Friday, May 6, 2011
20th Annual National Seminar on Federal Sentencing Guidelines - The Presentence Report and the Sentencing Process
A box lunch was provided with an allstar panel discussion and video. The topic was the presentence report and the sentencing process. Moderating this session was W. Carl Lietz, III (Kish & Lietz). The panelists were Hon. Donna Elm (Federal Public Defender - Middle District of Florida), Laurel Moore Lee (AUSA - Middle District of Florida), Tess Lopez (Sentencing Mitigation Specialist), Ray Owens (Assist. Chief Deputy US Probation - Middle District of Florida), and Adrienne Wisenberg (Barnes & Thornberg). Some comments:
- See probation early. (Tess Lopez)
- Remember that the prosecutor now has to deal with the Victims Right Act & statutory obligations. (Laurel Moore Lee)
- You need to prepare your client. Spend time with client on what things to avoid saying for getting an acceptance of responsibility. You may not want the client to speak to preserve appellate issues (Donna Elm)
- Prosecutors give information about the case to the probation officers (Laurel Moore Lee/Ray Owens)
- Go to the interview with your client and participate - give your version of the incident - be an advocate. Discuss in advance any objections you may have and correct inaccuracies in the report. (Adrienne Wisenberg)
Two highlights of the program:
- Adrienne Wisenberg talked about character letters and how it is important to have them providing specific instances that tell the story of the client.
- Donna Elm presented a sentencing video that was POWERFUL.
These highlights show the importance of getting a judge to understand exactly who is your client, why your client committed this act, and why this individual deserves a lesser punishment.