For Attorneys

“It’s surprising how many otherwise competent attorney’s ‘punt’ at the sentencing hearing.” *

What Federal Judges Look for at Sentencing

  • Humanize your clients.
  • Good allocution can cause a Judge to impose a lower sentence.
  • “Tell us their story”, but don’t minimize the seriousness of what your client did.
  • Judge Rice said he will often ask a defendant what he is going to do upon release from prison in order to determine whether he is likely to reoffend.
  • Show his/hers strengths and weaknesses. If you can show that you are on the same page with the court as to the seriousness of the offense, the chances of having your other statements accepted increase.
  • When asked which of the cases coming before them they find most challenging there was agreement – predatory child sexual offenders where the children have been harmed and white-collar criminals where vulnerable people have been harmed.
  • All agreed they would rather hear from your client during the sentencing hearing, unless you have new information not contained in your sentencing memorandum and other submissions.

MUST READ: The Federal Lawyer (September 2017) by Alan Ellis