I wrote a blog recently about the consequences that can follow a bad presentence report (PSR). I received a number of calls and emails from defendants asking about the PSR and specifically how they could properly prepare for their interview. I cannot, in one blog, attempt to breakdown all there is to know about the PSR. I will, however, provide a summary and I will take that summary directly from my lesson plan on the PSR.
Lesson Plan 2 – Pre Sentence Investigation
“A defendant who anticipates a pre sentence interview could take the following proactive steps:
• Prior to meeting with the probation officer, a defendant could write a narrative that would explain, but not excuse, his current circumstances.
• The defendant could take steps to document any mitigating factors that might positively influence the way a probation officer or judge perceives his overall character.
• The defendant could reach out to individuals in the community who may offer character references and validate the defendant’s contributions.
• The defendant could prepare a list of references that might corroborate extenuating circumstances that led to the conviction, or show that the defendant is much more than what the criminal conviction may suggest.
• The defendant could document a record of good works that would be included in the finished PSI report.
• The defendant could prepare a response that would express remorse and demonstrate his commitment to living as a law-abiding, contributing citizen.
• The defendant can prepare his family members and friends for the reality that a federal probation officer may make unexpected and uncomfortable inquiries about the defendant’s character.
• The defendant can research possible alternative sentences and prepare a plan, or argument that might prove persuasive to the probation officer as a viable option.
• The defendant may improve his profile by engaging in some type of activity that would suggest his suitability for a less onerous sentence.
At White Collar Advice, we encourage our clients to prepare. They begin those preparations by recognizing that they must deal with the world as it exists and not as they would like it to be. Although a defendant may be new to the criminal justice system, the federal probation officer who was tasked with conducting a presentence investigation is not new. Federal probation officers interact with individuals who’ve been convicted of felonies every day. Those interactions make many probation officers cynical about anything a defendant says. If a defendant can accept that reality, the defendant can take appropriate measures. Those measures are going to be unique for every individual. Competent council may play a role in guiding the defendant through a presentence investigation. Defendants who are unfortunate to have lawyers that are indifferent to the journey through prison should be proactive. They should learn everything they can about the system before they surrender to prison. Defendants who know what lies ahead will be more capable of visualizing the best possible outcome given their current circumstances. Once they can define the best possible outcome, an individual should craft a plan that will deliver the desired outcome.”
May 31, 2020 Earlier today, I received a phone call from a former real estate broker who was just released from federal prison. He served 33 months for wire fraud. He was angry at the system, his lawyer, his Judge and his prosecutor. In a way, I know it was cathartic...
Forget it Justin, “people told me.” It wont work! Those people were talking about my plans to write a book that would prepare defendants for life in federal prison. Given all the mistakes I made before sentencing and federal prison, I knew they were wrong. I knew...
For several weeks our team has been offering a free character reference letter course.Inside the course, I discuss how sentencing videos can prepare you to obtain the shortest prison sentence. Yesterday, a student in the character reference letter course, sent me the...
If you think preparing for sentencing and prison is risky or too hard, wait until they hand you the bill for not doing anything! Imagine giving $175K to white-collar defense attorney only to be told months later, "don't worry about getting character letters. I'm not...
April 28, 2020 Twelve years ago today I surrendered to Taft Federal Prison Camp. Therefore it seems appropriate to post an article about serving time in federal prison. A little later today, sometime between 12pm and 3pm, I am also going to film a video that discusses...
How You Can Use the Covid-19 Crisis as an Opportunity to Bring Your Loved One Home from Federal Prison
We’re producing a considerable amount of content to help you understand how you can use the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to bring your loved one home from prison. Our video playlist shows how and why we became interested in this topic. The short story is we know...