In this video, I address a comment a retired federal public defender left after reading the article in the New York Times Magazine titled: Want to Do Less Time? A Prison Consultant Might Be Able to Help.

The specific comments follows: “I am a retired federal public defender. The work done by these sentencing consultants is doubtless helpful when the criminal defense attorney is unfamiliar with federal sentencing and the variety of federal prisons available.

But, federal criminal accused should take care in selecting an attorney who actually has experience in federal criminal cases. An experienced attorney does everything these consultants do and at no extra cost.

Not only did I prepare my clients before they met the federal probation officer who wrote the pre-sentence report, I also, always, went with them to the appointment to keep them on track and out of dark waters. Not going with your client to the most important interview in his life is malpractice. The advice to totally accept responsibility is correct, as is the advice to continue to be conspicuously productive at work or as a volunteer. It is imperative to have letters of support attached to the PSR, and as the attorney, I also assisted each supporter in framing a helpful letter to the judge. (Without guidance, some of these letters are harmful, eg,”I know my friend could never do this.”)

Asking the court to request a particular prison is helpful, but the BOP doesn’t have to follow the court’s recommendation. As the attorney, I have actively worked the phones to the BOP to get good medical, psychiatric, educational or vocational training placements.

Finally, there are worthy books about fed. sentencing and BOP placement.”

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Justin Paperny