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Federal Criminal Defense: Having the Final Word

Readers know that we handle federal criminal investigations and prosecutions from our office here in beautiful Atlanta, Georgia and all over the remainder of this state and throughout the country.  We currently are in federal cases in Vermont, Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Arkansas.  No matter where we go to help our clients, it is always worth trying to get the “final word.”

I have two matters on my desk this morning that exemplify this need to get the final word.  One is a post-conviction matter, the other concerns an upcoming sentencing hearing.

In the post-conviction case, we argue that my client’s previous attorney performed so poorly that the conviction should be over-turned because of the Sixth Amendment violation caused by “ineffective e assistance of counsel.”  Both sides filed briefs after the court hearing, and because we went first I am thinking about filing a “reply brief.”  I like these reply  briefs, for they give me the chance to plow through the prosecutor’s arguments and they try to dissect and destroy them, one at a time.

In the federal sentencing case, I have on my desk one of the famous “Presentence Investigation Reports“, or as we call them, the “PSR.” These are lengthy documents prepared by a federal Probation Officer (the “PO”) who makes recommendations to the Judge about how the Federal Sentencing Guidelines might operate.  The PO also provides a summary of the Defendant’s personal history, education, work history, medical issues and his or her financial condition.  No matter how accurate or thorough it is, the PSR is written by a Government employee.  I want the Judge to see the case from our perspective.  As a result, I usually try to get the final written word in preparing for a sentencing hearing by filing a “Sentencing Memorandum.”  Every case is different, but we usually ask that the Court see how the client and his or her offense look from the defense point of view.

Having the final word can be important, whether one is arguing with a loved one or in court. Just make sure the final word is the truth.

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