Below is a message I sent on December 7th, 2019 to the 10,000 plus people on my mailing list.

“Yes, I know, a rare Saturday email from me. I would not send this message on a weekend if I did not think it important.

One month ago, I received this message (copying and pasting), “hey, I get sentenced in two weeks, and am confused. I sent your Dr. Phil video to my lawyer that talks about your 4 sentencing points. i told him I wanted to write a letter. also saw santos video with Judge bennett. Lawyer told me you and dr phil are nuts, and have no idea what you are talking about. Also said does not know bennett but did say no judge would do a video on youtube. anyways thanks for videos, I would love your help but lawyer says its a no go.”

Well, I think we know how this plays out. Yes, that is correct. The high end of the sentencing range.

I am sharing this story because this person ASKED ME TO SHARE THIS STORY. After I spoke with the defendant this was his takeaway for all of you.

1: Some people do not know that there are steps to take to prepare properly: narrative, sentencing videos, character letters, volunteer work with a clearly defined metric.

2: Some people know what to do and do not do it. Perhaps they are afraid to ruffle feathers, ask tough questions or they reason living like the ostrich is easier.

This defendant falls into the second camp. He knew what to do, but did not do it. As he describes it, he has no one to blame but himself.

Here is the practical takeaway on a Saturday: Since you are getting this email, you know you must work to change the narrative. Whether we guide you or not, you must work to convey through your own efforts who you are, what you have learned, how you identify with victims and why you will never return to another courtroom.

Even if you have been sentenced, you must continue to change the narrative.

But will you do it, or default to, “I have time. I will start later”, or “My lawyer is a former AUSA. He has it all handled,” or, “I was told I am going to get probation, so what is the point in really doing anything. I am in the clear!”, or my favorite, “My lawyer told me it was too early to start preparing. I should just wait to get more clarity.”

Imagine a lawyer or anyone telling a client it is too early to begin “preparing to overcome the obstacles that await all people with a felony record.” In my experience, it is the worst advice offered, yet I hear it several times a month.

I have been a convicted felon since February 25, 2008. Do you think my life would be better or worse if I started preparing in 2008 or 2018?

Imagine Tiger Woods telling someone, “You know, I want to win the Masters Again, but I am going to wait until the last week of March to start my prep.”

Waiting or delaying preparing is a choice you have to own. It is not your lawyer’s fault or the Judges fault.

I encourage you to use your own judgment. If you think it makes sense to wait, then wait. If you think there is no need to turn in a personal narrative, then don’t turn one in. But you cannot avoid the consequences of your choices.

Again, whether we guide you or not, I suggest you invest the time each day to prepare on a level you can defend to the people who love and support you.


Justin Paperny

P.S. Here is the 5 minute clip with Dr. Phil that covers our four sentencing points.

P.S.S. Here is the video with Judge Bennett and Michael Santos (it actually happened).

P.S.S.S. Here is my full video with Dr. Phil.