Recently, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum instructing US Attorneys to charge the “highest readily provable offense” regardless of other factors in all cases. This reverses an Obama-era policy that called for charging leaders and violent actors more severely than non-violent, non gang-related actors. The net result of these changes in policy is, from our perspective, medium-term uncertainty of results for our Federal clients. Continue reading
I recently became aware of a Texas case involving the use of call centers in India who “impersonated officials from the IRS or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in a ruse designed to defraud victims located throughout the United States.”
I advise my clients to be very skeptical about anyone who calls and claims to be from any government agency or bank. Always ask for verification of identity, and never give any personal information like date of birth, social security number, address, etc. to anyone who calls. Continue reading
I received a call a couple of days ago from a reporter with the Montgomery Advertiser, and spoke with him briefly about a case that I am handling and he is continuing to cover. Here is a link to the article that he wrote about the matter:
I am happy that the local media is staying on this story and hope that the request that the Advertiser made under the Freedom of Information Act will yield some information that will be useful to us.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has, against all common sense and public opinion, decided that marijuana will remain on the list of Schedule I controlled substances. Schedule I is defined as a substance that is “highly addictive and without medical benefit.” This is a particularly bad decision not only for the thousands of Americans incarcerated for possessing or distributing this drug, it puts tens of thousands of people further away from useful and sometimes life-changing known medical uses of this substance. Continue reading
One of the most common questions I am asked is the effect of a felony pardon on a person’s ability to possess a firearm. The answer is a bit more complex than one might think at first glance.
The Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles has the authority in our state to issue pardons and restore “civil rights.” These rights include the right to vote, the right to hold public office, and of course the right to possess a firearm.
The State of Alabama is in crisis. Our Speaker of the State House of Representatives, our Governor, and our Chief Justice of the Supreme Court all are hamstrung by accusations of impropriety, abuse of their authority, and failure to execute their office in accordance with their oath. Each is finding out what life is like on the wrong end of allegations. Meanwhile in the US District Court, the Middle District of Alabama is in the midst of a judicial emergency, having lost one District Judge to resignation and another to senior status. The presiding judge is handling the workload that previously was divided among 3 judges. Where and when can we expect relief?
Everyone seems to be talking about Apple and their refusal to comply with a court’s order that they “unlock” a phone that might contain evidence related to a violent attack in California. The case brings up serious Fourth Amendment concerns. Continue reading
Andrew Skier, founder and chief trial counsel of Skier & Associates will attend the National Conference of Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Panel District Representatives March 4-5 in San Francisco, CA. This will mark the fifth year that Mr. Skier will represent Alabama’s Middle Judicial District at this national gathering.
Andrew M. Skier, founder and lead trial counsel of Skier & Associates, has been invited by Committee Chair, Hon. Judge Kathleen Cardone, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, to testify before her Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Criminal Justice Act.
The purpose of this committee is to evaluate the effectiveness of current policies and governance structures and their impact on the appointment and compensation of counsel, quality of legal representation, program administration, and adequacy of funding.
It seems to me that, on the whole, the American Public is becoming more aware of, sensitive to, and more thoughtful regarding how we as a society view criminal trials and the criminal justice system in general. I can’t help but believe this is a good thing, as more people become aware of the inherent problems and injustices faced by the accused, and especially the poor accused, on a daily basis.
In recent weeks, “Making a Murderer,” which chronicles the prosecution of felony cases and highlights weaknesses in the system, became a runaway sensation. The podcast “Serial,” which chronicles another problematic murder case which to that point had received little or no media attention has also been immensely popular.