I just received my acceptance letter for the CJA (federal court appointed criminal defeense) panel. I am awaiting my first federal criminal appointment and devouring as much federal law as I can in anticipation. One book I highly recommend is “Busted by the Feds” by Larry Fassler.
BBTF was written by a federal inmate and offers a first hand look at the federal criminal process. Highly cynical and often dispararing of lawyers (prosecutors and defense alike), BBTF offers a first hand look into the perils of plea negotiations and sentencing. If you have a family member of loved one facing federal prosecution BBTF is a great place to start.
Why the wheel?
I am lucky and honored to have a busy state criminal defense practice. However, I am looking for a new challenge and federal criminal defense has always seemed like the next logical step in my growth as a defense lawyer. I see fed defense as the major leagues, state court as more AAA. Finally, as a zealous anti drug war crusader what better place is there to fight the WOD than in the Mordor of Prohibition?
What’s so different? In state court I’m dealing mainly with ad hoc arrest and investigation. Most state dope cases are road pops; a traiffic violation leads to some small amount of drugs. It’s the unlucky lottery of law enforcement (especially DWI). Typical state fact pattern- Officer Dingdong pulls over Defendant for X, and finds Y (Drugs, DWI, blah blah blah). Not a lot of variety and in general very cursory investigations.
Federal criminal investigations are more thorough with better trained law enforcement (DEA > Mabank PD). Whereas most state case invesgations last a few hours, a federal case can be investigated for months before charges are filed.
The stakes are also higher as the federal system has been rigged to encouraged rampant snitching and a race to “cooperate” to avoid the draconian sentencing guidelines. It will challenging, but rewarding.
I’m looking forward to the April 23rd Federal Practice Seminar in Dallas. Drop me a line if you are going to be there.