Monthly Archives: January 2014

LEGAL RESEARCH SERVICE PROVIDED BY NLPA

Legal ResearchMany times lawyers are extremely busy and need to receive assistance from firms who provide legal research services such as NLPA.

The mission of NLPA in providing legal research services is to assist solo practitioner and small law firms with the preparation of research in criminal cases so that they will have the same excellent research sources available to them as the large law firms at an affordable price and on an as needed basis.

The attorneys who prepare research for NLPA have many years of experience and provide fast affordable and reliable research for attorneys throughout the United States.

By using a legal research services and consulting firm such as NLPA, an attorney can win more cases an improve his work product without hiring additional staff members. The attorney can also increase his earning potential and stop working nights and weekends on research that is prepared by NLPA instead. If you want to use NLPA’s legal research service to provide research assistance to you in a criminal case, please contact us. One of our lawyers will be happy to speak with you and give you a no-cost and no-obligation estimate of how our research staff can assist you.

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Family Assistance Division – NLPA

Family_ReleaseNational Legal Professional Associates Announces Formation of Family Assistance Division

National Legal Professional Associates (NLPA), known for the past 25 years for its reputation for assisting defendants and their attorneys in pursuing criminal defense and post-conviction relief, today, announced in conjunction with its new partner, Sterling Financial Group, the formation of the NLPA Family Assistance Division. This non-profit organization has been founded for the purpose of empowering families following the tragedy of having a loved one become incarcerated. It takes a unique approach to helping the 2.2 million affected United States families by coordinating and mobilizing resources to assist with obtaining legal representation for an incarcerated family member, facilitating visitation transportation of the defendant by family members and helping the affected family with humanitarian support and counseling. These levels of assistance are provided at no cost to qualifying defendants and their family members. Application assistance from the NLPA Family Assistance Division can be made online at www.nlpa.com.

 

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EARLY RELEASE FROM FEDERAL PRISON

Early_Release_From_Federal_PrisonAnyone who has a family member serving time in federal prison is interested in looking into ways of helping that individual secure an early release from federal prison.  National Legal Professional Associates (NLPA) has for the past twenty-six years assisted defendants and their family members in accomplishing this objective. A defendant can secure an early release from federal prison in many different ways:

(1)       He can file an appeal in which he pursues a reduction of his sentence or overturning his conviction;

(2)     He can pursue a post-conviction motion in which he raises issues such as new evidence and ineffective assistance of counsel in order to secure an early release from federal prison;

(3)       He can file a petition for clemency or for compassionate release as a way of receiving an early release from federal prison citing family member circumstances and other mitigating factors that could serve as a basis of reducing his time in prison;

(4)       If the defendant is eligible for consideration for parole, he can file a petition with the United States Parole Commission requesting early release from federal prison on parole.

National Legal Professional Associates can assist a defendant and his attorney in the preparation of all of the above.  If a defendant needs a new lawyer to represent him and to file the petitions that National Legal Professional Associates’ researchers will prepare, NLPA can also provide references for attorneys who will be happy to represent a defendant at a reduced price since NLPA’s researchers are preparing the petition to be filed.

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LEGAL ADVICE

legal_adviceMany individuals who have contact with the justice system have the need for legal advice from a top-rated lawyer.

Legal advice can only be provided by a licensed attorney. If an individual who is not a licensed attorney provides legal advise to an individual that providing of legal advice could be considered to be the unauthorized practice of law. therefore, when you need assistance with matters relating to criminal defense, sentencing, appeals, post-conviction motions, or immigration matters, it is critical that you contact an attorney licensed in the appropriate jurisdiction to provide this legal advice. NLPA works with attorneys throughout the United States to provide to them legal advice and research which they can then utilize in the representation of their client. If you need assistance in obtaining legal advice and want to be referred to a lawyer who can assist you in this way, please contact NLPA. We can refer you to a licensed lawyer who will be happy to receive NLPA’s research assistance.

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CALIFORNIA THREE STRIKES LAW

California Three Strikes Law“After Third Strike many now walk.”

Is the statement contained in the December 2013 issue of the American Bar Association journal. This statement relates to the fact that California has now begun to release prisoners after reforming the California Three Strikes Law.

The California Three Strikes Law which was passed in 1994 was advertised as a way to keep violent repeat offenders off the streets. The California Three Strikes Law doubled prison time for a second felony if there was a prior serious or violent felony as defined by state law. However, to qualify for the life sentence called for in the law, the third felony did not have to be serious or violent. Because of this, California courts began sentencing defendants to life for crimes like petty theft and drug possession.

Because of this law, second and third strikers made up roughly twenty-five percent of California’s prison population which caused a tremendous budget strain. Studies reflect that 3,000-3,500 of California’s current third-strikers under the California Three Strikes law are serving twenty-five years to life for non-serious felonies.

Accordingly, because of this, an overwhelming majority of Californians voted in 2012 for proposition 36, a new law that radically reformed the California Three Strikes Law. Under this new change to the California Three Strikes law, inmates who are already serving life sentences for non-violent, non-serious crimes can now file a post-conviction petition with the court asking for resentencing. Under the new law, inmates who have served up to nineteen years are eligible for resentencing which usually means release from prison.

If you, a family member or a client, are serving an extremely lengthy sentence because of the California Three Strikes Law and you want to look into getting the sentence reduced, contact NLPA at 11331 Grooms Road, Suite 1000, Cincinnati, Ohio 45242 or call our office at (513) 247-0082.

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Do You Need Help to Obtain a Prison Sentence Reduction?

prison.sentence.reductionWorking Tirelessly With Your Attorney, NLPA Can Help You Obtain a Prison Sentence Reduction.

Post-Conviction Motions are key areas to present new information or information that could not be presented on appeal. It is important to make sure to identify each of the potential issues which requires a significant amount of time and experience which can make or break your attempt to receive a prison sentence reduction. NLPA can assist in pursuing a prison sentence reduction in both state and federal cases. NLPA’s researchers will work through your case with a fine-toothed comb to make certain that you have the best shot in pursuing your reduction of sentence.

Our researchers work tirelessly for your counsel to present all of the issues in requesting a reduction in your sentence. State and Federal post-conviction motions vary in deadlines and NLPA is well-versed in all jurisdictions. No matter where your case is, we can help you and your counsel in pursuing reduction of sentence in your case.

Our post-conviction service includes not only the drafting of a thoroughly-researched opening motion, but also the preparation of any reply to the government’s response as well as objections to reports and recommendation and, if necessary preparation for evidentiary hearings.

NLPA offers affordable legal help as well as a number of different financing options and payment plans. NLPA has an extensive background in pursuing post-conviction sentence reductions.  For additional information about cases NLPA has assisted counsel with prison sentence reductions, contact us today.

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Legal Services – NLPA’S Criminal Defense Subscription Plan

Scales of justice and gavel.Information you can use to help your loved one in their fight for justice.  Legal Services provided by NLPA.

Do you often times wish that you could obtain information that could assist you in knowing what needs to be done to help your loved one to fight for justice, but cannot afford to hire a high priced attorney to provide legal services to give you the information or the help you need? The NLPA Criminal Defense Subscription Plan services is the answer.

By subscribing to the NLPA Information Subscription Service you can obtain information about all types of topics that can be provided to you in order to obtain information in an affordable way that will help you deal with issues being faced by your loved one.

In putting this information together, NLPA has relied upon some of the best legal minds in the business. We believe it should be easy for anyone to obtain information necessary to help a loved one who is facing criminal charges or serving his sentence.

Our goal is to help everyone get the legal services and information that they need and are entitled to so that they will have a better understanding of how to deal with their attorney or the Department of Corrections on these matters.

Topics which are currently available is set forth below.

● Pretrial Information

● Plea Negotiations

● Preliminary Sentencing

● Appeals

Post-Conviction Relief

● Halfway House

● Work Release

● Parole

● Institutional Transfer

● How to survive Jail

● Medical Issues

● Deportation/Immigration

● Getting Married/Funeral

● §1983 Lawsuit

● Expungement of Priors

● Clemency/Pardon

If you are interested in subscribing to any of the topics on the list above, or to obtain information about the various legal services provided, contact NLPA today.  NLPA can assist your counsel with matters ranging from Pretrial Assistance, Sentencing Assistance, Appeals, Post Conviction Motions, Immigration Matters along with various other services.

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Federal Appeals and Upon Involuntary Pleas

Judge_GavelConviction Vacated on Federal Appeals Based Upon Involuntary Plea

Rule 11(e) provides that a “Plea may be set aside only on direct appeal or collateral attack.” Unfortunately, on appeal, individuals often face a further hurdle, as appellate courts generally apply a plain error standard where an appellant seeks relief from a plea, but did not file a motion to withdraw at the district court level.

In order to correct an injustice, Mr. Hawkins hired NLPA and Attorney James Belt to prepare an appeal to set aside his plea.

With research assistance from NLPA, Attorney James Belt filed a brief, asserting the issue regarding Mr. Hawkins’ involuntary plea, as well as certain other arguments.

With regards to the plea, it was argued that the district court erred in failing to inform Mr. Hawkins of the nature of the charge to which he was pleading guilty, and by failing to ensure that there was an adequate factual basis for the plea, and that the resulting plea was therefore involuntary.

In making these argument, it was established that the errors affected Mr. Hawkins’ substantial rights, as due process requires a guilty plea to be voluntary, and “a guilty plea … cannot be truly voluntary if a defendant ‘has such an incomplete understanding of the charge that his plea cannot stand as an intelligent admission of guilt.'” Marshall v. Lonberger, 459 U.S. 422, 431 (1983) (quoting Henderson v. Morgan, 426 U.S. 637, 645, n. 13 (1976)).

In spite of the provision in the plea agreement that blocked Mr. Hawkins from filing an appeal, the Court of Federal Appeals agreed, finding that the district court erred by failing to make sure Mr. Hawkins understood the nature of the charge; and by accepting his plea when there was no sufficient factual basis regarding a critical element of the offense.

NLPA has been at the forefront of the effort to correct improper guilty plea proceedings and obtain justice for those who have entered involuntary guilty pleas.  NLPA provides research assistance to counsel with regard to Pretrial, Sentencing, State Appeals, Federal Appeals, Post-Conviction Motions as well as several administrative services.

The Hawkins case demonstrates how NLPA can provide legal assistance to counsel in the preparation of appeal arguments attacking the validity of guilty pleas, as well as how NLPA can assist individuals in their fight to overcome the hurdles faced by individuals who have regrettably pleaded guilty, and who are further challenged with overcoming appeal waivers.

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Understanding Wrongful Convictions

wrongful.convictionAre You the Victim of Wrongful Convictions?

It is said that when you are wrongfully convicted, you carry on your shoulder one of the greatest burdens in life – paying for a crime or wrongdoing committed by others.  Let us take for example the case of Chedrick Britt of Florida, Case number 02-CF-15542 (13th Cir. 2002).

Chedrick Britt was charged with three sexual offenses by the Grand Jury in Hillsborough County, Florida in 2002. In May of 2004, Mr. Britt proceeded to a Jury Trial in the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court and sentenced to a term of 30 years. During trial, testimony was presented that a rape kit was prepared by law enforcement officials which examined several key elements, however, the evidence was not tested for DNA.

NLPA was hired to assist Mr. Britt’s attorney, Charles A. Murray, Esq., to request the State of Florida test the rape kit for DNA evidence. Accordingly, NLPA aided Mr. Murray in the preparation of a post-conviction motion for DNA testing pursuant to Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.853. The post-conviction motion was granted and the rape kit was tested for DNA. The results of the testing called into question the propriety of Mr. Britt’s convictions, which resulted in the courts vacating his conviction and sentences in 2013 and order that a new trial be set should the government wish to continue with the prosecution of Mr. Britt’s case.

Critical to the success of the request for DNA testing was to demonstrate that testing would likely uncover evidence that Mr. Britt did not commit the crimes at hand and he had received wrongful convictions.

Wrongful convictions can be intricate and controversial in nature. The bottom line is that just because an individual is convicted does not mean that the individual was properly convicted and that all attempts to obtain justice must cease. Wrongful convictions are harmful and burdensome. They put a burden on innocent people who have been accused and do an injustice to the victim and society as a whole because the real perpetrator of the crime remains free to commit other crimes.

NLPA has been at the forefront of attacking unjust convictions. Should you find the victim of a wrongful conviction on in a similar situation as Mr. Britt, NLPA stands ready to assist you and your counsel in the research and preparation of any motions and/or research necessary to assist you in the vigorous defense of your case. For more information about wrongful convictions, contact NLPA today.

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Receiving a Sentence Below the Sentencing Guidelines

lady_justiceGetting a Reduced Sentence Based Upon Age and Family Responsibilities – Sentencing Guidelines

Often, NLPA is contacted by attorneys who represent federal criminal defendants who are in need of sentencing assistance, given the wide array of arguments that can be made in favor of sentences below what is called for by the United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The case of United States v. Freddie Wilson, Jr., case number 4:11-cr-02161-TLW-14 demonstrates how NLPA can assist counsel in the preparation of multi-faceted sentencing research that challenges the  Sentencing Guidelines recommended, as well as presents mitigating arguments for a lesser sentence.

Facing such a long sentence, and needing assistance in the preparation of research challenging the harsh Guideline sentence, Mr. Wilson contacted NLPA to conduct research upon possible means to avoid an unduly harsh sentence.

NLPA conducted research on the potential sentence faced by Mr. Wilson, as well as the possibility of avoiding the harsh sentence put forth in the PSR, in conjunction with Mr. Wilson’s attorney, Joseph N. Connell, who was appointed to represent Mr. Wilson.

These factors include: the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant; the need to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, and to provide just punishment for the offense; the need for deterrence; the need to protect the public; the need to provide the defendant with needed educational or vocational training or medical care; the kinds of sentences available; the Sentencing Guidelines range; pertinent policy statements of the Sentencing Commission; the need to avoid unwanted sentencing disparities; and the need to provide restitution to victims.

Based upon a combination of all of the above factors, the district court for the District of South Carolina issued a below Guidelines sentence to Mr. Wilson. As a result, Mr. Wilson received a sentence of 41 months incarceration. Such represented a sentence almost two years below the minimum recommended Sentencing Guidelines.

The bottom line is that just because an individual faces overwhelming Sentencing Guidelines does not mean that all attempts at securing a lesser sentence must be abandoned in deference to the Probation Office or the federal prosecutor.

From challenging the procedural mechanisms of imposing a Guideline sentence to arguing the lack of factual support for sentencing enhancements to presenting mitigating arguments, NLPA has been at the forefront of attacking insidious and unfair sentences.

To learn more about obtaining a federal sentence reduction or additional services provided by NLPA, contact us today.

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