When I was released from federal prison in May 2009, I began attending sentencing hearings. Until that time, I had only attended my own sentencing hearing. I knew if I wanted to be successful in the mitigation space, I would need more experience.

The education was priceless. I was able to see the impact effective mitigation would have on a sentencing judge; I was also able to see the consequences that follow when defendants get lazy, indifferent, or somehow decide to outsource all of the work.

One specific hearing, I’ll never forget. A white collar defendant began shaking his head when a victim he created spoke. The head shaking upset the judge and I have no doubt those actions led to a significantly longer federal prison term. To begin, any mitigation the defendant had done was now utterly useless. He essentially threw money down the toilet because of his inability to show discipline or patience while a victim he created spoke.

Over the years I’ve attended hundreds of sentencing hearings. Those hearings convinced me that some victims do go above and beyond to get their pound of flesh. In other words, some do lie. Many judges catch on while others do not.

This leads to Sunny Balwani. The supposed friend of his called me to express how upset Sunny Balwani is that victims are lying. What should he do?

In this video, I address what Sunny Balwani should do. I also offer advice to any white collar defendants who are struggling to reconcile with what victims are telling the US Attorney and sentencing Judge.

Justin Paperny