Hardly a day passes in federal prison without someone saying, “I assure you my sentencing judge had his mind made up before I was even sentenced. Nothing my lawyer or I could have done would have changed the Judge’s mind–nothing. It is what it is, you know?”
As an exercise, let’s work under the mistaken presumption your Judges mind is indeed ALREADY MADE UP before your sentencing hearing.
If so, you better ensure your sentencing mitigation was compelling and extraordinary. That includes having a favorable pre-sentence probation report (PSR), compelling first-person narrative, character reference letters, and a well-documented history of community service work.
Federal Judges: Your mitigation work, in our opinion, should tackle the eight questions I pose below and address in our video:
1:50 – What have you been doing since getting arrested?
2:44 – What does that mean you are sorry?
3:38 – How do I know you will never return to this courtroom as a federal defendant?
5:04 – How will you make your victims whole?
6:08 – What will you do with the rest of your life?
8:25 – What fractures have you faced in your life?
10:14 – What have you learned through this experience?
13:12 – In what ways do you give back to your community?
14:55 – Have you been working leading up to your sentencing hearing?
If you cannot answer all of these questions, that is okay. It is never too early or too late to get started. But you must start, now. Do not delay. Do not wish or hope for a better outcome. Do not remain passive or defensive.
This is your life–take action, be authentic, and work around the clock to demonstrate why you are better than the government’s version of events.