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Prison Professors Articles


Prepare for Sentencing with the Federal Sentencing Guidelines

How Do I Prepare for Sentencing?   Every defendant should learn how judges sentence. In determinate sentencing system, like the federal system, judges rely upon guidelines. Anyone can read about the process. Research the federal sentencing guidelines. The federal sentencing guidelines have two scales. One scale is vertical. The vertical scale runs from a level […]


Character Reference Letters and Their Influence at Sentencing

Thinking through an effective sentencing strategy includes thoughts about the character reference letters. Every defendant has an opportunity to submit character reference letters that may make an impression on the judge. But what makes a good character reference letter for the court? In the fall of 2016, I interviewed Judge Mark Bennett and he spoke […]


How to Prepare For Sentencing

Few defendants know or understand how to prepare for sentencing. That’s understandable. First-time offenders have especially hard times preparing for sentencing. People see others that break the law as criminals. Yet when authorities target them, defendants see things differently. Despite their arrest and conviction, defendants cannot identify with the way that others in the system will perceive […]


Sentence Mitigation Works

Andrew Casperson needed an effective sentence mitigation strategy. Prosecutors accused him of coordinating a $38 million Ponzi scheme. He pleaded guilty to the crime. His victims included family and friends. At sentencing, prosecutors urged the judge to sentence Mr. Caspersen to 188 months, nearly 16 years. Judge Jed Rakoff sentenced him to 48 months, about […]

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