Criminal

Federal Sentencing: What can the Client and Family do to Prepare?

The best statement I have heard a Federal Client make to a Federal Judge: “Your Honor, please accept my apologies for the trouble I have caused you and the Great United States of America.”

The Judge recognized the sincerity and brevity of his statement and, in fact, reduced his sentence.

1. Provide to me a list of names and addresses of people that can write letters to the judge on your behalf. I just need the names and addresses. There is no limit. The more names the better. Our office will send a letter to the people on your list at the appropriate time. The letter will advise these people about your situation, the sentencing date, when we need the letter, and some tips on how to :write the letter. I need this list by the time you plead guilty.

2. Fill out the multiple page form that I’ve provided you except for the box regarding acceptance of responsibility. (Your letter should provide that information; we discuss your letter below in no. 3). This is the form that probation uses to interview you when they conduct your Presentence Report interview. It is important to fill this out ahead of time.

The probation officer has direct access to the judge, so it is a good idea to make his or her job as easy as possible.

3. Write a letter to the judge. Tell the judge about yourself, from when you were young until now. Provide some insight into what your life was like as you grew up, things you accomplished and dreamed of, obstacles that you have had to overcome or that held you back.

The idea is to give the judge an idea of how you got into this situation and what your plans are to ensure you won’t get in trouble again. Use any of the answers you gave to question three above that might help. Be sure you admit to having committed the offense and to express your sorrow or remorse for having committed the crime. Get the letter to me as soon as you can.

4. Try to get me photographs of you showing your good qualities, such as you at church, with family, with your children if any, working, volunteering, etc.

5. The questions below might help you with the letter to thejudge or give me some ideas when I make my presentation to the judge for you at sentencing. Please answer the questions in the space provided and

a. What are your best accomplishments?

b. What are your best qualities?

c. What have you done that you are most proud of?

d. What are your short term goals?

e. What are your long term goals?

f. Why are you a better person now?

g. What is a just punishment for your offense and why?

h. Why will giving you leniency protect the public from further crimes by you?

i. Do you need educational or vocational training?

j. How would leniency provide you educational or vocational training?

k. Do you need medical care? How would leniency provide you with medical care?

I. Why should the Judge give YOU a break?

m. Who do you care most about in this world, and what hurts you the most about being in this situation?

Francisco Hernandez

Author Francisco Hernandez

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