Sentencing Advocacy

Principles and Strategy


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SKU: 9781476687544 Categories: ,

About the Book

To ensure a fair criminal trial, effective sentencing advocacy is needed in every stage of prosecution, from investigation through plea, trial and sentencing hearings. With fewer criminal cases proceeding to trial, advocacy is increasingly critical for both prosecutors and defense attorneys and can determine whether or not a defendant receives an appropriate sentence.
Here is a volume that comprehensively describes the steps to effective sentencing advocacy, addressing not only terms of imprisonment or probation, but fines, forfeiture, restitution and other collateral sentencing consequences. It emphasizes approaching sentencing advocacy holistically, treating it as a key component of attorney advocacy in every criminal case. Covering the fundamental sentencing procedures and concepts, it describes where and how attorneys can use advocacy to advance their clients’ goals. It also explains aspects of sentencing that otherwise may appear too complex to a novice criminal practitioner. Importantly, this is not a book on sentencing law, although it addresses legal sentencing issues as they pertain to sentencing advocacy. Rather, the focus is on teaching attorneys how to use advocacy to achieve the best sentence for their clients.

About the Author(s)

The Honorable C.J. Williams is a United States District Court Judge in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, whose three-decade legal career included criminal defense work and more than two decades as a federal prosecutor.

Bibliographic Details

Hon. C.J. Williams
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 301
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8754-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4747-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Preface 1
1. The Importance of Effective Sentencing Advocacy 3
2. Principles of Judicial Advocacy 8
A. Differences in Context  9
B. The ­Decision-Maker  12
C. Practical Advice for Effective Judicial Advocacy in Sentencing  17
3. The Goals of Sentencing 21
4. Statutory and Guidelines Provisions 25
A. Indeterminate Sentencing, Determinate Sentencing, and Advisory Guidelines  25
B. The Interaction Between Statutory and Guidelines Provisions  31
C. Federal Statutory Sentencing Provisions  31
D. Federal Sentencing Guidelines Provisions  33
E. Burdens of Proof in Sentencing  38
F. Summary  39
5. Scope of a Criminal Sentence 40
6. Sentencing Advocacy Before Guilt Determination 45
A. Prosecution Investigations and Charging Decisions  45
B. Defense Investigations  47
C. Pretrial Detention or Release  49
D. ­Post-Offense, Presentence Conduct  51
E. Motions Practice  52
F. Plea Bargaining  53
G. Organizations  55
7. Stages in the Sentencing Process 58
8. Drafting of and Objecting to Presentence Investigation Reports 61
A. The Probation Officer’s Presentence Investigation  61
B. Drafting of the Presentence Investigation Report  64
C. Reviewing the Draft Presentence Report  68
D. Making Formal Objections to the Draft Presentence Report  72
E. Reviewing the Final Presentence Report  77
9. Sentencing Memoranda 78
A. Organization  79
B. Tone and Style  80
C. Legal Support  82
D. Requested Relief  82
E. Personal or Confidential Information  84
10. Preparing for Sentencing Hearings 85
A. Basic Preparation  85
B. Preparation When Offenders Have Pending Charges  87
C. Preparation for ­Factually-Contested Sentencing Hearings  89
D. Legal Arguments  99
E. Working with Crime Victims  100
11. Conducting Sentencing Hearings 102
A. Opening of Court and Initial Procedures  102
B. Presentation of Evidence  103
C. Resolution of Guidelines Issues  103
D. Resolution of Fine Issues  104
E. Resolution of Supervised Release Issues  104
F. Resolution of Collateral Consequences Issues  104
G. Victim Impact Statements  104
H. Resolution of Variance Motions and Final Argument on Disposition  105
I. Allocution  105
J. Imposition and Judgment  105
12. Evidentiary Sentencing Hearings 107
A. Inapplicability of the Federal Rules of Evidence  107
B. Applicability of the Confrontation Clause  110
C. Applicability of the Due Process Clause  111
D. Presentation of Evidence  112
E. Engaging in a Conversation with the Sentencing Judge  113
F. Record on Appeal  114
13. Departures for Substantial Assistance 116
A. Statutory and Guidelines Provisions  116
B. Unsuccessful Attempted Substantial Assistance  118
C. Secrecy and Security Issues Relating to Substantial Assistance Motions  119
D. Advocacy and Substantial Assistance  121
E. Substantial Assistance After Sentencing  122
14. Other Departures 126
A. Searching for Departure Grounds  126
B. Departure Case Law  127
C. Interplay Between Departures and Variances  128
D. Marshalling Evidence and Facts to Support or Oppose Departures  129
E. Effective Advocacy For or Against Departures  129
F. The Extent of Departure  130
G. Grounds for Departures  132
15. Variances 142
A. Variances and Section 3553(a)  143
B. Common Grounds for Variances  145
C. Variances for Other Reasons  175
D. Preserving Grounds to Appeal on Variance Motions  176
16. Fines 177
A. Statutory Fine Provisions  177
B. Guidelines Fine Provisions  178
C. Constitutional Constraints on Fines  179
D. Advocating For or Against Imposition of Fines  180
17. Forfeiture 182
A. Constitutional Implications of Forfeiture  183
B. Statutory Provisions  184
C. Rules on Criminal Forfeiture  184
D. Relationship Between Forfeiture, Restitution, and Fines  185
E. Sentencing Advocacy About Forfeiture  186
18. Restitution 188
A. Constitutionality of Restitution Orders  188
B. Statutory Provisions  189
C. Guidelines Provisions  190
D. Sentencing Advocacy About Restitution  191
19. Supervised Release 193
A. Statutory Provisions  194
B. Guidelines Provisions  195
C. Court Findings When Imposing Conditions of Supervised Release  195
D. Sentencing Advocacy Relating to Supervised Release  196
20. Collateral Sentencing Consequences 199
A. The Nature of Adverse Collateral Sentencing Consequences  199
B. Consideration of Collateral Consequences Before Sentencing  202
C. Consideration of Collateral Consequences at Sentencing  203
21. Argument by Counsel 204
A. Preparing a Sentencing Argument  205
B. Content of Sentencing Arguments  206
C. Style of Sentencing Arguments  208
22. Victims 211
A. Victim Rights at Sentencing Hearings  211
B. Presentation of Victim Impact Statements  212
C. Court’s Ability to Rely on Unsworn Victim Impact Statements  213
D. Advocacy in Reference to Victims  213
23. Allocution 215
A. Right and Role of Allocution  215
B. Impact of Allocution  216
C. The Decision to Allocute  216
D. Defense Attorneys’ Role  217
E. Attorney Comments About Allocution  219
24. Imposition of Sentence and Judgment 221
A. Attorneys’ Responsibilities to Parties at Pronouncement  221
B. Listening to Pronouncement of Sentence  222
C. Comparing the Orally Announced Sentence Against the Written Sentence  224
25. Challenging Judgment Before Appeal 226
26. Sentencing Advocacy and the Audience 228
A. Other Audience Members  228
B. Tailoring Advocacy to Account for Other Audience Members  230
27. Sentencing Organizations 233
A. Statutory Provisions  233
B. Guidelines Provisions  234
C. Fining an Organization  237
D. Forfeiture of Organization Assets  239
E. Restitution and Organizations  239
F. Organizations and Probation  240
G. Advocating Organizational Sentences  241
28. Advocacy in Supervised Release Revocation Hearings 244
A. Statutory Provisions  244
B. Governing Rules  246
C. Inapplicability of the Federal Rules of Evidence  249
D. Applicability of Due Process and Confrontation Clauses  249
E. Application of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) Factors in Revocation Hearings  250
F. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines in Revocation Hearings  251
G. Right of Allocution in Revocation Hearings  252
H. Advocacy at Revocation Hearings  253
29. Advocacy in Probation Revocation Hearings 258
A. The Law and Rules Governing Probation and Revocation of Probation  258
B. Advocacy in Probation Revocation Hearings  259
C. Early Termination of Probation  259
Conclusion: Final Observations About Sentencing Advocacy 261
Chapter Notes 263
Bibliography 281
Index 289