The Florida Bar

The Federal Corner Announcements

You are encouraged to provide feedback concerning local rules and the CM/ECF system in the federal courts in Florida. If you would like to submit a comment concerning a local rule or the CM/ECF system, please submit the comment to Your comments will be anonymously shared with the leadership of the Federal Court Practice Committee.

On April 9, 2015, the United States Sentencing Commission adopted amendments to the federal sentencing guidelines External Link. Significant changes to the economic crime guidelines include:
1. A change to the victims table, adding a 2 level enhancement if even one victim suffers a substantial financial hardship, but eliminating 4 and 6 level enhancements based only on the bare number of victims.
2. A change to the
intended loss provision providing that intended loss is only the pecuniary harm that the defendant purposely sought to inflict.
3. A change to the
sophisticated means provision which focuses on whether the defendant intentionally engaged in, or caused, the sophisticated conduct, rather than whether the offense involved sophisticated conduct.

The Commission also responded to testimony and comments that the
mitigating role reduction was rarely used and was disparately applied in different districts, particularly with respect to drug offenses. The amendment provides a list of factors to help a judge determine whether a mitigating role adjustment should be applied, including whether the offender had a proprietary interest in the criminal activity. It also instructed that whether an offender played an indispensable or integral role in the offense is not dispositive. The Commission also responded to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s rescheduling of hydrocodone from Schedule III to Schedule II and to the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of new more potent forms of hydrocodone. The Commission adjusted the monetary tables throughout the Guidelines Manual to account for inflation. This adjustment will affect fine, fraud, tax and other monetary tables

The Judicial Conference Advisory Committees on Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, and Criminal Rules have proposed amendments to their respective rules and forms, and requested that the proposals be circulated to the bench, bar, and public for comment. The proposed amendments, Rules Committee reports explaining the proposed changes, and other information are posted on the judiciary’s website. External Link The public comment period ends February 17, 2015.

Currently under review by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Federal Judicial Conference's recommended amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, and Criminal Procedure, as well as amendments to the Federal Rules of Evidence. External Link

Congress has taken no action on the amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy and Criminal Procedure approved by the Supreme Court on April 23, 2012, and transmitted to Congress on April 24, 2012. Under the Rules Enabling Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 2071-75, the following amendments take effect on December 1, 2012:

• Bankruptcy Rules 1007, 2015, 3001, 7054 and 7056; and • Criminal Rules 5 and 15, and new Rule 37.
Under 28 U.S.C. § 2074(a) and the Supreme Court orders dated April 23, 2012, the amendments will govern all proceedings commenced on or after December 1, 2012, and all proceedings then pending “insofar as just and practicable.”

The text of the amended rules and extensive supporting documentation can be found on the Judiciary’s Federal Rules of Practice & Procedure website.

The approved legislative changes to the Code and Rules of Evidence Committee are available for review.PDF document opens in new window The Florida Bar mandates that, before consideration by the Board of Governors and then the legislature, the proposed legislative changes must be circulated among the Bar committees and sections for comment. Please provide comments to Committee Chair, Melanie Damian.

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[Revised: 04-28-2015]