FEDERAL SENTENCING ADVOCACY
Federal Sentencing Advocacy Attorneys
Representing the rights of individuals facing federal sentencing
For many people facing federal criminal charges, trial may not be the best option. Instead, careful consideration of the evidence, the law and advice of counsel may lead to a decision to resolve the case without trial. Indeed, according to statistics kept by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, that is the option chosen by the vast majority of defendants. In Connecticut in fiscal year 2019, for example, there were 349 cases and only 12 went to trial while 337 defendants pled guilty. In those cases, sentencing advocacy is of paramount importance. The attorneys at Koffsky & Felsen, LLC have expertise, derived from vast experience, in obtaining favorable plea agreements and zealously advocating for the fairest sentences, non-custodial whenever possible, focused on the unique background and history of each client.
If you are facing criminal charges or have been convicted, please call Koffsky & Felsen, LLC at 203-327-1500 to find out how we can assist you.
Ensuring that you receive a fair sentence
Resolving a case without trial is a lengthy and stressful process where effective representation by experienced counsel is essential. At every stage, counsel’s participation can contribute to achieving the ultimate goal of a fair sentence that is not unduly harsh. This includes:
- Negotiating the terms of a plea agreement
- Obtaining release on bond
- Appearing in court for a change of plea
- Assisting at a presentence interview
- Submitting a sentencing memorandum
- Advocating at a sentencing hearing
Counsel will obtain and present biographical information so the sentencing court can tailor a sentence to fit the individual. Such background history may include information about upbringing, education, any major health problems, substance abuse history or mental health issues, employment, and military and community or charitable service.
Plea agreements are detailed and lengthy documents that contain the essential terms and conditions relating to a plea of guilty. Counsel can shape the agreement in ways critical to the ultimate goal of persuading a judge to impose a sentence that fairly and fully considers and factors favorable to a client that mitigate against imposing a harsh sentence. In federal cases, judges must consider Sentencing Guidelines in determining the sentence in a particular case. The Guidelines are, basically, a complex set of rules used to generate an advisory sentencing range, measured in months, based on the nature of the case and the defendant’s background. The Guidelines are important, but they do not dictate the outcome at sentencing. Plea agreements typically contain analysis of what the parties believe is the Guidelines sentencing range in their case, and counsel must be fully conversant with the Guidelines to negotiate the best analysis possible in the circumstances. Since the Guidelines permit judges to sentence below the range, which they do in Connecticut almost two thirds the time, plea agreements must embody the right to request at sentencing a below-Guidelines sentence. Similarly, other terms and conditions of a written plea agreement may be essential to achieving the objective of a sentence less punitive than otherwise possible.
Presentence Reports are an important source of information relied upon by judges in formulating sentences. They provide details about the offense, about the applicable Sentencing Guidelines and sentencing options, and – of greatest importance from the defendant’s perspective – about the history and background of the person to be sentenced. In all cases the Probation Officer interviews the defendant and includes in the Report information from that interview in the Report given to the sentencing judge. Here again, counsel has the opportunity to try to contribute to this Report for the benefit of the client.
Counsel also prepares and presents the court a written memorandum in aid of sentencing – a detailed discussion of reasons to support a particular sentence best designed to serve the objectives of sentencing. The reasons are necessarily specific to the client and to the facts of the case, and they are broad in type and range and require development through gathering of detailed information about a client’s biography that is essential to individualizing that client and his/her unique history and life and to understanding the circumstances of the particular offense. As mentioned above, this information is meant to humanize and individualize the defendant in the eyes of the sentencing judge with important details about upbringing, family, education, employment, health and military, community and charitable service.
This process can be exhausting and emotionally stressful. A defendant must appear in court to plead guilty, if that is the chosen course, and then attend the sentencing hearing. As with all other stages of this process, these occasions are of critical importance and require planning and preparation to enhance the likelihood of achieving the goal of the best possible sentence under the circumstances. The attorneys at Koffsky & Felsen, LLC are sensitive to client needs, skilled in managing this process, and dedicated to advocating for and attaining the best possible outcome for our clients.
Discuss your case with a Connecticut federal sentencing advocacy attorney today
If you are facing federal charges, you should discuss your situation with a highly experienced federal criminal defense attorney who understands sentencing advocacy as soon as possible. It is important that a lawyer gets to know you as an individual and your particular life circumstances in addition to the facts of your case to present the best arguments for you. At Koffsky & Felsen, LLC, we are here to help you through the entire justice process, so please call for a consultation with our experienced defense lawyers at 203-327-1500 as soon as possible.