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.

    November 09, 2015
    Supreme Court to Decide SORNA's Applicability to Sex Offenders Who Reside Abroad

    On Friday, November 6, 2015, the Supreme Court granted cert in Nichols v. United States (No. 15-5238) to decide: whether 42 U.S.C. § 16913(a) requires a sex offender who resides in a foreign country to update his registration in the jurisdiction where he formerly resided, a question that divides the courts of appeals.

    November 02, 2015
    Supreme Court to Address Definition of Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence Under 18 U.S.C. 922 (g)(9)

    On October 30, 2015 the Supreme Court granted cert in Voisine v. United States (No. 14-10154) to address whether a misdemeanor crime with the mens rea of recklessness qualifies as a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" as defined by 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(33)(A) and 922(g)(9).

    November 02, 2015
    Amendments to Sentencing Guidelines Take Effect; Guidelines Manual Now Available

    On November 1, 2015 amendments to the federal sentencing guidelines took effect.  The 2015 U.S. Sentencing Commission Guidelines Manual is now available online.  For more information on the amendments, access the Commission's 2015 Amendments Online Education Program.

    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


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