In this video, I explore the personal and challenging story of a doctor who reached out to me after being sentenced to seven years in federal prison. Feeling that the government unjustly compared him to notorious figures like Richard Sackler of Purdue Pharmaceutical, the doctor was troubled by the irony that Richard Sackler was never even indicted.

Around nine months ago, following his conviction but before sentencing, the doctor contacted me for assistance. Despite my advice to work on mitigating his situation, his lawyer’s insistence that such actions could jeopardize his rights to an appeal caused him to abstain from any effort to reduce his sentence. Although there was no assurance that mitigation would have led to a lesser sentence, it would have allowed him to maintain his dignity by trying, by doing the work, rather than being left with more regret.

During the sentencing, the judge scrutinized the doctor’s daily actions and declared that he must be held to a higher standard, an expectation that culminated in the seven-year sentence. The doctor encouraged me to share this story as a warning about the complexities and potential traps within the criminal justice system and as a call to action for those facing similar challenges.
His story is a stark reminder of the importance of taking proactive steps (even if you have been convicted at trial) and doing the work only a defendant can do.

Justin Paperny

P.S. Watch our webinar replay on The First Step Act and our Prison Reform Movements here.

P.S.S. Craft your sentencing story authentically—access 11 narratives by Michael Santos. Influence judges authentically for a favorable sentence.