The Defender Services Office Training Division furthers the right to effective assistance of counsel by providing training and other resources to attorneys appointed under the Criminal Justice Act.

    October 08, 2015
    Sentencing Bills Introduced in House and Senate Offer Renewed Hope for Legislative Reform

    The House of Representatives has introduced a new bill, The Sentencing Reform Act, that largely mirrors The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (S. 2123), a bipartisan bill introduced last week in the U.S. Senate by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), among others.

    The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 would reduce several federal mandatory minimum drug and gun sentences and make those reductions retroactive; make the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 retroactive; expand the federal “safety valve” exception for drug mandatory minimum sentences; and allow many federal prisoners to earn time credits for completing rehabilitative programs in prison.

    Read more about these bills and other sentencing legislation pending in Congress at

    October 02, 2015
    Supreme Court Opens New Term with 5 Cert Grants in Cases of Interest to Criminal Defense Practitioners

    (1) Taylor v. United States (No. 14-6166)
    Question Presented:
    Whether, in a federal criminal prosecution under the Hobbs Act, 18 U.S.C. §1951, the Government is relieved of proving beyond a reasonable doubt the interstate commerce element by relying exclusively on evidence that the robbery or attempted robbery of a drug dealer is an inherent economic enterprise that satisfies, as a matter of law, the interstate commerce element of the offense.

    (2) Utah v. Strieff (No. 14-1373)
    Question Presented:
    Should evidence seized incident to a lawful arrest on an outstanding warrant be suppressed because the warrant was discovered during an investigatory stop later
    found to be unlawful?

    (3) Molina-Martinez v. United States (No 14-8913)
    Question Presented:
    Where an error in the application of the United States Sentencing Guidelines results in
    the application of the wrong Guideline range to a criminal defendant, should an
    appellate court presume, for purposes of plain-error review under Federal Rule of
    Criminal Procedure 52(b), that the error affected the defendant's substantial rights?

    Full story

    September 11, 2015
    NACDL Issues Report on Federal Indigent Defense System

    Federal Indigent Defense 2015: The Independence Imperative assesses the current state of the federal indigent defense system, and offers seven recommendations to address serious and persistent deficiencies revealed in its assessment. 


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