June 12, In some legal cases, it may be beneficial for a defendant to write a letter to the judge before sentencing. However, this should only be done only after a defendant discusses this action with their attorney.
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Approximately 94 percent of all federal criminal defendants plead guilty. Seventy-five percent of the remaining individuals who proceed to trial are convicted. There is, therefore, a 97 percent chance that a person charged with a federal crime will ultimately face a judge for purposes of sentencing.
The following tips will help attorneys and their clients obtain the lowest possible sentence.
If the defense attorney presents the judge with a solid memorandum that uses the 18 U. Documentation Document, document, document. Rather than merely asserting the existence of mitigating factors, the defense attorney should provide as much supporting evidence as possible.
Similarly, if the client has a military service record or a history of good works, counsel should provide appropriate documents or testimonials. He is, after all, a convicted felon. And some judges still prefer to engage in departure analysis.
It is therefore important that a defense lawyer show, if she can, and if the judge prefers departures, how the policy statements in Parts 5H and 5K call for a lower sentence.
Even though a single mitigating factor may not warrant a downward departure, a combination of factors might. Creative Arguments The defense team should be creative and let judges be judges. But the defender must not stop there. Substantial Assistance Reduction In many cases, even though the client cooperates, the government refuses to file a 5K1.
Even when the government does file a substantial assistance motion, the defense attorney is permitted, unless otherwise precluded by the plea agreement, to argue for a more generous reduction, and the court will be free to grant a greater reduction.
While a substantial assistance reduction cannot be based on noncooperation grounds, experience shows that judges unwilling to grant relief for non-5K1.
Debriefing If the client is a cooperating witness, the defense attorney should accompany the client to any debriefings. Forms and Documents Defense counsel should accompany the client to probation officer meetings that are part of the Presentence Investigation Report PSI process.
Probation officers, most of whom are not lawyers, often prefer highlighted cases to memoranda of law, which they find off-putting. When possible, it is extremely helpful to have the probation officer and the Assistant U. Probation officers often have a psychological investment in their original draft PSI, which can make it difficult to convince them to change a PSI.
By putting effort into trying to get a good initial draft, the defense will not have to file as many objections.OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - More than a dozen letters written to U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett asked for leniency when sentencing Scott Walker on fraud and conspiracy charges this week.
For some, the letters serve a single purpose: to try to persuade the judge to render an appropriate sentence. For others, the letters are about something else entirely. Miami-Dade Judge Faces Public Reprimand for Writing Letter of Support Before Sentencing The JQC alleges the judge wrote a character reference in January for a defendant awaiting sentencing in.
A former Stanford swimmer who sexually assaulted an unconscious woman was sentenced to six months in jail because a longer sentence would have "a severe impact on him," according to a judge. At his sentencing Thursday, his victim read him a letter describing the "severe impact" the assault had on .
Writing a Letter to the Judge Before Sentencing Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff If you are a defendant in a trial, you may want to write a letter to the judge before he imposes sentencing.
To The Honourable Judge JJJJJJ RE: Character Reference - Albert Ford (Fictitious Name) I, Your Name, am aware that Mr. Albert Ford faces criminal sentencing today before your court. The purpose of this letter is to serve as a character reference on behalf of Mr.
Ford, whom I have known as a roommate and friend for six years.