When someone pleads guilty or is convicted by a jury, a judge will decide that person's fate at sentencing. While some cases involve a stipulated or agreed upon sentence that the judge needs only to rubber stamp, often times the judge has broad discretion. It is common for family and friends to speak on behalf of the person being sentenced, but all too often, these people speak without direction or guidance, unwittingly doing harm to the person whom they are trying to help.
Too many people rely on the crackpot internet articles for advice from non-attorneys, or individuals who are not experienced criminal defense attorneys. It frustrates me tremendously, so much so as one of Phoenix's most experienced criminal defense attorneys, that I have gone out of my way to share some good information - some right information - for people for are speaking at a loved one's sentencing.
Having provided direction and guidance to many such individuals in all sorts of cases, such as white collar crimes, sex offenses, and drug conspiracies, the message is the same.
Some, but not all, general guidelines are:
- Talk about the good qualities of the person who is being sentenced
- Don't disparage the victims or the judicial system
- Present yourself appropriately in business attire
- Prepare and practice what you are going to say to the court
- Realize that what you say may have a tremendous impact on the life of someone whom you care about
Many people may feel that a more rehearsed or planned point of action can turn the court hearing or sentencing into a dog and pony show. But the reality is that the more choreographed the sentencing presentation, the better the chances are that the outcome will be favorable for your loved one.
If you or someone you love is facing a sentencing where a judge has considerable discretion in the sentence to impose, and you are looking for an experienced Phoenix criminal defense lawyer to assist in mitigation and sentencing, contact the law office of Jason D. Lamm at (602) 663-9100. Start your case with the criminal defense you deserve!