Sentencing Drama

posted in: Legal Practice | 0

Every day, in courtrooms across America, the Act of sentencing is performed. The scene, though it varies widely in both scope and significance, changes lives and impacts communities.

The Drama is authored by the defendant, so there are naturally many variations. In this scene, the defendant’s illicit conduct takes center stage – although the spotlight may attend to other aspects of the defendant’s life as well.

The show is directed and produced by the judge, who is assisted by probation officers. In this Act, the defendant’s future is foretold and determined. It is the most significant performance in the defendant’s life.

The prosecutor and defense counsel have supporting roles. Depending on the defendant’s conduct and circumstances, there may be other “bit actors” such as victims, family, and friends. As with any production, however, it is the probation officer – working behind the scenes, who brings life to this spectacle.

It is the probation officer who edits and prepares the final script. It is the probation officer who operates the lights to illuminate selected portions of the defendant’s life and it is the probation officer who provides commentary and narration as contextual scenery.

The supporting cast may offer their insight and opinion to the director; it is the probation officer who the director trusts most. In most courtrooms, the supporting characters attempt to influence the performance by appealing directly to the director, but the most talented and proficient also appeal to the probation officer.

Sentencing is a time of transition and with it comes an opportunity to bridge the adversarial gap to achieve the best possible outcome. It is a time for transparency and informed choice.

Let Utah Sentencing Alternatives help you build that bridge. We will prepare a comprehensive defense-based sentencing report that can be submitted to probation and to the judge.  Doing so facilitates transparency and ensures the accurate dissemination of information that is both relevant and reliable to judicial decision-makers.

  • Transparency neutralizes resistance and promotes a perception of fairness.
  • With transparency there is less ambiguity and uncertainty which makes it easier to choose from available options and there are fewer surprises.
  • Fully informed decision-making results in better outcomes with a higher degree of confidence.

We may be mere “bit players” in the defendant’s life drama, but there are many ways we can exert influence in the final production.

It may just change a life.

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