Federal And White Collar Criminal Defense
Most people’s experience in the criminal justice system is in the state courts throughout the country. A much smaller percentage of criminal cases are charged in the federal courts throughout the country. What is not widely known is that there’s a dramatically different treatment of criminal cases in the federal system compared with the state systems.
Many of the cases involve so-called white collar defendants because the charges may involve federal procurement fraud, public corruption, bribery, contract fraud, mortgage fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud and numerous other matters where professionals, government officials and workers, and federal contractors are charged with crimes. (White collar defendants, of course, are also charged with many state crimes).
Many of the more commonly known crimes are also prosecuted in federal court, such as drug crimes, gun possession, murder, drunk driving and other offenses that are traditionally state crimes.
Federal Cases Are Often Far More Complex
Federal criminal practice is considerably more complex than state criminal practice. Federal prosecutors take on a limited number of cases; investigate them with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), postal inspectors, customs inspectors and other federal investigators; and apply federal laws to the cases rather than state laws. Many cases can be prosecuted in either federal court, state court or both.
Federal sentencing is guided by a very complex system of congressionally mandated sentencing guidelines, which results in penalties widely considered much more severe and downright harsh, compared with sentences handed down in state courts. There is generally no parole or early release from incarceration with a federal sentence, and one generally must serve 85% of the time imposed by the federal court.
Federal Cases Often Require Private Investigators
Also, federal prosecutors usually do not provide open-file discovery, unlike many state prosecutors’ offices, whereby the defense can obtain a list of all potential witnesses, their names and addresses, their complete police statements, all police reports, the investigator’s file notes and evidence reports. In short, federal prosecutors are not required to provide complete copies of the detective’s and prosecutor’s files, which are often available in state prosecutions. Consequently, there is a much greater need for extensive work by private defense investigators in federal cases than in state cases.
Also, unlike the situation with state prosecutions, virtually every federal pleading or motion filed must be tailored to the case, authoritatively researched and backed by case law and exhibits. An attorney cannot file so-called “omnibus” motions in federal court, which are boilerplate and cover the field of all conceivable suppression and discovery issues.
In Short, These Challenging Cases Call For Skilled Legal Advocacy
These factors conspire to make handling a federal case considerably more time-consuming and difficult for the client and lawyer. Fortunately, attorney James N. Papirmeister has been through this process many times in his career in the United States district courts in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Mr. Papirmeister has achieved some excellent results for clients in the handling of federal drug charges as well as charges involving government contracting and procurement fraud, corruption, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, embezzlement, bank robbery and even drunk driving on federal property, among other types of cases.