Catching Up after a Hiatus

First, cases and filings have been updated - check the “legal resources” page.  New filings include a motion for a certificate of appealability to the Eleventh Circuit and a Rule 3.850 motion.  

Second, I am part of the team updating the criminal appeals and postconviction chapters of the Appellate Practice Section’s Pro Se handbook.  This extremely rewarding work will hopefully prove a useful resource to anyone trying to get a handle on the procedural issues they face.

Third, I have been researching the issue of “unbundled” legal services across the country.  “Unbundled” simply means that the attorney provides some level of service short of full representation.  Examples include consultations, research and writing assistance, obtaining documents, and even ghost-writing filings.  Many of my clients either do not have the funds to pay for full representation or do not need or want full representation.  Florida allows this practice (see here), but other jurisdictions differ.  To me, attorneys have got to have the power to shape their representation to the resources of their clients.  This is especially important in the context of postconviction review, where defendants generally lack any income but need help to bring their claims.

Fourth, there have been so many new developments in prisoner’s rights, federal sentencing issues, and Florida criminal law to watch.  I generally do not post links to specific articles (if I did that, I would have to blog every day!), but there are a few that I want to share, in no particular order:

Attorney General Holder testified before the U.S. Sentencing Commission  

Professor and sentencing expert Douglas Berman argues unconstitutionality of 15-year sentence for possession of ammunition by a felon

Conservatives get behind sentencing reform

The Florida Supreme Court hears arguments on whether Miller (prohibiting automatic life without parole for juveniles) applies retroactively

The Ninth Circuit rules that lack of resources is a defense to liability in prisoner suits under Section 1983

Florida conservatives get behind medical marijuana

The Onion publishes a tongue-in-cheek article about the failure of prison systems to rehabilitate

The Supreme Court hears argument on Florida’s implementation of the Atkins decision (forbidding execution of the mentally retarded)

The Supreme Court grants certiorari in a prisoner civil rights case involving religious freedom

The Supreme Court rules that the enhancement for sale of drugs resulting in death cannot be applied unless the drugs sold are a but-for cause of the death (not merely contributing)

Politico published this article on the “abysmal” performances of private prisons

The U.S. Department of Justice asks for help identifying good candidates for pardons and clemency

Senior United States District Judge Michael Ponsor speaks about the Smarter Sentencing Act and “prisoners I lose sleep over”

AG Holder urges states to stop disenfranchising convicted felons

Journalist Topher Sanders writes an investigative piece about how Jacksonville-area prosecutors routinely threaten juveniles with adult charges to induce guilty pleas

© Gray Proctor 2016