It’s a New Year in Atlanta, and I am doing my usual work on federal criminal cases, criminal appeals, post-conviction matters and whatever else that my clients need that can help with their various situations. One of today’s tasks is to schedule a “proffer” session for one of my clients who has been charged with federal fraud crimes. While working on the relatively mundane job of scheduling a proffer session, I started thinking about how many clients, and even some attorneys, really do not fully understand what a proffer is, how it can help, and more importantly, how it can be a bloody disaster if not handled correctly.
A “proffer” is when a lawyer takes his or her client over to meet with federal prosecutors and investigators for a question and answer session. This session is never something that the client is obligated to do, it is totally his or her choice, after of course consulting with well-trained legal counsel. The proffer is kind of like the test-drive when considering a certain car at an automobile dealership. The driver is not obligated to buy the car, the seller has no duty to sell, both sides are trying to learn more in determining whether they want to reach some agreement down the road. Continue reading