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Federal Sentencing Advocacy: Tips for Beginning Practitioners

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Volume: 11 Issue: 4 Dated: Winter 1997 Pages: 27-30
Donald A. Purdy Jr.; Gustavo A. Gelpi
Date Published
4 pages
This article describes Federal Sentencing Guidelines and their role in advocacy proceedings.
In order to provide aggressive advocacy, counsel must know how the guidelines work and consider their impact at each stage carefully weigh the sentencing impact of defendant cooperation; pre- and post-indictment plea bargaining regarding what offenses will be charged or eventually pled to; how significant sentencing facts and disputed issues of guideline application might be resolved to limit the defendant’s exposure; and the uncertainty of possible sentencing outcomes. The article also reviews the “relevant conduct” provision; cooperation with the government; limiting uncertainty of outcome; resolving disputed issues; treating a sentencing hearing as if it were a trial; and good advocacy despite guideline strictures.