August 19, 2011 By Wallin & Klarich

One can only hope to never be charged with a Federal crime. But if you are, Federal sentencing has become the most crucial stage of the criminal justice process. Sentencing consequences is a major consideration for decisions made earlier in the process, including:
• the prosecutor’s selection of charges • the defendant’s decision whether/when to cooperate with the government • the defendant’s decision whether/when to plead guilty • the terms and stipulations included in any plea agreement As such, Defendants and their Federal Criminal Lawyers need to understand and predict the sentencing effects of their decisions from the outset of the case.
Unfortunately, the importance of sentencing has not resulted in clear and consistent laws proven effective at achieving the purposes of sentencing. Over the past 25 years following Congress’s enactment, and subsequent disregard, of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, which has lead to a hodgepodge of statutory provisions that affect sentencing, including:
• mandatory-minimum penalties • “mandatory” Sentencing Guidelines • Case law For most sentencing matters, the pre-sentence investigation and report prepared by the probation officer, and the sentencing hearing conducted by the judge, are the primary means for determining the nature and circumstances of the offence and the history and characteristics of the offender. However, prosecutors, and even law enforcement and probation officers, can have considerable influence over the sentencing options available to the judge by:
• control of the facts that are relevant to the statutory and guideline provisions • their choice of what charges to bring and which facts to allege • their control of motions for various types of sentence reductions • penalizing non-cooperation and the exercise of a defendant’s rights However, the U.S. Supreme Court has recently reinvigorated the role of judges and the opportunities for Federal Criminal Lawyers to advocate through a serious of constitutional decisions:
• U.S. v Booker (rendered the Sentencing Guidelines “effectively advisory”)
• U.S. v Gall (judges are obliged to consider all relevant factors in sentencing)
• Rita v U.S. (judges are free to disagree with a policy underlying a guideline)
This is a new and challenging period in Federal Sentencing, and to navigate through the Federal Court Sentencing successfully, you must contact Wallin & Klarich to help you or your loved one. With over 30 years of experience as Federal Criminal Lawyers, Wallin & Klarich will assist you in this difficult time. Visit our website at or call us at 888-749-0034. We will be there when you call.

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