Would you ever go skydiving without a parachute?

I didn’t think so.

Then why would you remain passive and remain unprepared as you prepare for your probation interview and sentencing hearing?

For clarity, outsourcing work to lawyers does not count as an activity–outsourcing work is a passive activity.

Now to be clear, I was a lazy, passive defendant. I didn’t want to do the work. That changed when I surrendered to federal prison on April 28, 2008. To prove that claim, review my activity timeline.

In federal prison, I learned I was not alone in taking the easy or passive way out. After all, living passively does not really require doing anything. Living in the passive states gives the feeling or impression that we are “avoiding” dangers. Embracing the status quo is just easier, at least over the shorter term.

Those who are active, however, find a way to confront their criminal case head-on. Let me give you a specific example: Hugo Mejia!

Hugo got burned by lawyers who claimed they were experts in “cryptocurrency.” Instead, they were just good marketers who provided little experience in cryptocurrency crimes.

Rather than complain or live in the past, he took action. He fired his lawyer. Instead of retaining a new lawyer, he qualified for court-appointed council. Then, he learned how to hold the lawyer accountable, to ask tough, even uncomfortable questions.

He understood the concept of pain and regret: It may have been painful for him to do uncomfortable things, but at least he did not have the lasting regret that follows doing nothing or living passively.

He found the inner strength to take action. He used his fear as fuel to attack every day with a plan and boldness.

“I cannot change the past, Justin. I would rather be doing something else than prepping for my probation interview and asking friends for character reference letters. But I know the consequences will be even harder for my family and me if I do not do this work. So, I will keep doing it.”

The result of Hugo’s hard work?

Read our New York Times Article or listen to the New York Times podcast that featured Hugo to find out. (spoiler alert the guidelines were 52-72 months and he was released from prison after 9 1/2 months!)

Don’t make the same mistakes so many defendants make. Save yourself and your family a lot of pain and aggravation by taking some meaningful, measurable action now, like right now! Learn from Hugo and hundreds of other great people in our community who do the work daily.

Here are some options to get going NOW!

Network: Grow your network. Call an old friend, speak at a Rotary Club, or call your existing network to thank them for standing by you.
Work: If you are not working, look for work. Probation officers and Judges want to see you create a new record as a law-abiding citizen.
Exercise. As you will see in my timeline, I threw on a quick 25 pounds. When I was stressed out, I ate. Your family is watching. You are the leader. Taking action will prove you can lead through crisis.
Attorney: Get more involved in your case by learning how to hold your lawyer accountable.
Narrative: Start writing your life story. Only then, can you change the government’s version of events.
And on and on.
My biggest regret was not taking action sooner. As a result of my laziness, I wasted money and I served a longer term in federal prison.

Choose an activity–it always wins.

Justin Paperny

P.S. That action step could also include scheduling a call with our team.