"... terrific ... honest, accurate, easily read ... I wish every person charged in federal court could see it."
Dean A Strang,
Criminal Defense Attorney

See also reviews:
by Stanton Bloom, criminal defense attorney;
by Prof Leo Fay, sociology lecturer and scholar;
a defendant's story of how reading Busted helped his defense;
review in The Champion.

"Your book, Busted by the Feds, is terrific. It is honest, accurate, easily read, and structured in a manner that will help persons accused most in their thinking. You and anyone who helped you deserve a great deal of credit.

"My firm is ordering several copies of the handbook, in both English and Spanish, so that we may lend them out to prospective clients and others in custody. Perhaps just a few more arrested people can make some intelligent early decisions on handling their cases with the help of your book. I wish every person charged in federal court could see it.

"Again, good job."

Dean A Strang,
Criminal Defense Attorney,
Minneapolis, Minnesota

About Busted

It's full of new material, but one thing has not changed in this new, expanded TWENTY SECOND Edition: Busted by the Feds tells it like it is!

Written for the accused, from the point of view of an advocate for the defense, this is probably the most accurate and honest book about the federal justice system that has ever been written. The original Busted (see history below) has become an underground classic since it was first published in 1992. It has helped thousands of defendants and their lawyers to understand the federal criminal justice system, and to get through the experience with the least possible pain. Now this new TWENTY SECOND Edition, the fifteenth major revision of the original classic, provides even more indispensable information.

The knowledge in this book is in great part first hand and hard won. Busted is honest and frank; yet conveys critical information in a captivating way. It explains in detail, in plain language, how the federal sentencing guidelines work, how to get the best plea-agreements, how and why a defendant should retain the best defense attorney he can and why a good attorney's fees are justified. Busted also describes, in plain language, how defendants can protect themselves against those attorneys whose primary interest is in the quick buck, regardless of the cost to their clients. It explains what they do, why they do it, and how defendants can protect themselves against them.

Busted By The Feds also includes ALL of the federal sentencing guidelines in a streamlined, easy-to-use format, with which a defendant can quickly calculate the sentencing consequences of the charges he faces, and which an attorney will probably want to make a permanent presence in his briefcase.
Some of the topics covered in this book:

  • Sentencing Guidelines
  • Hiring Defense Attorneys
  • Immigration and Deportation Offense Levels
  • Court-appointed Attorneys
  • Supervised Release
  • Criminal History Categories
  • What Prison Will You Go To?
  • Preparing for Prison
  • Statutory Sentencing Ranges
  • Fines and Assessments
  • Rule 11 Hearings
  • Advantageous P.S.I. Reports
  • Good Conduct Time Credits
  • Probation Violators
  • Plea-bargaining Strategies
  • Female Defendants
  • Bail and Pre-trial Detention
  • Multiple-Count Sentencing
  • Appeals and Writs
  • 5K1.1 Letters
  • The Safety Valve

In 1992, when the author was working primarily with pre-trial inmates, he realized that he spent most of his time telling prisoners the same things he had just told someone else, and someone else before that. So he put together a four-page handout, crammed with his most important basic advice. Before he'd given away the original printing the handout expanded to eight pages, and shortly after, became a 12-page booklet.

The free handout was now expensive to produce and needed to become a commercial venture.

While questions of cost, promoting within jails and payment methods for prisoners were playing on his mind, the author mentioned his thoughts to a Santa Monica attorney whom he considers one of the finest criminal defense attorneys practicing. This attorney was already giving the booklet to his own clients, and he suggested making it bigger — a full-fledged book — and selling it to lawyers instead of to inmates.

The first edition of Busted by the Feds was published by Southwest Legal Services in the Fall of 1992. It was an immediate success. The book was advertised by mail to criminal defense lawyers, and orders came in from all over the country. Many lawyers used it as it was intended: giving copies to their clients and ordering more. Others used it for their own education, as a reference when they had clients fighting federal drug charges.

It was a controversial book. Some lawyers disliked the portrayal of their profession. However, almost all ultimately acknowledged Busted for accurately portraying what happens in our jails and courthouses today. The American Bar Association Journal did a favorable review on the book and its author.

Many federal courts, law libraries, and probation departments have also purchased the book, as have several jail law libraries.

By 1995 Busted by the Feds was something of a classic. Copies sped from hand to hand in jails and federal detention centers nation-wide.

Advertising stopped in 1995, but word-of-mouth continues to increase. Sales have gradually changed, and now many copies are sold directly to defendants (or their friends or families) who are facing federal charges.

After twenty editions and 39 printings of Busted, the new TWENTY SECOND Edition is the sixteenth major revision since 1995. Almost all chapters are updated and expanded, and new chapters have been added. Outdated chapters have been removed. As in the original editions, chapters are short and specific. They are written simply so that they can be understood by the defendant who needs the information. They contain real examples and honest advice.

The federal sentencing guidelines were only five years old when the first edition was published. Today, they are 33 years old, and some of the practices described earlier have abated while others have arisen in their place.

One thing has not changed: Busted by the Feds tells it like it is! This is probably the most accurate and honest book about the federal justice system that has ever been written. It is written for the accused, from the point of view of an advocate for the defense. Busted explains how the system really works. This book helps the federal defendant get the best result possible from his defense by giving him the important information he needs: both to look out for himself and to keep his own lawyer honest.

Is this an anti-lawyer book? The author pleads not guilty to that charge. This book is pro good lawyers, but realistic in recognizing that many defense attorneys practicing in the federal courts today do not give good representation. The current state of affairs will only change when Congress gives public defenders better budgets and panel attorneys (private lawyers appointed by the courts) adequate funding.

Most criminal defense lawyers began with a genuine concern for justice, only to have their ethics squeezed dry by the prevailing system. Many struggle to provide an honest defense for their appointed clients and still stay afloat financially. Busted is published with the hope that by telling it like it is, the system might change — and justice will be the winner.

All material on this web site is copyright 2022 Southwest Legal Services. All rights reserved. No material my be reproduced without written consent.

About this Book  |  Federal Sentencing Guidelines  |  I'm a Lawyer Defending my Client  |  I've been Offered a Plea Bargain  |  I'm Facing Federal Charges
I'm Convicted and Going to Prison  |  About the Author  |  How to Order  |  en espanol  |  Contact Us  |  Links  |  Sitemap  |  Home