I am a heretic who believes that the criminal justice system is broken and that generations are needlessly suffering as a result. I am a Sentencing Consultant.
Ironically, I spent a significant part of my adult life putting people in jail and prison. Now I have created a career of keeping them out.
When someone is convicted or pleads guilty to a crime, the judge has little or no information about them as an individual. In felony cases the probation department will prepare a sentencing report that covers their background and criminal history but is generally not very comprehensive and frequently inaccurate.
Anyone unfamiliar with the criminal justice system, especially those facing criminal charges, is likely to experience a high degree of fear and trepidation for their future. The system is intimidating, dehumanizing, and uncaring.
I am changing that. As a Sentencing Consultant, I work with the accused to prepare for their presentence interview with probation. And most importantly, I prepare reports and recommendations for the courts with the objective of personifying the accused as a human being, as a father/mother/son/daughter, and as a person with value. I highlight the parts of their life that are working and identify options to address those parts that are not working so well. This information is then presented to the judge and prosecutor along with a sentencing recommendation as an alternative to the information provided by probation.
I am consistently delivering great outcomes for those facing jail/prison and a lifetime of being stuck in the revolving doors of the system. And I do so without compromising community safety. I am making a meaningful difference in the lives of the accused and their families as a result.
Below are a few selected case studies of those great outcomes:
(1) Client entered guilty pleas to three aggravated 1st degree felonies and one 3rd degree felony. Prison was a foregone conclusion. The only question was for how long before client becomes eligible for parole. The prosecutor argued for consecutive sentences on all counts. Probation recommended that two of the 1st degree felonies be served consecutively and the remaining counts be served concurrently.
By probation’s calculation of the Criminal History Assessment (sentencing matrix form 1), client had a total score of 13 with corresponding placement in row IV column C. Based on this calculation, client would serve 206 months on the prosecutor’s recommendation and 165 months on probation’s recommendation; before being eligible for parole. The correct calculation of the Criminal History Assessment provided by USA resulted in a score of 6 and corresponding placement in row II column C.
Using this proper calculation (even though the judge otherwise followed the probation recommendation) the end result is parole eligibility after 128 months. In a worst case scenario USA successfully reduced the minimum sentence by 78 months and in the alternative it was reduced by 37 months. Now it is up to the client to make the most out of the next ten years in prison but at least there is hope of a life outside those barbed wire fences.
(2) Client entered guilty pleas to three 2nd degree felony white collar offenses in two different cases, with total restitution in excess of $250,000. The prosecutor argued for prison and probation recommended it. The judge commented on the incomplete probation report and referenced the alternative sentencing report. Included in these references were comments about the thorough and comprehensive analysis contained in the alternative sentencing report. The only negative comment about this report was that, in the judge’s opinion, not all of the aggravating factors were identified, although the judge did agree with all of the mitigating considerations identified in the report. The result, probation and jail with work release.
(3) Client is Vietnam Vet with twelve prior arrests and nine convictions, including three DUI’s; in the present instance there were two new DUI’s (first and second in ten year period) within months of each other. Overall the new cases represented the third and fourth lifetime DUI convictions. The result, community service and fines (no jail on either case).
(4) Client presented with 6 prior misdemeanor convictions and the present offense represented the fourth DUI and third in a ten year period. At sentencing the judge approved the agreed upon 402 reduction and reduced the offense to a class A misdemeanor (cannot take credit for that one although the prosecutor’s agreement was based in part by information provided in a pre-plea report). The result, 24 months probation and community service (no jail).
And that is why they call me the Sentencing Savior.