Archive for August 2011

Federal Sentencing Guidelines

Federal Sentencing Guidelines – Analysis

 

Sentencing begins with a federal Pre-Sentence Report (PSR a/k/a PSI) summarizing the facts [as they know them usually given to them by the government], the applicable statutory law [what you plead guilty to or was convicted of, sentencing guidelines, and aggravating and mitigating circumstances in support of the sentencing recommendation made to the court by the government. We work with clients and attorneys in analyzing the PSR in depth going over every detail contained therein. We then strategically develop sentencing arguments in order to potentially mitigate exposure to a prison sentence.

 

Federal Sentencing “Advisory” Guidelines

 

As you may have already heard federal district court judges have discretion at sentencing as they are no longer bound strictly by the federal sentencing guidelines. However, recent data suggests that judges, now in the midst of the punish the white collar defendant era, are deviating upward at the time of sentencing. However, judges can sentence a defendant to a term of imprisonment substantially below the applicable sentencing guidelines range if they desire. We provide the client and attorney in depth consulting on recent sentencing data of the specific judge and/or court and/or district. We also develop arguments based upon facts and previously argued mitigation motion in order to try and convince the judge for a mitigated  sentence. We do this each day for attorneys across the country.

 

What is Sentencing Mitigation?

 

You have heard of “mitigation” but what is it? At the time of sentencing, a defendant has an opportunity to present unique or unusual circumstances to the court and explain why a mitigated sentence is appropriate. Though rare, a carefully and well presented mitigation case to the court is the most important function of your criminal defense attorney and staff. Our prove success at strategically developing arguments and evidence is what sets us apart. Don’t pass on this important phase of your case, it could mean the difference between federal prison and probation.

 

Going to Prison?  Need Help?  Considering a Plea?  Federal Prison Consultant?

1-866-529-6717  Toll Free 24 Hours

To Plead Guilty or Go To Trial

HAVE YOU BEEN INDICTED?

GUILTY PLEA OR TRIAL

Do I Plead Guilty or Not?

The ultimate life changing decision? Plea or Trial?  There can be certain advantages to pleading guilty before, rather than after, you have been formally indicted. Historical  evidence shows that any plea agreement offer post-indictment will be far less favorable than the one, if any, pre-indictment.  Also, by pleading guilty as soon as possible, you may increase your chances of obtaining a 5K1.1 downward departure recommendation from the government under the now advisory federal sentencing guidelines.  A 5k1.1 is a departure motion filed by the government for you providing substantial assistance/cooperation against others.  Yes, full cooperation that only the government can determine to be substantial.

 

If you decide to proceed to trial then discovery motions must be filed on your behalf.  You will now discover more about the government’s case, including weaknesses and strengths.  Remember, pre-indictment discovery is not allowed and the government is under no duty to provide you with discovery materials until after you have been formally indicted. Furthermore, the government is under no obligation to provide you with exculpatory information under the Brady doctrine until the post-indictment phase. This is important to know when weighing your risks.  The weaker the government’s case is, the more likely you are to prevail at trial or to force the government to offer a better deal. In addition, with respect to the issue of downward departures, now that the sentencing guidelines are advisory, the trial judge has the ability to hand down a sentence significantly lower than the recommended guidelines range. In effect, the judge can give you his or her own downward departure even without a government recommendation. So, if you decide to wait until after indictment and the obtaining of discovery to enter a plea agreement you can still cooperate with the government and have a chance at a downward departure from either the prosecution or the judge.  However, don’t count on the judge providing you with a departure – rarely happens despite the nature of the “advisory” guidelines.

Taking the Risk at Trial

Although the sentencing guidelines are advisory, there is a substantial risk in going to trial.  Federal judges, for the most part, follow the recommended guideline range. Now, add to that, the fact that federal prosecutors, through the selective handing out of 5K1.1 downward departures and the manipulation of sentencing guideline “amount of loss” figures, can dramatically reduce the potential sentence of a cooperating witness against you and very often do in order to obtain a conviction against you.  Thus, if you decide to go to trial and lose you can be sentenced to federal prison for more than 10 years and certainly far more than that of a cooperating defendant in the same case.  What makes matters worse is that the courts and prosecutors treat white-collar defendants far worse than the average drug dealer.

 

Going to Federal Prison:  We Can Help!  

 

1-866-529-6717  Strategic Guidance

Pre-Trial, Sentencing, & Post-Sentencing Consultants

 

10 Commandments of Prison Survival

Basic Prison Keys to Survival!

Going to Federal Prison?

 

1. Do not get involved with trouble

2. Do not discuss your crime or your PSR

3. Do not get involved in gambling

4. Do not collaborate with the guards against other prisoners

5. Do not become indebted to anyone

6. Don’t stare at another prisoner

7. Do not use drugs

8. Work out

9. Keep your mouth shut – Family Life is Private

10. Be respectful and polite

Rule 35 – Third Party Cooperation

Third-Party
Cooperation for RULE 35 Reduction in Federal Sentence

Did You Hear of Rule 35 – Sentence Reduction?

 

We are often asked whether it is possible for friends and/or family members to “cooperate” with the federal agents in order for a loved one that is incarcerated to receive the benefits of a Rule 35 sentence reduction.

 

The answer is “yes” this is possible.  The federally incarcerated defendant has a friend or relative who is willing to cooperate with the agents in exchange for a reduction in his/her sentence. It is important to note that the person who ultimately cooperates MUST have written assurance that he/she will not be prosecuted because of his/her involvement in the activity he/she is providing information on.  THIS MUST BE IN WRITING.

 

If the cooperation proves useful to the government, and only the government decides, despite the efforts and risks undertaken, then and only then the US Attorney will agree to file a motion to reduce the sentence of a federal inmate in exchange for the cooperation of a friend or relative who is not incarcerated. In reality
this type of cooperation is rarely found to be useful by investigators and if so tends to lead to a small reduction.  Thus, cooperation must be very helpful and catch some pretty big fish.

 

FINAL NOTE

Third party cooperation for a Rule 35 reduction is very dangerous to the cooperator and/or the federally incarcerated defendant.  You and your cooperator must understand the risks involved to all parties together with the chances of a possible reduction in sentence.  Be careful and navigate the road carefully.

 

Have you been Indicted?  Going to Federal Prison? 

We provide consultation at all levels.

Toll Free:  1-866-529-6717  “Lower Your Exposure”

 

Rule 35 – What is it?

FEDERAL RULES OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE

“RULE 35″ – Third Party Assistance

What is Rule 35?

Each day we are contacted by inmates and families with questions concerning Rule 35. There is so much misinformation on the Internet and circulating through the federal prisons I thought it would make sense to try and give you the most basic definition.  A Rule 35 motion is basically a motion asking the sentencing judge to correct or reduce a federal prison sentence. Rule 35 (b) and the sub-sections under Rule 35 (b), are related to sentence relief or reduction for providing assistance to the government in the investigation or conviction of others. That is right – the federal agents want you to cooperate in the prosecution of other people and maybe you will get a reduction in your sentence.

Rule 35 (b) (1) permits a court, upon the Government’s motion (on the defendants’ behalf), within one (1) year of the date of sentencing, to reduce a defendants’ sentence if he provided substantial assistance in investigating- prosecuting others thus reducing the previously imposed federal sentence.

On the other hand, Rule 35 (b) (2) permits a court, upon the Government’s motion, (on the defendants’ behalf), more than one year post-sentencing, to reduce a defendants’ sentence.  However,  the assistance under Rule 35 (b)(2) must involve the following; (1) Information provided was not known by the defendant until 1 year post-sentencing; (2) Information was provided within 1 year but did not become useful until more than one year post-sentencing; or (3) The usefulness of the information provided could not reasonably have been anticipated by the defendant until more than 1 year post-sentence and was promptly provided after usefulness was reasonably apparent to the defendant.

Here’s what is considered in evaluating a Rule 35 motion:
1.  Only the cooperating Government can file the actual Rule 35 motion;
2. The courts evaluation of the significance and usefulness of defendants’ assistance, taking into consideration the Governments’ evaluation of assistance rendered;
3. The truthfulness, completeness and reliability of any information or testimony provided;
4. The nature and extent of the defendant’s assistance;
5. The timeliness of the defendant’s assistance; and
6.  Any injury suffered, or any danger or risk of injury to the defendant or family as a result of the assistance.

Though reluctant and under ever increasing pressure from federal agents, numerous federal defendants have cooperated in hopes of being considered for a Rule 35 (b) motion facing great danger to themselves and others.  This cooperation is not recommended because the risks with no guarantees greatly outweigh the chances of success.

Therefore, don’t be mislead into cooperation with authorities based upon false promises for a sentence reduction pursuant to Rule 35 (b). This is a strategic and perilous road and you need expert guidance.

We consistently assist clients in successfully obtaining a Rule 35(b) sentence reduction.  No case is alike and each case brings unique facts and challenges. We evaluate each case carefully and determine if you and your legal counsel have sufficient assistance evidence to provide in order to obtain a Rule 35(b) reduction.  We provide a thorough and impartial evaluation based upon the law and facts of each situation.

There are no promises or guarantees as you already have learned.  Be guided carefully especially if you are an inmate. If other inmates discover that you are cooperating or are being transferred to a court for a Rule 35 hearing, you may experience a problem at your designated prison facility. Be careful and learn the rules.

1-866-529-6717 Toll Free if your facing or going to federal prison.

Indictment, Plea-Agreement, Cooperation, Trial, Post-Trial, Sentencing, Prison

Navigate Carefully!

Federal Grand Jury Reform ? STATUS REPORT

Federal Grand Jury Reform ?  STATUS REPORT – 11 Years Later

 

NOT COMING SOON ENOUGH DESPITE 2000 COMMISSION REPORT

 

Rather than a bulwark against “hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution,” today’s federal grand jury is a rubber stamp, leading many to agree that “a good prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.” Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, noted that the federal grand jury, originally established by the Founding Fathers as a means of protecting American citizens against government excess, is today a captive of federal prosecutors. The prosecutor exercises enormous power, unrestrained by law or judicial supervision. The grand jury process itself is largely devoid of legal rules. The process has become one that wholly fails to protect ordinary American citizens. [National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers]

 

 Reported This 18th Day of May, 2000 by the Commission to Reform the Federal Grand Jury

 

1.  A witness before the grand jury who has not received immunity shall have the right to be accompanied by counsel in his or her appearance before the grand jury. Such counsel shall be allowed to be present in the grand jury room only during the questioning of the witness
and shall be allowed to advise the witness. Such counsel shall not be permitted to address the grand jurors, stop the proceedings, object to questions, stop the witness from answering a question, nor otherwise take an active part in proceedings before the grand jury. The court shall have the power to remove from the grand jury room, or otherwise sanction counsel for conduct inconsistent with this principle.

 

 2.  No prosecutor shall knowingly fail to disclose to the federal grand jury evidence in the prosecutor’s possession which exonerates the target or subject of the offense.  Such disclosure obligations shall not include an obligation to disclose matters that affect
credibility such as prior inconsistent statements or Giglio materials.
 

 

3.  The prosecutor shall not present to the federal grand jury evidence which he or she knows to be constitutionally inadmissible at trial because of a court ruling on the matter. 

 

4.  A target or subject of a grand jury investigation shall have the right to testify before the grand jury. Prosecutors shall notify such targets or subjects of their opportunity to testify, unless notification may result in flight, endanger other persons or obstruct justice, or unless the prosecutor is unable to notify said persons with reasonable diligence. A target or subject of the grand jury may also submit to the court, to be made available to the foreperson, an offer, in writing, to provide information or evidence to the grand jury.

 

 5.  Witnesses should have the right to receive a transcript of their federal grand jury testimony.

 

6.  The federal grand jury shall not name a person in an indictment as an unindicted co-conspirator to a criminal conspiracy. Nothing herein shall prevent the prosecutor from supplying such names in a bill of particulars.

 

7.  All non- immunized subjects or targets called before a federal grand jury shall be given a Miranda warning by the prosecutor before being questioned.

  

8.  All subpoenas for witnesses called before a federal grand jury shall be issued at least 72 hours before the date of appearance, not to include weekends and holidays, unless good cause is shown for an exemption.

 

9.  The federal grand jurors shall be given meaningful jury instructions, on the record, regarding their duties and powers as grand jurors, and the charges they are to consider. All instructions, recommendations and commentary to grand jurors by the prosecution shall be recorded and shall be made available to the accused after an indictment, during pre-trial discovery, and the court shall have discretion to dismiss an indictment, with or without prejudice, in the event of prosecutorial impropriety reflected in the transcript.

 

10.  No prosecutor shall call before the federal grand jury any subject or target who has stated personally or through his attorney that he intends to invoke the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination.

 

Have You Been Indicted? Going To Federal Prison?  Do You Need Help?

 

Federal Sentencing & Prison Consulting!  1-866-529-6717

Federal Prison Strategies

Federal Prison in Your Future:

There are some aspects of federal prison that even your attorney may not be familiar with.  We are specialists; experts at positioning you to take advantage of the Bureau of Prisons’ programs and policies.

We provide individually strategic counseling to each of our clients.  Strategically position yourself.  We are federal prison consultants striving to lower each clients federal prison sentence or exposure one client at a time.  There are ways to lower your sentence – learn them. 

1-866-529-6717   Toll Free

Federal Prison Consultant? Why Us?

Why choose us?  Experience is the Best Teacher!

 

We are devoted advocates for those accused, defendants and families faced with the possibility of federal incarceration. Each client works directly with a trained and experienced professional developing strategies. The federal criminal justice system is littered with minefields so you must learn how to carefully and strategically navigate your path.

 

We strive every day to do everything in our power to minimize the amount of time someone must spend in federal prison. Since January 12, 2005 when the United States Supreme Court ruled the United States Sentencing Guidelines to be advisory rather than mandatory, there are a multitude of personal and offense characteristics that can be considered by the courts in imposing a sentence. On November  30, 2009 the US Supreme Court held that a defendant has a constitutional right and counsel has an constitutional obligation to investigate mitigating circumstances and factors for sentencing.

 

We investigate, research and analyze every possible mitigating factor and available alternative to incarceration including avoiding the imposition of so-called mandatory minimums. We focus on offense and offender characteristics to insure that an individual rather than simply “another defendant” is sentenced.

 

Defense attorneys must recognize that the sentencing stage is the time at which for many defendants, the most important service of the entire criminal proceeding can be performed.” Nicholas N. Kittrie, et al., Sentencing, Sanctions, & Corrections: Federal & State Law, Policy, & Practice 134 (2d ed 2002).

 

Going to Federal Prison:  Toll Free:  1-866-529-6717   “When You Have A Choice – Make the Right One”

 

 

 

What to Take to Federal Prison: The Very Basics

Going to Federal Prison.

Self-Surrender Federal Prison:  What to take to prison?

If you are fortunate enough to have been allowed to self-surrender then arrive early at your designated federal prison with a jogging suit, old sneakers, your wedding band [if married], a crucifix necklace [if religious], and two [2] forms of identification.  DO NOT BRING MONEY, OTHER CLOTHING, or FOOD.  The items you bring will be removed from you and accounted for.  Your personal clothing will be shipped home or you can donate them to the prison where they will most likely, if not always, be thrown into a dumpster.  You will be stripped, fingerprinted, provided the most basic institutional clothing, allowed to wear your wedding band and crucifix jewelry, and then processed.

 

MONEY:  Your family or friends can immediately western union money to your inmate account. DO NOT BRING MONEY WITH YOU – the prison will not accept the money.

Western Union Quick Collect Program

Western Union’s Quick Collect Program.  All funds sent via Western Union’s Quick Collect will be posted to the inmate’s account within two to four hours, when those funds are sent between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. EST (seven days per week, including holidays). Funds received after 9:00 pm EST will be posted by 7:00 am EST the following morning. Funds sent to an inmate through the Quick Collect Program may be sent via one of the following ways:

1) At an agent location with cash: The inmate’s family or friends must complete a Quick Collect Form.

 

2) By phone using a credit/debit card: The inmate’s family or friends may simply call 1-800-634-3422 and press option 2.

 

3) ONLINE using a credit/debit card: The inmate’s family and friends may go to westernunion.com and select “Quick Collect.”

 

For each Western Union Quick Collect transaction, the following information MUST be provided:

1) Valid Inmate Eight-Digit Register Number (entered with no spaces or dashes) followed immediately by Inmate’s Last Name

2) Committed Inmate Full Name entered on Attention Line

3) Code-City:FBOP,DC

 

The inmate’s committed name and eight-digit register number must be entered correctly. If the sender does not provide the correct information, the transaction cannot be completed. The Code City is always FBOP, DC.

 

Each transaction is accepted or rejected at the point of sale. The sender has the sole responsibility of sending the funds to the correct inmate. If an incorrect register number and/or name are used and accepted and posted to that inmate, funds may not be returned.

 

We provide consultation to individuals under indictment, those charged, convicted, sentenced, and existing in a federal prison.  We provide careful guidance through the federal bureau of prison minefield so an individual does not walk or be lead blindly as through the perilous red tape of the prison and probation system.  1-866-529-6717.

Reporting To Federal Prison

How to Report to Federal Prison:  Self Surrendering -vs- US Marshall

If you are sentenced and don’t request or receive a Self-Surrender from the judge, you will be taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals.  You’ll spend the day in the federal courthouse (most likely) and then be transferred to the federal detention center, or to a contract county jail until you are eventually picked up by the Federal Prison bus without any advanced warning or notice.

 

Once picked up by the bus, you, along with approximately 30-40 other inmates, will be transferred to your place of incarceration.  It may take several days to 3 weeks before you are transferred via bus to your prison or via Con-Air.  On occasion an inmate may have to spend time in a federal transfer facility [prison] until you are ultimately shipped to your final designated institution.  Even if you are designated to a camp during this transfer you will be together with inmates that received life or multiple life sentences.

 

Also, though the designation center attempts to keep you close to home, they do have a 500 mile radius in which to transfer and place you.  You must have your attorney request the closest institution to where you live, or where your family/friends are that you want to visit you.   Judges’ recommendations are often followed unless your security level at the time of designation is high.

 

Self-Surrendering (walking in un-cuffed) is generally better than coming in hand-cuffed & chained to other inmates.  You will process into the prison faster because you are typically alone.  When you come in with 30 other guys, you are going to be doing a lot of hold-over cell time before you go anywhere.  Be prepared.

 

Also, learn how to navigate and survive the reporting to prison process.  There are keys to a smooth integration.  We can help.