance companies for procedures he never performed. Dr. .Hamilton

The case of a former FBI agent convicted of wire and bankruptcy fraud is being remanded to the Federal District Court here in Nashville to make a ruling on racial bias during jury selection. Darin McAllister was convicted in 2010. However , the prosecutor used two of his peremptory challenges to excuse to black jurors. The first juror was excused because of a criminal conviction. In the case of the second black juror that was excused , the court did not make any findings of as to whether McAllister established the existence of purposeful race discrimination in the selection of his jury.

In Batson v. Kentucky, the United States Supreme Court held that the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees the defendant that the state will not exclude members of the defendant’s race from the jury venire on account of race, or on the false assumption that members of the defendant’s race , as a group are not qualified to serve as jurors.Continue Reading Racial Bias During Jury Selection

I attended an advanced sentencing guidelines training course today sponsored by the Federal Public Defender here in Nashville . It was a great program and thanks to the office for hosting the program. Here is a video on firearms sentencing that may be helpful. It was produced by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. I hope the video


One of the most basic ethical rules for lawyers is the attorney client privilege . It can not be violated by a any lawyer . Yet , the U.S. Attorney’s  in Nashville  office broke that rule while prosecuting a sex trafficking ring . It appears the U.S. Attorney’s Office  intercepted over 300 private

How do you get out of a federal prison after being sentenced to life for participating in 11 murders ? You snitch. Salvatore Vitale was convicted in 2003 of racketeering , murder in aid of racketeering , and admitted to being involved in over 11 murders. Yesterday , a New York federal judge released him

FBI Director Robert Mueller has disclosed to Congress that FBI Special Agents have been cheating on tests. Agents are required to take a test on how to conduct surveillance and open  files and criminal investigations on citizens. The purpose is to make sure the FBI agents know the law to make sure they do their

This week I had the opportunity to attend a lecture hosted by the Federal Public Defenders Office for the U.S District Court here in Nashville.First, I would like to thank the folks that presented and sponsored the topic.The lecture focused on the " Interaction of Federal and State Sentences When the Federal Defendant is Under State Primary Jurisdiction". The focus of the discussion was based upon an article written by Henry Sadowski,Regional Counsel Northwest Region,Federal Bureau of Prisons. A complete copy of the article can be read here.

Here are my takeaways from the talk;

1.In any computation of a federal sentence,two separate decisions must be made:when the federal sentence commences and to what extent the defendant can receive credit for time spent in custody prior to commencement of the sentence.

2.The Federal Bureau of Prisons has been delegated to compute the sentence.The court nor anyone else can compute the sentence.

3.A federal sentence does not begin to run until the state authorities relinquish the prisoner on satisfaction of the state obligations.

4.The general rule is no credit is afforded towards a federal sentence if credit has been given for the same period of custody towards a state sentence.

5.The general rule is that the sentence imposed by the sovereign with primary jurisdiction is served first.

6.The primary custodian is responsible for the custody of the defendant until primary jurisdiction is relinquished.Continue Reading Jail Credits When State and Federal Systems Collide