Los Angeles, just like any other federal jurisdiction, has its own tendencies related to prosecutors and judges and the way they handle sentencing cases. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines are a nation-wide thing across the United States that each federal judge much consult when deciding what sentence to give a particular federal criminal defendant.
Also defense attorneys and prosecutors have to consider these sentencing guidelines in how they deal with a particular case, how they discuss the case with their client and host of other relevant factors.
Federal Sentencing Guidelines are Advisory
But the Guidelines are ultimately advisory — meaning that the judge can go outside the Guidelines if they feel that it is warranted based on the facts and circumstances of a particular case, and of course, a particular defendant in that case.
The judges, as far as sentencing goes in Los Angeles, range across the board from very fair/reasonable to more conservative/more harsh, and then of course, there's some judges that kind of fall in the middle of that gambit.
This of course is a person's opinion who's been doing this for 26 years and handled many federal sentencing in the Central District of Los Angeles. I think I have a pretty good feel for what a particular judge's disposition, but you never really know how a judge is going to see a particular case and a particular defendant.
The best you can do is gauge what information in a particular federal criminal case might be beneficial to a particular defendant related to the judge that's going to do the sentencing.
There's a whole host of things that a judge will consider in a federal sentencing in Los Angeles in making their final decision on what a criminal defendant's final sentence will be. One of the things is the probation report. The probation officer will interview the defendant.
Their attorney will likely be present during that interview and the attorney can of course provide any information either in writing or verbally to the probation officer to consider on the defendant's behalf.
The government will do the same and then that particular probation officer will do a post-plea investigation looking into the defendant's background, looking at the police reports and the investigation that was done on the case
They will review the indictment, reviewing the person's criminal record and then they will finally put together a report for the judge and make a recommendation based on that report as to what they think the defendant's sentence should be.
So, that's one big factor that a judge is going to consider in deciding what sentence to give a particular defendant.
Of course, if the report is submitted, the defense receives it, goes over it with their client and sees that the sentence that's being recommended and some of the things being considered are not reasonable or fair.
The defense can object to that report, state the reasons for the objection and the judge can rule on those objections and obviously consider them in deciding exactly how a particular defendant will be sentenced in a federal criminal case. So, that's one big entity that weighs in on a sentencing in a federal case.
Sentencing Position Paper
Another big entity is obviously the government. The federal prosecutors, the Assistant United States Attorneys are going to get to submit a sentencing position paper on a Los Angeles federal criminal case and the judge will consider that.
They're going to have to serve a copy on the probation department. They can respond to it. They'll also serve a copy on the defense and the defense can respond to the government's sentencing position and can either agree with it, can argue against it or can just ignore it and make their own arguments related to the federal criminal sentencing.
Finally, the defense can submit their own packet along with character letters and any argument relevant to the defendant's sentencing and the judge will consider that as well. At the federal sentencing in Los Angeles, both sides will get a chance to orally argue to the judge and finally the defendant will get a chance to say whatever he or she wants and then the judge will decide what the person's sentence will be.
Contact Our Federal Criminal Lawyers for Help
So, there's a lot that goes into a federal sentencing. In my experience, the best thing to do is, not just to say things just to say them, but to say them because they have meaning and they bear on the person's background, what happened with the crime and the defendant's prospects for a future law-abiding successful life.
Those are a lot of the things that the judge is going to look at in general, in addition to what happened to the victim in the case — how much the defendant was involved and really what the impact of what the defendant did in the federal criminal case when deciding what a sentence might be in a Los Angeles criminal court.
So, I have a pretty good background having handled a lot of cases in Los Angeles and I think I can speak pretty accurately about what you're up against and some moves that you can make if you've got a Los Angeles federal criminal case that you're ultimately going to get sentenced on.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436. We are also located at 633 West Fifth Street Los Angeles, CA 90071. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (213) 542-0979.