THE DOJ HAS A 98% CONVICTION RATE
INDICTED AND FACING PRISON IS TERRIFYING
WHAT YOU DO TODAY – CAN HELP MITIGATE YOUR SENTENCE TOMORROW
NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO GIVE UP, by Admiral McRaven
Did the FBI Wake You With Their Early ‘AM’ Knock At Your Front Door?
Do any of these sound familiar?
You have recently felt that the Feds have been asking questions? Are you;
…a White-Collar professional facing an indictment?
…an elected official who’s been charged with corruption?
…someone who’s taken years to build your business only to now face federal charges?
If Yes, I Can Help You.
Attorneys know the law,but the nuances of navigating through Federal Prison aren’t part of a traditional legal defense.
This requires a unique set of knowledge and skills that are of interest to both those facing Prison, as well as those who are responsible for their clients welfare by preparing them for what to expect while in prison in order to work toward early release, freedom and home.
To start, STAKEHOLDERS in Prison are your Case Manager and Unit Team. With tremendous influence over your life and future, their interests are to see incremental reductions in your criminogenic needs. I only know one way to do this – So Lets Get to It!
This all depends on your efforts, and while there are no guarantees, you will still benefit – if you do the work.
The only way to do this I have learned from others, and have included them in this website. If your Case Manager and Unit Team believe ‘in you’ through your work and attitude, the door may open for them to implement The Second Chance Act and provide recommendations to Residential Reentry Managers for release to either a Halfway House or Home Confinement.
For a personal, one-on-one call with me to discuss your current issue, or that of a loved one, call (240.888.7778). If I cannot answer, please leave a message, as I return all calls. Marc Blatstein
We are not Attorneys, you need Legal Representation.
No one can guarantee results, as the outcome at the end of the day rests with your attorney, the Judge, and The Federal Bureau of Prisons. Once inside, as in life, there will be staff that truly care about you and their job, while others just look at you as a number. The only person that can control Your Reactions and Emotions ⇒ Is You.
THE DETAILS – YOUR NEXT STEPS,
1st You need a Federal Criminal Defense attorney, who practices in Federal Court. Next, considering that the DOJ has a 98% conviction rate, deciding between Trial or Plea is a strategic and practical decision you and your attorney must make. This may not be fair, but the numbers don’t lie. Should there be a Guilty Verdict – ‘Participating in Preparing’ for your Presentence Interview is critical to your Future.
If you need recommendations for great attorneys who practice Federal Criminal Defense and have experience in Federal Court, contact me. These should be attorneys who have experience with cases similar to yours and who are also empathetic to the stresses that you are going through.
2nd PREPARATION to navigate through Federal Prison is not usually part of a traditional legal defense. This requires a unique set of knowledge and skills that are needed after the guilty verdict or plea and are of interest to your Judge at sentencing (Your NARRATIVE and RELEASE/REENTRY PLAN), along with other STAKEHOLDERS, that you haven’t yet met.
3rd Therefore, in addition to your legal defense, it’s equally important, for you to be prepared for your Presentence Interview and Sentencing Hearing. This is the 1st and only time your Judge will get to meet and speak with you – so make it a great First Impression. Judges across the country agree in their desire to hear from you, to learn why you did what you did, and for you to express your Remorse, Accept Responsibility, a understand the Pain you have Inflicted upon Your Victims. They also do not want to see you back in their courtroom again – convince them. They also have great B.S. Detectors, so if you cannot be honest and sincere, then don’t speak. Again, PREPARATION.
WITH PREPARATION AND WORK – YOU WILL RETURN HOME WITH DIGNITY
PREPARATION – Your Personal Narrative, Allocation, ‘Character’ Reference Letter, and Reentry/Release Plan. Once completed, copies of your Biographical and Identification Information are presented to your Probation Officer a couple of weeks before your Interview. Your Probation Officer can then weave them into their Probation Report where they eventually become part of your official Presentence Report. This now allows your Probation Officer the time at your interview, to get to know you personally, which is especially important as it may impact their perspective of you in the final draft of your Presentence Report.
4th YOUR RELEASE PLAN. Why you need a Reentry Plan, is because, 1) your Judge will want to know your Plan, not to return to their courtroom, and 2) in prison, your Case Managers will have read your plan as they have Tremendous Influence on how fast you move through the FSA Programming Process toward early release.
- As STAKEHOLDERS entrusted with ensuring your progress, the only way I know of showing them the Incremental Improvements, in Reducing your Criminogenic Needs that you are making, which I have learned from others – is by daily journaling (or logging) everything that you do. There may be other methods, but I don’t know them.
- It’s crucial to demonstrate how you are reducing your Criminogenic Tendencies over time, which may help expedite your return home while making your Case Managers look better to their supervisors. As your Release Plan develops, and your Case Manager and Unit Team come to believe in you, they may also apply the benefits of the Second Chance Act toward your early release. There is a lot here, which will be developed throughout this website – all Free.
5th DISAPPOINTMENT – Prison excels at providing disappointment and frustration, because this is how they want you to feel. They control all aspects of your life, and should you disobey the rules and get caught, they will write you a Shot or Ticket otherwise known as an Infraction – You Do Not Want Any Of These! The more they write – the better they may look to their supervisors, just like getting speeding tickets or DUIs on a National Holiday like July 4th. SO PLEASE: NO INFRACTIONS, NO CELL PHONES, AND NO TROUBLE, BECAUSE YOU DO NOT WANT TO LOSE YOUR ACCESS TO EARLY RELEASE.
PREPARATION cannot be overstated – learn,
- What to do day-to-day, by Showing That You Can Reduce Your Criminogenic Needs,
- Improving your chances of an early release – still, nothing can be guaranteed,
- All of this depends on your efforts, started before sentencing, and continues while you are inside (your lawyer is not there with you to help), and after you are released to either home confinement or a halfway house,
- Other issues include,
- How to pick an attorney,
- If you need attorney recommendations, ask me, there are great, smart ones out there with empathy.
- Non-Medical, and Medical Issues,
- The Administrative Remedy Process to Advocate for Yourself, and
- Understand Who and What STAKEHOLDERS are,
- From the Judge to your Warden, Case Manager, and Unit Team. (Teaser: Your Case Manager and Unit Team have tremendous influence over your future).
- How to pick an attorney,
Why? Because after your Interview, is when the Probation Officer (P.O.) will write the court’s official Presentence Report (PSR, yes I co-published this article), and with it, your Judge will determine the length of your sentence. At this time you will have the ‘opportunity’ to make a placement request, (PPRSUS Example Packet–Alderson).
Attorneys know the law, but the Nuances of Federal Prison are much different.
- Before your Presentence Interview, you need to know: WHO AND WHAT ARE STAKEHOLDERS – WHAT IS A PERSONAL NARRATIVE – ALLOCUTION – REENTRY/RELEASE PLAN – FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY PROGRAM – SECOND CHANCE ACT – GOOD TIME CREDIT – FSA and SURVEY ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS.
- There is a lot here – it could shorten your stay – and yes, nothing’s guaranteed.
If you’re willing to do the work, it can be with me or anyone else, but please don’t leave this decision up to chance, or your attorney telling you that ‘it’s not necessary’.
That person will not be in prison with you. Dr. MJB
Your Presentence Interview and Sentencing Hearing Are Coming – and Will Change Your Life.
Are You Prepared to Speak to Your Judge?
What is the ‘1’ Thing that Differentiates You from Everyone Else entering your Judge’s Courtroom?
- The Judge Already Knows,
- That The DOJ wants Jail time
- That the Prosecutor wants a conviction and
- Your Attorney is paid to keep you out of prison or, at best, spend the least time “in prison“.
- We Need To Help the Judge Understand Who You Are – and Why You Deserve Leniency
- What Changed in Your Life – That Caused You to Break the Law?
- Now is the Time For You To Invest In Yourself – No One Can Change their Past ⇨ But You Can Change Your Future
- Writing your story, through Your Narrative tells the Judge how you came to this point in your life. This is an arduous, self-reflective experience for you to go through, forcing a face-to-face with your innermost thoughts. It may require you to enlist someone with federal sentencing mitigation experience to guide you in drafting your narrative, but this is the story of your life and requires your participation.
- Taking weeks to months to complete, can result in a distilled version of yourself that is honest and pure, a version where you have Remorse, Accept Responsibility, and Identify with the Victims of the Crime You Perpetrated.
- This resulting Narrative or Your Story – is quite the opposite of the DOJ’s Indictment Narrative, which has already been read by your Judge. As you stand at your sentencing hearing anticipating your conversation with the court (your Allocution), you may also realize that the process of writing your narrative has been an unexpectedly cathartic experience. Speaking from the heart could influence the court and ‘may’ impact your sentence…
Now – Do You Feel More Prepared to Speak with Your Judge?
The Bureau of Prisons Administration uses the same PSR to place or designate you in a prison.
- Your Unit Team, Case Managers, Psychologists, and Medical will refer to it throughout your stay.
- Visitation is determined by it
- Your Personal Narrative is your chance to take back some control of your future
- But even if all things are done right, the Judge may still not change your sentence and placement
- But now your Narrative, as part of your Presentence Report (PSR) will be seen and positively used as you transition through the BOP, into Halfway House and Probation, and then home confinement and supervised release. All along you are adding to your Reentry Plan.
- Your Personal Narrative, like your Presentence Report, will now be “The Gift That Keeps on Giving“ – in a good way.
- But even if all things are done right, the Judge may still not change your sentence and placement
The probation officer controls your future. They conduct your interview, draft the presentence report, and can sway the court regarding your sentence length and placement.
Are you happy with the Indictment-Narrative that the DOJ released to Google, which is being read as 100% Fact – by everyone, including your friends, colleagues, family, the Jury (if you’re going to trial), your attorney, The Probation Officer, Prosecutor, and the Judge? Plus, it will stay online forever.
No, then start working to change the DOJ’s version of your Narrative today. It may take ~100 hours to write (and re-write), but only “You“ can change, “Your Narrative.”
Some of the first steps of your attorney after the “guilty” hearing is to learn who will be your probation officer.
1st contact. After “guilty”- it’s helpful for your attorney to connect with your Probation Officer before they speak with the Prosecutor and get Biased against you, then
- learn the date for their “dictation deadline”, which is the date that your Presentence Report (PSR) draft is due to their supervisor, plus the date for your interview.
- This provides the opportunity to get your ‘message’ to the officer – before that conversation with the prosecutor or read the voluminous amount of information provided by The DOJ online, which is biased against you.
2nd From an interview with Judge Nancy Gertner
- Early and frequent contact with the probation officer can lead to a positive presentence report,
- The lawyer should find out as much as possible from the probation officer assigned to the case including whether the probation officer talks to the judge before sentencing.
- Find out if the judge meets with the probation officer and follows their recommendations.
3rd The ultraconservative Charles Koch Institute states, “Jail should be reserved for people who pose a threat to public safety.” Judge Gertner agreed and suggested that’s a good point to make to a sentencing judge.
For most judges, the key questions they want to be answered are:
1. Why did your client do what he did?
2. What has he done to own his mistake and demonstrate sincere remorse?
3. Why was the behavior out of character with an otherwise law-abiding life if it was?
4. Why is he unlikely to do it again?
5. Why should I cut him a break?
- For Judge Gertner, it appeared that a key question she wanted to be answered was: Why did your client do what he did, and why is he unlikely to do it again?
The Presentence Report’s content is derived from all the information the probation officer has learned from you, and your defense team during their Interview and Investigation. This is why the defense strategy should be organized, and documented before the Presentence Interview (PSI) has even begun. The completed version your attorneys want the court to see is provided to the P.O., to be included in their final drafting of your client’s Presentence Report (PSR).
- This includes your Personal Narrative – then include it in your Presentence Report,
- Your allocation – the only opportunity to express your remorse to the victims and how you got to this point (similar to your Narrative) to the court – needs to be practiced and role-played with your attorney, because the judge may want to have a conversation with you.
- It is also helpful to hear what your attorney plans to say at the sentencing hearing – which is also practiced with you. This memorandum will be submitted 1 week before the hearing and reviewed together with your attorney.
Probation officers are often overworked and have no time, and some may appreciate your efforts, should it help ease their workload.
Meanwhile, you have been,
1. Collect copies of your medical records: Hospital, laboratory, radiology, physician, surgical, prescription, and medical devices. As all of these take time, medical practices are also very busy – so don’t wait.
2. Other records: Educational, military, character, community service, work references, original birth certificates, social security card, license, etc, and, you get the picture.
3. Of significance to your life in the BOP;
- Bottom Bunk: Past medical history of Tinnitus, vertigo, or back problems.
- Diabetic Soft Shoes, Sneakers Instead of Rigid Institutional Boots: Past medical history of a torn Achilles heel, knee, or hip issues.
- Being of a certain age / Having weight, or having a Hernia issue: could result in getting passes of “no standing for prolonged periods” and “no lifting over 15 pounds,” helping you escape some of the crappier work assignments.
- “Medical idles,” which get you out of everything, are also available, either short or long-term, for various ongoing ailments (ranging from a bad hip to PTSD).
When the date comes for Your Presentence Interview, You’re prepared, Right?
- After you have been interviewed, The PO will investigate, verifying all that you have told them and all the documents that have been provided. Their next step is to draft the official Presentence Report (Blatstein et al., 2021), which they will provide to the court. The attachments you provided should be included in the PSR and will impact your future.
- They will likely provide both sentencing and BOP placement recommendations to the court at this point.
This is why the Presentence Interview (PSI) is the best opportunity for your legal team to get their “message on the record”, and into the Presentence Report (PSR), before it reaches the court.
- The Presentence Report may provide the opportunity for making a BOP Placement request, along with the supporting reasons “why” the request is being made, or requesting that the court consider other “relevant conduct”, to look beyond the offense of conviction to what happened – but once the PSI is done, and the official PSR has been drafted, getting it changed is a big ask.
- Requesting to add new content after that date is possible, but nothing is guaranteed. Where there is further biographical information, your attorney could request to email it to your P.O., by category, so that the P.O. could simply copy-paste it into the appropriate categories, thereby making it a more straightforward process.
PREPARATION: PROBATION INTERVIEW (FORM) starts with; can you explain what happened, and then follow a format similar to the outline below, which should be reviewed for content accuracy.
VICTIM IMPACT: The chance for victims to speak
OFFENSE CONDUCT- ASSESSMENT OF CRIME: STATEMENT Critical to review for accuracy due to its sentencing enhancement ramifications
- Probation Officers Report what happened in an offense, so check it.
- Their narrative is not always based on what took place during the trial.
- Many probation officers will rely upon what others allege, rather than what was proven.
- This section is important to be kept accurate as it could overextend the sentence.
- If the probation alleges “leadership,” the BOP, taking that information into account, could determine that person’s suitability for minimum-security placement
- Therefore close attention should be paid to this area so that all parties are in agreement, and the defendant does not face any future prison repercussions.
USSC CRIMINAL HISTORY: A scored calculation based on criminal history
USSC OFFENSE LEVEL/CONDUCT: A scored calculation based on your current charges.
OFFENSE LEVEL/CONDUCT VS CRIMINAL HISTORY
PUBLIC SAFETY FACTORS vs MANAGEMENT VARIABLES: BOP placement guidelines
OFFENDER CHARACTERISTICS: This is where through conversation the officer learns who you are. Saying nothing leaves ‘all’ including the court to believe what the DOJ has released to the press is 100% true.
- If Not, THEN THIS IS YOUR TIME TO TO WRITE YOUR STORY/NARRATIVE AND PROVIDE YOUR PERSPECTIVE
FAMILIAL HISTORY: Married – Children – parents’ responsibilities and sole caregiver
DEFENDANT’S PHYSICAL CONDITION: Medically documented bad Back-Hip-Knees-Shoulder could provide you with a Bottom Bunk. Diabetic, Vascular Disease, Raynaylds could allow the Medicare soft shoe or sneakers.
MEDICAL/PHYSICAL HEALTH, MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH: Include ALL medical records, Labs, Surgery Reports, X-ray – CT-MRI-Ultrasound-Pet Scans (in Written and CD Format), Prescriptions for medications (Check Generic Medication Availability), and medical devices, along will ALL physician contact information.
SUBSTANCE ABUSE: Alcohol, Drug (Legal or Illegal), within the previous 12 months before the arrest. RDAP allows up to 1 year off the sentence. They may do a Urine test.
EDUCATION AND VOCATIONAL SKILLS: Copied of the highest level, otherwise a GED will be required in prison. If you have experience in/with computers, administrators frown on these skills, so you may want to reconsider using these.
MILITARY: Copies, branch, discharge?
EMPLOYMENT: The PO will check. Judges love a good work record/history
STATEMENT FINANCIAL RECORDS: If there are financial fines/restitution, Congress and The BOP now require a Financial Responsibility Plan to benefit from all Earned Time Credits and access to Programming. Therefore if the events allow, counsel could ask that the court writes into the record that payments should only start after release from the BOP.
- Financial Responsibility Plan (FRP). If you have a large fine or restitution, and money is a problem, the BOP ‘FRP’ Program requires participation, and if you refuse, this could hinder your involvement in FSA Programs’ efforts towards early release and Halfway House along with restricting some of your commissary use.
- It may help if your attorney asks the judge to write into the order that
- the defendant does not have to participate in the Financial Responsibility Plan
- until after they are released from the BOP,
- as they have a job and will then be able to make payments at that time.
- Otherwise, be proactive, and at your first team meeting, offer what you can ($0.00/month) towards your FRP account. Be aware that at your next team meeting, they will know exactly how much money you have spent, and it’s too early to create a bad – first impression.
- 12/17/2022, I learned that Judges are putting into their “Order”, that the defendant has to pay $25/quarter.
- 1/10/2023 The new proposed [wish-list] rule published in Tuesday’s federal register would automatically put 75%of money sent or donated to inmates toward victim restitution. The program would be voluntary, but prisoners would have to participate to get credit under the First Step Act for early release from prison or into a community facility. The BOP, while not in favor of this as they need the profits from the commissary for staffing and other projects – should the DOJ get its way, the commissary business would likely drop. Still, I hold on to my recommendation not to keep thousands in your account if you have any financial penalties.
- It may help if your attorney asks the judge to write into the order that
ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS THAT LIKELY WILL BE NEEDED
- Divorce decree
- School diplomas
- Marriage Certificate
- Naturalization papers
- Draft registration card
- Car Registration papers
- Military discharge certificate
- Birth or baptismal certificate
- Immigration papers or passport
- Employment verification (pay stubs)
- Character Letters of Recommendation
- Military disability information (C-number)
- Income tax reports for the last three years
- All Outstanding Detainers and Immigration Issues Resolved before The Presentence Interview
- Proof of residence (rent receipts, property, Union, lodge, club cards mortgage papers, etc.)
- Professional papers (COPIES: Social Security Care, Drivers Lic., certificates, licenses, or Seaman’s papers permits)
- Medical Records, Hospital – Surgical – Pathology and Blood Lab Reports, Copies of X-Ray, MRI, CT, Ultrasound, PET Scans, EEG, EKG reports, and CDs, Prescriptions for Medications and Medical Devices.
REVIEW YOUR OFFICIAL PRESENTENCE REPORT FOR ACCURACY – BEFORE THE SENTENCING HEARING
If You Suspect You’re The Target of a Federal Investigation | Before The Presentence Interview (PSI) | After The PSI – But Before The Sentencing Hearing | or After Sentencing or You’re Already Incarcerated – There Are Still Things – At All Levels, We Can Do
For a No Obligation Free Consult Call 240.888.7778, or by email. I answer and personally return all of my calls.
Don’t let this be a missed opportunity!
PPRSUS is here to help
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