Seal FPD SDWV Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of West Virginia


In Plain Cite is a show produced by the Federal Public Defender of the Southern District of West Virginia. Our hosts and guests discuss topics relevant to the practice of federal criminal defense in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and beyond. This is an educational show geared toward Criminal Justice Act panel attorneys and others who practice federal criminal defense.

Making the Podcast


  1. Fourth Circuit Update No 2 March 2018 - March 30, 2018. Jonathan talks about recent Fourth Circuit cases touching on traffic stops, conspiracy as a crime of violence, and the evidentiary nature of Facebook posts with Jackie DiLauro from the Defender office in Eastern North Carolina.

  2. March Fourth Circuit and Supreme Court Update - March 2, 2018. Jonathan discusses recent Supreme Court and Fourth Circuit cases with special guest Andrew Grindrod from the Federal Public Defender Office in the Eastern District of Virginia.

  3. Fourth Circuit and Supreme Court Update - February 13, 2018. Jonathan discusses recent Supreme Court and Fourth Circuit cases with special guest Emily Harrill from the Federal Public Defender Office in South Carolina.

  4. December Fourth Circuit Update 2 - December 22, 2017. Jonathan discusses recent Fourth Circuit cases with special guest Josh Carpenter from the Western District of North Carolina.

  5. New Rules for 2018 - December 19, 2017. Jonathan, Rhett, and Lex discuss new rules of evidence and appellate procedure.

  6. Fourth Circuit Update November 2017 - December 7, 2017. Jonathan talks about new cases dealing with child sexual exploitation, fraud, and the death penalty with Brian Beck from the Western District of Virginia.

  7. Fourth Circuit Update October 2017 - November 6, 2017. Jonathan and guest Alicia Penn discuss four new Fourth Circuit cases, covering topics including crimes of violence, child pornography sentences, and health care fraud.

  8. Fourth Circuit Update September 2017 - October 2, 2017. In this episode we bring back special guest Emily Harrill to discuss recent Fourth Circuit decisions.

  9. Fourth Circuit Update with Special Guest Emily Harrill - September 6, 2017. In this episode we discuss recent Fourth Circuit decisions with special guest Emily Harrill from the Federal Public Defender Office in South Carolina.

  10. 2017 Sentencing Commission Update - September 5, 2017. In this episode we talk about the recent public meeting of the United States Sentencing Commission and what might be in store for the Guidelines.

  11. Fourth Circuit Update - June 9, 2017. In this episode we talk about recent Fourth Circuit cases touching on the use of force, prior bad acts, double jeopardy, and coerced statements.

  12. AFPD Interview: A Day in the Life of an Assistant Federal Public Defender - April 5, 2017. Our extern, Brittany, interviews AFPD David Bungard to get a feel for what it's like to practice federal criminal defense for the indigent charged with federal crimes. David discusses the differences between private and public practice, his experience as a Criminal Justice Act panel attorney, what drew him to defense work, and what day-to-day life is like working in the office of the Federal Public Defender for the Southern District of West Virginia.

  13. Beckles is Here - March 10, 2017. This week brought the eagerly awaited Supreme Court decision in Beckles, in which the Court held that the Sentencing Guidelines could not be challenged as being unconstitutionally vague. What does Beckles mean in the short term and the long term? Does it tell us anything about the future of other claims based on the Court's 2015 Johnson decision? We dig deep into the opinion and try to figure it out.

  14. Overincarceration - February 14, 2017. Federal Public Defender Christian Capece and Legal Research and Writing Specialist Jonathan Byrne speak with Professor John Pfaff of Fordham University School of Law, author of "Locked In: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform."

  15. 2017 Preview of Sentencing Guideline Amendments - December 19, 2016. We look forward to 2017 and proposed Sentencing Guideline Amendments. Also, a look back at two big stories of 2016: the death of Antonin Scalia and the continuing ripple of Johnson.

  16. Supervised Release Recommendations - November 29, 2016. Our team looks at the recent changes to the Sentencing Commission's recommended conditions of supervised release, examines some of the other Guideline amendments that went into effect at the beginning of November, and checks in on the state of the Johnson union.

  17. Supreme Court Update - September 16, 2016. Jonathan and Lex discuss Birchfield, which deals with the fourth amendment and blood alcohol and breath tests; Strieff which focuses on attenuation and the fourth amendment; Luis which touches on seizure of funds before a trial; Ocasio, conspiracy, Hobbs Act extortion; Voisine and misdemeanor crime of domestic violence; and Musacchio, which touches on instructions, appeals, and sufficiency of evidence. Looking forward to the 2016 Supreme Court term which begins in October, we preview Bravo-Fernandez and double jeopardy; Moore and the eighth amendment and Steinbeck.

  18. Supervised Release - Ideas for Change - August 5, 2016. The office's summer interns offer a critique on how Supervised Release works in today's federal justice system and share their ideas on how to improve the same.

  19. Johnson Deadline - June 15, 2016. A quick discussion of the basics practitioners need to know as the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court's Johnson decision approaches and, along with it, the deadline for filing 2255 motions seeking relief under it.

  20. Fourth Circuit Fourth Amendment - February 18, 2016. Jonathan, Lex, and Rhett discuss guideline amendments adopted by the United States Sentencing Commission and then bring us some commentary on recent Fourth Amendment rulings made by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

  21. Sentencing Commission on US v Johnson - December 22, 2015. Our hosts, Jonathan and Lex, take a look at amendments to the US Sentencing Guidelines that were proposed in August 2015. Those amendments would overhaul the definition "crime of violence" in the wake of the Supreme Court's recent decision in Johnson, some in ways that would benefit defendants and others in ways that would not. We also catch up on the progress (or lack thereof) of criminal justice reform in Congress as we head into 2016.

  22. 2015 USSG Amendments - November 24, 2015. This episode answers a question from our Criminal Justice Act panel. Lex and Rachel review some of the more important United States Sentencing Guideline amendments that went into effect on November 1, 2015. The discussion includes changes to the guidelines dealing with Hydrocodone, the Mitigating Role Adjustment, Inflationary Adjustments, Economic Loss, and the Single Sentence Rule.

  23. Clemency - November 6, 2015. This episode deals with clemency. Our hosts, Jonathan and Ann, speak with Italia Patti; Justice Franklin D. Cleckley, Fellow of the WV Innocence Project; and Deidre Purdy, a solo-practitioner on the Criminal Justice Act panel in the Southern District of WV.

  24. Johnson update - October 9, 2015. This episode revisits Johnson, ACCA, 2255, and Guidelines. We also look at the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 and other congressional initiatives. Finally, a preview of Supreme Court cases Hurst, Montgomery, Willams, Lockhart, Molina-Martinez, Ocasio, Musaccio, Taylor, and Strief.

  25. Cell phones - September 15, 2015. Jonathan and Rachel discuss cell phones, cell towers, the 4th Amendment, the Stored Communications Act, and the pending cases of Graham and Davis.

  26. Congressional Update - August 10, 2015. Jonathan and Rachel give some Congressional upates on federal criminal sentencing and discuss the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, the Smarter Sentencing Act, and the SAFE Act. Is Sen. Grassley coming around? How can you use these bills to your advantage now?

  27. Johnson and Armed Career Criminal Act - July 15, 2015. The US Supreme Court just declared part of the Armed Career Criminal Act unconstitutional. Where does that leave federal criminal defendants going forward? Will it impact the Sentencing Guidelines? Will defendants whose cases are final be able to get some relief?

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