YOUR NARRATIVEšŸ“œ May Help Your JudgešŸ¤žMitigate Their Sentencing Decision

YOUR NARRATIVEšŸ“œ May Help Your JudgešŸ¤žMitigate Their Sentencing Decision


Provided 1-2 Weeks Before The PSI; Helps The Judge Know ‘You’, MayMitigate Their Sentencing Decision


This study provides more ValidationĀ for the personal narrative (written by your client, reviewed and guided by those with Mitigation Experience), which is then provided to their Probation Officer 1-2 weeks before their Presentence Interview. The narrative included in The Presentence Report is now Under Seal and will be read by all of your future stakeholders.

Now your client’s NARRATIVE (with their RELEASE Plan and Letters Attesting to their CHARACTER) becomes part of their Presentence Report-Under Seal. Aside from their INDICTMENT, the Judge can learn ‘who’ the defendant is.

In thisĀ Study 1 (N=132),Ā evidence about the mitigating circumstances reduced punishmentĀ only whenĀ it was presentedĀ beforeĀ evidence about the perpetratorā€™s violation, in other words before the Judge,Ā 1st)Ā reads the Presentence Report that just has the DOJ INDICTMENT, without your NARRATIVE, andĀ 2nd)Ā evaluates the Probation Officers sentencing and placement recommendations, solely based of the DOJs INDICTMENT-NARRATIVE of your client.



Your client’s story, seen through the eyes of The DOJ Indictment, makes them look like America’s Most Wanted. If left unchallenged, this will be the story or NARRATIVE of your client that future STAKEHOLDERS will read and believe, starting with the Judge.

Waiting until the sentencing hearing is not acceptable becauseĀ 1st)Ā all your Judge will know about you is through your INDICTMENT, andĀ 2nd) they usually have a tentative sentence in mind during the week before the hearing – based on that same INDICTMENT. See this short video about sharing your story.

Judges have agreed that they need your client’s help in understanding ‘the why’, of what happened. They know thatĀ crimes do not occur in a vacuumĀ and are interested in what caused the person in front of them to break the law.


‘Stand Out To Your Judge.’ M. Santos interviews Federal Judge M. Bennett on the importance ofĀ  Your Personal NARRATIVE, including it in Your Presentence Report.Ā 


Presenting all of the court-requested Biographical Background, Personal Identification along with your client’s Story or NARRATIVE, and RELEASE Plan 1-2 weeks before their Presentence Interview allows the Probation Officer to learn about your client before they ever meet.

A little effort goes a long way, as these officers each have huge caseloads and no time. So it should come as no surprise that some may actually appreciate the fact that your client came to this meeting prepared and provided allĀ of the information needed before the interview date. This gives the officer time, allowing them to fill out their Probation Report before they ever meet your client, not being rushed.

Then, at the interview, the officer can take the time needed to get to know your client personally, leaving the interview where your client appears to be the opposite of the person characterized in the INDICTMENT. As these are usually in written format, judges may find viewing a Video a better way to get to know your client’s whole story. These videos can be under 10 minutes and can be taken with a Smartphone if budgets are tight.

Writing your NARRATIVE is an Arduous and Self-Reflective Experience

Make sure your client has TruthtellersāœØto support them.

  • We All Make Mistakes
  • Donā€™t forget: this is your chance.
  • Those around you should bring out something Positive in you.
  • This is your client’s autobiography (of their life), the good – the bad, and the ugly.
  • Enablers may make you feel good for that moment – but will not šŸ‘ŽšŸ» be helpful in the long run. The NARRATIVE is your client’s explanation without excuses, where they have accepted responsibilityāš–ļø and have remorse for the pain they have caused while not minimizing what has happened.

When writing The NARRATIVE, consider associating your client with those most appropriate and knowledgeable regarding what they will be facing before, during, and after prison. This skill goes beyond the traditional defense and is best provided,

  • At theĀ appropriate timeĀ (just before or after the guilty verdict in preparation for their PSI),
  • Those with the appropriate experience of what their client’s future STAKEHOLDERS will need to see and hear before their interview – during and after incarceration, and as they prepare to ‘successfully’ reenter society.
  1. TheĀ Probation Officer (PSI) and JudgeĀ are now their first two STAKEHOLDERS.


  1. Nature and CIRCUMSTANCE

      • Why did you do this?
      • How did you get involved?
      • What was your involvement?
      • You should check that your involvement reflects what is in the final Presentence Report.


      • Your client’s remorse,
      • Your Client’s Accepted Responsibility
      • How your client ruined their victim’s lives,
      • Traumatic Life event(s) – review with details,
      • Show the court whatĀ your client’s plan is never to come back,
      • Where there was a positive or negative family life – explain this,
      • What has this experience taught them? Did it bring up moments from our client’s past?
      • Was there a ā€œtrigger,ā€ what was that trigger, and how do you remove it from your client’s life?
      • Include the good things that your client’s done, explain with examples and letters (at least ten good ones) that Attest to their Character,
      • Show what your client is doing today to change and improve themselves regarding rehabilitation (NA, AA, GA, Therapy, etc.), Community Volunteering, and paying restitutionā€”if they can. This all becomes part of your PSR, now Under Seal.
      • Should a Professional License Be lost, include how this will result in the loss of a profession loved, a career, and income. Still looking into other options, incarceration is temporary, and life will go on with strategic and well-thought-out planning.

Consider this short YouTube before writing your NARRATIVE. Simply speaking, this is Your Story or Autobiography. Nike’s Brand is ‘Just Do It,’ Tesla’s is Space-X, and your NARRATIVE has to be your story and the experiences that brought you to this point in your life – helping your Judge understand who you are.

3.Ā Ā Ā Ā FAMILIAL HISTORY:Ā  Married ā€“ Children ā€“ parentsā€™ responsibilities and sole caregiver

4.Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā DEFENDANTā€™S PHYSICAL CONDITION:Ā Medically documented, bad Back-Hip-Knees-Shoulder along with Tinnitus could provide your client with a Bottom Bunk. Diabetic, Vascular Disease, Raynaylds could allow the Medicare soft shoe or sneakers.

5.Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā MEDICAL/PHYSICAL HEALTH,Ā MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH:Ā Include ALL medical records, Labs, Surgery Reports, Diagnostic: X-rays, CT, MRI, Ultrasound, PET scans (in Written, Flashdrive or CD format), Prescriptions for medications (Check Generic Medication Availability), and medical devices, along will All physician contact information. These specific medical needs can be met if included as part of your Medical History;

  • 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 ā€œno standing for prolonged periodsā€ and ā€œno lifting over 15 pounds,ā€ helping you escape some of the crappier work assignments.
  • ā€œMedical idles,ā€ 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).

6.Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā SUBSTANCE ABUSE:Alcohol, Drugs (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.

  • If you started these programs on your own, before your Presentence Interview or before you were Indicted,Ā MENTION THESE IN THE NARRATIVE, WITH COPIES OF YOUR TREATMENT RECORDS FROM YOUR PROVIDERS (AA, NA, Gambling, or a Sex Therapy Program).

7.Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā EDUCATION AND VOCATIONAL SKILLS:Ā Copied of the highest level; otherwise, a GED will be required in prison. If you have experience with computers, administrators frown on these skills, so you may not want to include these certifications.

8.Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā MILITARY: Copies, branch, discharge?

9.Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā EMPLOYMENT:Ā The P.O. will check.Ā Judges love a good work record or history.

10.Ā Ā Ā Ā Ā STATEMENT FINANCIAL RECORDS:Ā If there are financial fines/ restitution, Congress and The BOP now strongly encourage participation in theirĀ Financial Responsibility PlanĀ in orderĀ to benefit from all Earned Time Credits and access to Programming.Ā This is in addition to all other required financial records. Don’t try to hide parts or all of this, as the P.O. may find out, angering the Judge.


Taking weeks to months to complete can result in a distilled version of yourself that is honest and pure, where you feel Remorse, Accept Responsibility, and Identify with the Victims of the Crime You Perpetrated.

  • If the resulting Narrative or Your Story ā€“ is quite the opposite of the DOJā€™s Indictment Narrative, where your client sounded like ā€˜Americaā€™s Most Wanted, ā€˜then your client did a Great Job!


1.Ā Ā Ā Divorce Decree

2.Ā Ā Ā Financial Records

3.Ā Ā Ā School Diplomas, Your highest education level completed, Professional Diplomas, and any Trade or Occupational Certification(s).

4.Ā Ā Ā Marriage Certificate

5.Ā Ā Ā Naturalization papers

6.Ā Ā Ā Draft Registration card

7.Ā Ā Ā Car Registration papers

8.Ā Ā Ā Military Discharge certificate

9.Ā Ā Ā Birth or baptismal certificate

9.Ā Ā Ā Immigration papers or passport

10. Employment verification (pay stubs)

11. Character Letters of Recommendation

12. Military Disability information (C-number)

13. Income Tax reports for the last three years (or more if requested)

14. Outstanding Detainers and Immigration Issues Resolved before The Presentence Interview

15. Proof of residence (rent receipts, property, mortgage papers, etc.)

16. Professional papers (COPIES: Social Security Card, Driversā€™ License, and Birth Certificate.)

17. Medical Records, Hospital ā€“ Surgical ā€“ Pathology and Blood Lab Reports, Copies of X-ray, MRI, CT, Ultrasound, PET Scans, EEG, EKG reports (on Flash Drives or CDs), Prescriptions for Medications and Medical Devices.

This is from my article on LinkedIn.

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