Hello, everyone! Welcome to White Collar Advice, and a Happy New Year! I’m thrilled to kick off 2024 with our first video of the year, and for this special occasion, we’re using the whiteboard!

Dealing with a Tough Sentencing Judges

In today’s video, we will discuss what to do if you think you have a tough sentencing Judge whose mind is already made up at sentencing. We also address how you can still influence the Judge.

Inspiration from Unlikely Places!

The inspiration for this video came during a recent Mexican cruise with my family. Like with federal prison, I’m glad I had the experience, but I hope never to return!

While on the cruise, I received an email from someone in our community who was frustrated because their lawyer deemed their mitigation efforts ineffective. The lawyer thought it wouldn’t influence the judge. Surprisingly, my own sentencing experience came to mind. I didn’t cooperate, and the government sought a 24-month sentence, but I received 18 months. I firmly believe that defendants can positively influence judges if they put in the work. For the sake of this video, however, let’s assume that nothing you do directly impacts the judge.

Influence the Right Stakeholders

So, what’s the alternative if you are being told you cannot influence your Judge? I posed this question to our client, who was disappointed, and he gave the right answer. We try to influence OTHER stakeholders.

Influencing Probation Officers and Prosecutors

Let’s focus on who you can influence. Some believe that if you have a tough sentencing judge, that Judge tends to respect government officials, such as probation officers and prosecutors. These judges rely heavily on the probation officer’s report. Therefore, the person you should initially aim to influence isn’t your judge; it’s your probation officer. The probation officer will likely be present at your sentencing hearing, and their report can be highly influential. So, it makes sense to do everything you can to influence the probation officer, even if others suggest it’s too early to mitigate.

Seize Opportunities To Reduce Your Federal Prison Sentence

Your probation officer is often influenced by the United States Attorney. They will have read your plea or indictment and press releases and may have spoken to the prosecutor who indicted you. Therefore, it’s also wise to work on influencing the United States Attorney. This can be achieved by proffering and clearly articulating your remorse, reconciliation plans, and your commitment to making your victims whole.

Indirectly Impacting Tough Sentencing Judges

Influencing these two critical stakeholders, the probation officer and the United States Attorney can indirectly impact your sentencing judge’s decision, even if you believe their mind is already made up. So, for 2024, I’d like you to please start thinking about what you can do today to influence your probation officer and the United States Attorney. Embrace the process, create assets, and share your progress honestly and deliberately.

Remember, it’s not just about you; it’s about making a positive impact on society. Doing this makes you more likely to receive a shorter sentence, more freedom, and a chance to rebuild your life. It may require effort, but it’s a win-win situation.

Thank you for watching the White Collar Advice Channel, and I look forward to sharing more valuable insights with you throughout 2024.

Schedule a call with our team to get started.

Justin Paperny