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The Federal Sentencing Guidelines-How Will they Impact Your Sentence?
Federal criminal sentencing is all over the board. One defendant may commit fraud of $22 million and receive a sentence of 8 years. Another defendant in a different court may steal $80,000 and receive 20 years. White collar defendants must beware!
By: Robin Stover, Federal Prison Consultant
Everything changed in 2005 with the Supreme Court’s decision in "United States v. Booker". Although the Federal Sentencing Guidelines were styled as mandatory, the Supreme Court's 2005 decision found that the Guidelines, as originally constituted, violated the Sixth Amendment’s right to trial by jury, and the remedy chosen was removal of those provisions of the law establishing the Guidelines as mandatory. In the aftermath of "Booker" and other Supreme Court cases, such as "Blakely v. Washington" (2004), the Guidelines are now considered advisory only, on both the federal and the state levels. Judges must calculate the guidelines and consider them when determining a sentence but are not required to issue sentences within the guidelines. Those sentences are still, however, subject to appellate review. Basically, this simply means that Federal Judges, who are appointed to the bench for life, can do anything they want to do when they sentence a defendant in a criminal case. This is an extremely frightening and terrifying situation for federal defendants before the bench. If it isn’t, it certainly should be.
Robin Stover, Federal Prison Consultant with the Prison Consulting Group, commented, "Many times there is no rhyme or reason behind the sentence given to a white collar criminal in a federal case." Stover went on to say that he has seen cases when a defendant admitted fraud of $80,000 and was sentenced to as much as 10 to 20 years in prison. He has seen other cases when a defendant stole over $22 million and was only given a sentence of eight years. Federal District Judges frequently depart upward from the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines increasing the defendant’s sentence by years and years. Not as frequent are the downward departures that reduce a defendant’s sentence below the suggested Guideline range. Why does this happen? Stover suggests that some federal judges get the recurring judicial ailment of "robitis". This is a condition that certain judges acquire the instant they put on their judicial robe. The symptoms of "robitis" include a feeling of deity, they actually think they are God. Other symptoms include a feeling of superiority, grandiosity, self-centeredness, egotism, and self-absorption. Facts, reason, wisdom, and logic simply fly out the window. The judge does what he wants because he thinks he knows what is best for the defendant. Many times this means a long and unreasonable prison sentence. If this doesn’t make federal criminal defendants wary and distrustful, it should!
What can a federal defendant do to avoid this arduous situation? Robin Stover and the staff of the Prison Consulting Group can help. Through in-depth research and long hours of investigation they have developed a program to address this issue and present the defendant in the best light possible prior to sentencing. They work with the defendant’s attorney, legal team, and family to accomplish those ends. Stover advises that the best results are attained when the defendant starts this process and association early in his case. Stover stated, "Currently, the Department of Justice has a 97% guilty plea rate in federal criminal cases. He said federal prosecutors have over a 75% conviction rate following trial, and 91% of federal criminal defendants receive a prison sentence." Stover commented, "Wouldn’t it be in the defendant’s best interest to call a reputable Federal Prison Consultant in light of the huge disparity in federal criminal sentencing ranges?” I know if I was facing federal prison, I would!
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Robin Stover is a nationally recognized Federal Prison Consultant and the founder of the Prison Consulting Group (PCG). As a Federal Prison Consultant with PCG, Robin is recognized as an authority in pre-and post-conviction strategy, positioning, preparation, and education. Robin is knowledgeable in all facets of federal prison life and with the Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) rules, regulations, and program statements.
PCG prepares clients for admission to the 500-Hour Residential Drug Abuse Program which offers up to a 12 month sentence reduction and a 6 month halfway house designation. We also provide assistance with designations, judicial recommendations, transfers, furloughs, A R Appeals, Second Chance Act submissions, MINT program requests, restitution, ICE issues, and the BOP's Compassionate Release and Commutation of Sentence Program.
Prison Consulting Group offers the prison preparation course titled, "How to Survive Federal Prison", go to http://prisonconsultinggroup.com.