We’re proud to include retired federal probation officers on our team of subject matter experts. They can prove exceptionally helpful to a defense team’s mitigation strategy. Below we provide a sample of a comprehensive mitigation report.
Sample Comprehensive Mitigation Report
- Our team includes an expert on the sentencing guidelines. This type of report will help a defense attorney prepare in anticipation of the Presentence Investigation Report. If the probation officer has already prepared the Presentence Investigation Report, a document like the one that follows will help a defense attorney build a stronger case for mitigation. We encourage our clients to consider hiring subject matter experts on our team. The report comes with the signature of a former federal probation officer.
According to the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 3553, the Court shall impose a sentence that is sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to comply with statutory purposes of sentencing, and in determining such sentence, the Court shall consider, inter alia, (1) the nature and circumstances of the offense, and the history and characteristics of John Doe, and (2) the need for the sentence imposed, as set forth in § 3553(a)(2).
In consideration of the sentence that must be imposed in this case, John Doe respectfully requests that the Court consider the following information in mitigation of his sentence:
Sources of Information
- Interviews with John Doe (client) and Johnny Cochran (attorney) via videoconference.
- Interview with F. Lee Bailey (attorney) via telephone.
- Interview with Jane Doe, wife, via telephone
- Interview with Sam Doe, father, via telephone
- Interview with Sabrina Moore, friend, via telephone
- Interview with Wanda Sykes, friend, via telephone
- Interview with Wesley Snipes, childhood friend, via telephone
- Plea Agreement and other case materials for the instant offense
- Presentence Investigation Report dated November 3, 2020
- PACER docket entries for AAA-21-0200 USA v. Bond, et al and AAA-19-0111 USA v. Doe, et al
- WUSA TV-9 news report
Current Posture of John Doe
On January 20, 2020, John Doe appeared virtually in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland located in Greenbelt, Maryland, and pled guilty to Count 1 of the Superseding Criminal Information charging him with Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, in violation of 18 USC § 1956(h).
Mr. Doe has been continuously detained since his arrest on May 8, 2019, and he has not been engaged in any conduct that would jeopardize his acceptance of responsibility in this case.
According to the Presentence Investigation Report, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) lodged a detainer against Mr. Doe on May 8, 2019.
Between on or about May 2017 and June 2017, in the District of Maryland and elsewhere, John Doedid knowingly conspire with James Bond, and Bruce James, to conduct and attempt to conduct a financial transaction affecting interstate and foreign commerce, which involved the proceeds of a specified unlawful activity—to wit, wire fraud in violation of 18 USC § 1343 while knowing that the property involved in the financial transaction represented the proceeds of some form of unlawful activity and knowing that the transactions were designed at least in part to conceal and disguise the nature, source, ownership, and control of the proceeds of said specified unlawful activity, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(B)(I).
Mr. Doe is a national of Cameroon. He arrived in the United States through a student visa. Mr. Doe befriended James Bond, also a national of Cameroon, due to their shared cultural heritage. In 2017, Mr. Bond solicited Mr. Doe’s assistance with cashing checks from Mr. James.
Specifically, Mr. Doe assisted with attempted negotiation of nine checks with an aggregate value of well over $550,000. The checks were tendered by Mr. James and were the proceeds of a business email compromise scheme which constituted wire fraud. Essentially Mr. James and his confederates captured the payments of legitimate business transactions and diverted those funds for his use. Mr. James traveled to Houston, Texas, where he met with Mr. Bond and Mr. Doe and supervised the cashing of checks made out to business entities created for the purpose of laundering funds. When the tendered checks were cashed, Mr. James received the lion’s share of the proceeds. Four of the nine checks were successfully cashed and resulted in a total of $320,500 of the stolen funds being “laundered.” A tenth check in the amount of $39,486 was prepared by other members of the conspiracy but never presented by Mr. Doe or any other member of the conspiracy to his knowledge. For Mr. Doe’s efforts, he received approximately $7,000.00.
Mr. Doe was not made aware of the source of Mr. James’s funds. He was told that Mr. James was involved in the music business and vehicle export. Mr. Doe was skeptical of this information and repeatedly asked about the legitimacy of the checks and was primarily concerned if they were drawn upon actual accounts. When Mr. Doe determined the cashier checks were legitimate, he then asked where such significant sums of money were coming from. Mr. Doe was ultimately told “It’s better for you, if you don’t know.” He desisted. While he was not specifically aware of the funds’ origins, Mr. Doe was thereafter on notice that the source of the funds was not legitimate to the extent necessary to be guilty of money laundering.
Mr. Doe played no role in the business compromise scheme by which the funds were stolen and did not to his memory meaningfully interact with any members of the wire fraud conspiracy beyond Mr. James.
James Bond, Dkt. No.: AAA-21-0100-002: On October 16, 2020, Bond pled guilty to Count 1 of the Superseding Criminal Information charging him with Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, in violation of 18 USC § 1956(h). On January 19, 2021, Bond was sentenced to 46 months imprisonment.
Bruce James, Dkt. No.: AAA-21-0200-001: On May 11, 2018, James pled guilty to two counts of the Superseding Criminal Indictment charging him with Count 1: Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, in violation of 18 USC § 1349 and Count 2: Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, in violation of 18 USC § 1956(h). This case is awaiting further action by the Court.
Samuel Adams, Dkt. No.: AAA-21-0200-002: On January 4, 2019, Adams pled guilty to two counts of the Superseding Criminal Indictment charging him with Count 1: Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, in violation of 18 USC § 1349 and Count 2: Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, in violation of 18 USC § 1956(h). On April 1, 2019, Adams was sentenced to 84 months imprisonment.
Greg Martin, Dkt. No.: AAA-21-0200-003: On July 14, 2018, Martin pled guilty to Count 2 of the Superseding Criminal Indictment charging him with Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, in violation of 18 USC § 1956(h). On January 3, 2019, Martin was sentenced to 57 months incarceration.
Milton Gross, Dkt. No.: AAA-21-0200-004: On September 14, 2018, Gross pled guilty to Count 2 of the Superseding Criminal Indictment charging him with Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, in violation of 18 USC § 1956(h). On January 4, 2019, Gross was sentenced to 1 day imprisonment.
Tim Smith, Dkt. No.: AAA-21-0200-005: On March 15, 2019, Smith pled guilty to a one count Superseding Criminal Information charging her with Count 1: Conducting an Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business, in violation of 18 USC § 1960. On May 28, 2019, Smith was sentenced to 11 months imprisonment.
Charlie Chan, Dkt. No.: AAA-21-0200-006: On August 26, 2018, Chan pled guilty to Count 2 of the Superseding Criminal Indictment charging him with Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, in violation of 18 USC § 1956(h). On January 11, 2019, Chan was sentenced to 48 months imprisonment.
Count 1: Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering (18 USC § 1956(h) – Not more than 20 years incarceration, not more than three (3) years supervised release, and a fine of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater.
Impact of the Plea Agreement
There is no written plea agreement in this case.
Pursuant to Appendix A of the United States Sentencing Manual, for offenses in violation of 18 USC § 1956, the applicable guideline is found under USSG §2S1.1 – Laundering of Monetary Instruments: Engaging in Monetary Transactions in Property Derived from Unlawful Activity.
The Government and the United States Probation Officer believe that the base offense level is determined by applying USSG §2S1.1(a)(1). For this guideline to be applicable, Mr. Doe must have committed the underlying offense (wire fraud) or be accountable for the underlying offense under USSG §1B1.3(a)(1)(A) – Relevant Conduct. This guideline defines relevant conduct as all acts and omissions committed, aided, abetted, counseled, commanded, induced, procured, or willfully caused by the defendant.
In this case, the criminally derived funds were obtained by wire fraud through Business Email Compromise (BEC) schemes and drop accounts organized and controlled by James, Adams, Chan, Martin, and others. There is no evidence Mr. Doe engaged in wire fraud or had any involvement in the execution of the BEC schemes, setting up the drop accounts, or transferring money in or out of the drop accounts. Pursuant to USSG §2S1.1, Application Note # 2, “the fact that the defendant was involved in laundering criminally derived funds after the commission of the underlying offense, without additional involvement in the underlying offense,
does not establish that the defendant committed, aided, abetted, counseled, commanded, induced, procured, or willfully caused the underlying offense.”
Since Mr. Doe did not commit the underlying offense of wire fraud and not accountable for wire fraud based on relevant conduct, the base offense level is eight (8) plus the number of offense levels corresponding to the value of the laundered funds, pursuant to USSG §2S1.1(a)(2). In this case, the value of the laundered funds attributable to Mr. Doe are more than $550,000 but less than $1,500,000. This results in fourteen (14) offense levels being added, pursuant to USSG §2B1.1(b)(1)(H), and a base offense level of 22, pursuant to USSG §2S1.1(a)(2).
Since the offense of conviction is an offense under 18 USC §1956(h), the offense level is increased by two (2) levels, pursuant to USSG §2S1.1(b)(2)(B).
Due to Mr. Doe recruiting individuals to register fictitious business entities in which to launder the criminally derived funds, his offense conduct involved sophisticated laundering. Therefore, the offense level is increased by two (2) levels, pursuant to USSG §2S1.1(b)(3).
Mr. Doe was recruited into this conspiracy by Bond, and he only participated for approximately two months in the cashing of cashier checks which resulted in an actual loss amount of at least $320,500 (Doe’s position) to not more than $929,486 (the Government’s position) to Victims A, B, C, D, and E. Even if the Government’s loss amount is correct, Mr. Doe was a minor participant in this conspiracy just like Greg Martin and Charlie Chan. Mr. Doe was responsible for recruiting individuals to set up fictitious business entities. Pursuant to their plea agreements, Martin and Chan were both given a -2-level downward adjustment for minor role even though their offense conduct involved wire fraud and money laundering and resulted in loss amounts of several millions of dollars ($6,292,830 and $3,310,670, respectively). Mr. Doe’s role was lesser than Martin’s and Chan’s and warrants the application of a minor role adjustment, pursuant to USSG §3B1.2(b).
Additionally, Mr. Doe has fully accepted responsibility of actions in this conspiracy in a timely manner and saved the Government from having to prepare for trial. Therefore, we believe a -3-level downward adjustment pursuant to USSG §3E.1(a) & (b) is warranted.
Based on the adjusted offense level and downward adjustments for Role and Acceptance of Responsibility, we believe Mr. Doe’s total offense level is 21.
The United States Probation & Pretrial Services Office completed a Presentence Investigation Report in this case on November 30, 2020, and determined Mr. Doe did not have any prior arrests nor convictions. This resulted in a total criminal history score of zero (0). A criminal history score of zero (0) establishes a Criminal History Category of I.
We thoroughly reviewed the Presentence Investigation Report and did not find any calculation errors that would negatively impact the client’s criminal history score or Criminal History Category.
Based on a total offense level of 21 and a Criminal History Category of I, the applicable advisory guidelines range is 37-46 months.
Applying the Factors of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) to John Doe
John Doe’s History and Characteristics
The following information regarding John Doe’s history and characteristics is offered as a supplement to the presentence investigation report conducted by the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services Office.
John Doe was born on March 29, 1985, in Buea, Cameroon, from a relationship between Sam Doe and Betty Crocker. Mr. Doe’s parents never married. According to John, he was raised by his mother and maternal grandparents until he was approximately five years old. His mother returned to school to continue her education, and he went to live with his father and stepmother, Doris Doe.
John stated he does not have a close relationship with his mother due to only seeing her approximately twice a year while he was growing up. As an adult and while living in Cameroon, Mr. Doe reported he would see his mother approximately five times a year.
From his father’s marriage, Mr. Doe reported he has five half-brothers, Allen (age 27), Boris (age 25), Collins (age 22), Baron (age 13), and Nathan (age 10) Doe. According to John, he has a close relationship with his younger half-brothers.
From other relationships by his mother, Mr. Doe reported he has three half-siblings, Maurice (age 23), Paula (age 17), and Canadou (age 15) Crocker.
Due to his father often being away from home for work, Mr. Doe stated he spent a great deal of time with his stepmother. At times, John felt that his stepmother treated him unfairly and was physically and mentally abusive whenever his father was out of the country. However, Mr. Doe reported his father handled this issue with his wife once John made him aware of the situation and things improved. Otherwise, Mr. Doe reported he had a good childhood, and he enjoys a close relationship with his father and stepmother.
From the approximate age of ten until he graduated from high school at the age of 17, Mr. Doe reported he attended boarding school, whereas he would be away at school for eight months of the year and return home the other four months for school recess and holidays.
Upon completion of college in Cameroon, John stated he relocated to the United States in 2016 on a student visa to continue his education in the Edmond, Oklahoma area.
In Oklahoma, Mr. Doe attended two schools for a semester each. However, he withdrew from school due to a lack of interest in the course of study and financial difficulties. According to John, he was not supported by his father financially when he came to the United States, and he struggled to pay for school and earn money to support himself.
After living in Oklahoma for almost a year, Mr. Doe was convinced by a friend to move to Houston, Texas, for better occupational opportunities.
While living in Houston, Mr. Doe met his wife, Jane Doe (age 32) in or about 2017. The couple dated for several months and married on August 29, 2017 (see attached copy of marriage certificate). Due to Mrs. Doe being a soldier (Sergeant, E-5) in the United States Army and being stationed at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, and John residing three hours away in Houston, Texas, the couple lived separately during the week and took turns visiting each other on the weekends.
According to Mrs. Doe, she and her husband decided to have children, and they conceived a child in or about December 2018.
However, a dark cloud came over the couple when Mr. Doe was arrested and detained for this instant offense in May 2019.
Mrs. Doe advised her family resides in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and she did not have any family in Texas, except her husband. Due to the stress of John being incarcerated in Maryland and the thought of raising a child alone, Mrs. Doe stated she had pregnancy complications and had to be placed on bed rest after six months due to going into preterm labor. On September 21, 2019, the couples’ daughter, Mia Doe (age 1), was born. Mrs. Doe reported her daughter’s lungs were not fully developed at birth, and she was placed in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for three days. Additionally, Mia has been diagnosed to be suffering from Bell’s Palsy and scheduled for testing to determine if she has been having mini seizures.
In August 2020, Mrs. Doe was transferred to a military duty station in Hawaii, and Mia resides with her. Due to his daughter’s birth occurring after he was detained for this instant offense, John has never Mia in person.
Due to being a single parent, Mrs. Doe stated she was required to find someone to act as proxy parent to retain her job in the military. Luckily, a woman Mrs. Doe knew from Fort Hood was now residing in Hawaii nearby, and she agreed to serve as a proxy parent. While Mrs. Doe is at work during a normal workday, Mia goes to daycare at a cost of $1,200 a month. When Mrs. Doe is required to be away from home for training or must work in the evenings or nights, Mia stays with the proxy parent who is also compensated for her childcare services. According to Mrs. Doe, this additional childcare expense costs her approximately $200-$400 a month.
Due to the demands of her occupation in the military and the needs of their daughter, Mrs. Doe is seriously contemplating not reenlisting when her current commitment is completed. Without her husband’s physical presence and financial support, Mrs. Doe emphatically stated that she is struggling to take care of their daughter and household and to keep herself mentally sound. In fact, she is considering going to therapy with a counselor through the military’s behavioral health services but has not yet scheduled an appointment.
Although she has never met her husband’s family, Mrs. Doe reported she has been in communication with John’s father. Since her husband’s family resides in Cameroon, they can physically assist her in the care of Mia. Also, Mrs. Doe admitted she has been too prideful to ask her husband’s family for financial assistance.
Substance Abuse and Treatment
John reported he is a social consumer of alcohol, and he has never used any illegal controlled substances nor abused any prescription medications. Also, he has never had nor needed treatment for substance abuse.
Mr. Doe stated he was mentally and physically abused by his stepmother as a child when his father was away from work. However, this abuse stopped once his father was made aware of his wife’s behavior towards John. John reported he is not suffering from any known mental illness, and he has never received any mental health counseling or treatment. However, Mr. Doe stated he has often suffered from depression since being detained for this instant offense, and he is receptive to receiving counseling.
When he was arrested for this instant offense, Mr. Doe was self-employed as the owner/operator of a small trucking company, Pelican Freight, and as a personal trainer with clientele that included a professional basketball players.
Additionally, John has previously worked as an Uber driver, Walmart personal shopper, and a freelance computer database contractor.
After completing secondary school (high school) in Cameroon, Mr. Doe reported he went to the University of Buea located in Buea, Cameroon, and obtained the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in law in 2012.
After earning his degree, John stated he took classes in web design at a professional school in Cameroon but stopped attending due relocating to the United States in 2016.
In the United States, Mr. Doe reported he pursued a master’s degree in public administration at the University of Central Oklahoma located in Edmond, Oklahoma, for one semester. According to John, he lost interest in the program and withdrew from school.
The following semester, Mr. Doe stated he took classes in cyber security at the Oklahoma City Community College located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Due to difficulty financing his education and maintaining room and board, John reported he was unable to continue his education for more than one semester.
As indicated by the letters of support written by his family and friends, Mr. Doe has strong community ties and several individuals, in addition to his wife, who are willing to assist in his transition back into society. Should John be deported back to Cameroon, his father stands ready to welcome his son into his home, protect John to the best of his ability from the unrest that has fallen upon Cameroon, and provide for John until he is able to take care of himself.
The Nature and Circumstances of the Offense
There are least four factors in mitigation of the nature and circumstances of the offense that may be pertinent to the provisions of USSG §1B1.4 – Information to Be Used in Imposing Sentence (Selecting a Point within the Guideline Range or Departing from the Guidelines). Although these considerations do not challenge the propriety of the guilty plea and finding of guilt by the Court, they are relevant to the nature and circumstances of the offense.
Mr. Doe is a citizen of Cameroon and is reportedly from the Anglophone region. Since late 2016, Cameroon has been involved in a civil war as “separatists seek independence for the country’s minority Anglophone regions.” (Human Rights Watch) Violence has displaced tens of thousands of people as the government’s security forces have responded to the separatists’ attacks. In addition, attacks and raids by the Islamic armed group, Boko Haram, have increased in the Far North Region of Cameroon.
According to Mr. Doe, he became politically involved in the Anglophone separatist movement while in college in his native country. Although he did not serve in a leadership capacity, Mr. Doe stated he participated in protests and donated financially to the cause, even after he relocated to the United States.
Mr. Doe and his father, Sam Doe, acknowledged John would likely be jailed and tortured should he be deported to Cameroon due to his political beliefs.
In a December 2020 article, “US: Protect Cameroonians From Deportation,” the Human Rights Watch organization urged the United States government to “suspend deportations to Cameroon because of the serious threats Cameroonians face to their lives and freedom upon return. In addition to a generalized risk of serious harm because of the violence in the Far North, North-West, and South-West regions, deportees to Cameroon also face a risk of torture and ill-treatment because of their real or imputed opposition to the government.”
Additionally, it reported by the Human Rights Watch organization in the same article that “Anglophones deported to Cameroon face a serious risk of abuse by government security forces because they may be assumed to have links to separatists, or from the separatists themselves. Torture is common in official and unofficial detention centers, including military bases, where many people are being held incommunicado.”
Although human rights organizations, lawyers, and a Democratic U.S. senator have asked the U.S. government to suspend deportations to Cameroon due to the United States finding in 2019 “that the Cameroon government engages in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights,” (Borger, November 2020) the deportations have not stopped.
Although Mr. Doe plans to seek political asylum and has been in contact with legal representation, his conviction in this instant offense complicates matters tremendously.
In United States v. Thavaraja, 740 F.3rd 253 (2nd Cir. 2014), the Court ruled that “a district court may take into account the uncertainties presented by the prospect of removal proceedings and the impact deportation will have on the defendant and his family” to impose a variance sentence.
Secondly, it is respectfully asked that the Court consider a variance sentence in this case due to Mr. Doe’s extraordinary family situation and the harsh effect a lengthy term of imprisonment will have on his wife and daughter. John’s wife, Jane Doe, currently serves in the United States Army, and is being required to make a choice between her career and her raising her daughter after being advised that being a “single parent” is not a valid reason to be excused from her military obligations. Being a single parent is tough enough, but when
faced with the reality of losing your career and source of income with limited prospects for employment as a civilian, Mrs. Doe is at her wits end and struggling to keep going. She does not have any immediate family members who are able to relocate to Hawaii to help her, and she desperately needs Mr. Doe’s physical presence and financial support. Additionally, their daughter has health issues that have not yet been fully diagnosed and will require extensive testing and the constant presence of a parent.
In United States v. Bortnick, 2006 WL 680544 (E.D. Pa., 2006)(unpublished), the Court imposed a below guideline sentence due to the defendant’s son being born with a severe handicap that needed attention and financial support. The Court felt that the defendant’s contribution to the care of his son and his family’s financial circumstances were crucial. Also, “the victims of the offense are better served by a sentence involving a shorter period of incarceration. The defendant owes a substantial amount of restitution, which he will be able to pay more easily if he is not subject to a lengthy incarceration period.”
We believe Mr. Doe’s family situation closely resembles the circumstances for the defendant in Bortnick and warrants the Court’s consideration for a variance sentence that would allow Mr. Doe to care for his dependent child that he has never held before.
Thirdly, Mr. Doe has never been arrested, and this is his first time being incarcerated. Being imprisoned has made a huge impact upon John, and he is extremely remorseful for his involvement in this conspiracy. The Courts have found that prison time is more significant for first offenders. “Generally, a lesser period of imprisonment is required to deter a defendant not previously subject to a lengthy incarceration than is necessary to deter a defendant who has already served some serious time yet continues to reoffend,” United States v. McGee, 479 F. Supp.2d 910 (E.D. Wisc. 2007). Thus, a below guideline sentence would be more just for this first offender. Lastly, Mr. Doe contracted tuberculosis while detained. Although he has since recovered, there is likely damage to John’s lungs from this serious disease. Due to being in a weakened state and still confined in an environment that is conducive to the spread of infectious diseases, Mr. Doe is also a high risk to contract Covid-19. Given the gravity of the harm that could occur if he were to contract this disease, a sentence imprisonment below the advisory guidelines range would be beneficial in lessening Mr. Doe’s risk to exposure.
The Need for the Sentence Imposed to reflect the Seriousness of the Offense, to Promote Respect for the Law, and to Provide Just Punishment for the Offense
As shown below in the organizational chart for the known members of this conspiracy to have been indicted, we believe Mr. Doe’s offense conduct is lesser than the conduct of James Bond but greater than Tim Smith’s conduct.
Mr. Bond befriend Mr. Doe and recruited him into this conspiracy. Based on the guideline calculations presented in Mr. Bond’s plea agreement by the Government, Bond not only engaged in the money laundering conspiracy but was also involved in the wire fraud from which the laundered funds originated. Thus, Bond’s culpability in this case is higher than Mr. Doe’s culpability. Although Mr. Doe and Bond are allegedly responsible for the same amount of intended loss for Victims A, B, C, D, and E, there is no evidence that Mr. Doe was involved in the wire fraud. Mr. Doe only participated in the money laundering conspiracy for approximately two months. Therefore, Mr. Doe’s involvement is lower than Bond’s involvement.
Also, the Government stipulates in Mr. Bond’s plea agreement that he, Mr. Doe, and Individual 2 received approximately 10% from the cashier checks ($834,986) that were cashed as payment for their roles in the money laundering conspiracy. Although it is Mr. Doe’s position that he only received approximately $7,000 for his involvement in this conspiracy, assuming $83,499 was divided evenly between three individuals, this would result in each person receiving $27,833. This payment amount is slightly higher that the amount of $20,000 that Tim Smith received as payment for her role in this conspiracy, and she was sentenced to 11 months incarceration.
In fashioning a just punishment for Mr. Doe, we believe a sentence that is lower than Bond’s sentence of 46 months but higher than Smith’s 11 months would reflect the seriousness of the offense, promote respect for the law, and provide just punishment for the offense based on Mr. Doe’s involvement in this conspiracy.
The Need for the Sentence Imposed to Afford Adequate Deterrence to Criminal Conduct
Today, news is broadcasted almost instantaneous to everyone and everywhere. The public in general and those individuals willing to engage in illegal criminal activity have become well aware of the risk of being incarcerated for a substantial amount of time if they commit a crime similar to the ones committed by Mr. Doe. In fact, the United States Attorney’s Office widely broadcasted news of the arrests, indictments, and convictions of the codefendant and related cases that was televised and included in local media.
If the client had been a leader or supervisor of this far-reaching conspiracy, a sentence at the high end of the applicable guidelines range may have been warranted for deterrence. However, when John Doe’s conduct is compared to others, he is at the lower end of the culpability spectrum, and a lengthy sentence is not necessary.
The Need for the Sentence Imposed to Protect from Further Crimes by John Doe
This instant offense is not only Mr. Doe’s first conviction, but it is his first arrest for any criminal offense. According to the presentence investigation report, John has not even been arrested for a traffic offense.
In the United States Sentencing Commission’s Report, “Recidivism and the First Offender” (May 2004), “the analysis [of empirical data on re-offending] delineates recidivism risk for offenders with minimal prior criminal history and shows that the risk is lowest for offenders with the least experience in the criminal justice system. Offenders with zero criminal history points have lower recidivism rates than offenders with one or more criminal history points. Even among offenders with zero criminal history points, offenders who have never been arrested have the lowest recidivism risk of all.”
Additionally, Mr. Doe is college educated, has maintained steady employment, and has the support from his family and friends. These characteristics put John at an extremely low risk of recidivism. Studies have shown that “the better family ties are maintained, the lower the recidivism rate.” (Phllis J. Newton, 1995)
Based on empirical data by the Sentencing Commission and the fact that Mr. Doe enjoys strong family ties, the likelihood of John reoffending is minimal, and there is little need for the Court to impose a lengthy sentence to protect the community.
To Provide John Doe with Needed Educational or Vocational Training, Medical Care, or Other Correctional Treatment in the Most Effective Manner
Mr. Doe earned the equivalence of a bachelor’s degree while living in Cameroon and has experience as an entrepreneur in starting his own businesses. Also, John does not have any substance abuse issues that need to be addressed. Although he may be suffering from depression from being incarcerated and away from his family, Mr. Doe is receptive to counseling and facing this problem in his life. Therefore, the sentence imposed by the Court only needs to address John receiving mental health care while he is incarcerated.
The Need to Avoid Unwarranted Sentence Disparities Among Defendants with Similar Records Who Have Been Found Guilty of Similar Conduct
One of the most difficult and relevant factors this Court must consider is the need to avoid unwarranted sentencing disparities.
According to the United States Sentencing Commission’s statistics for Fiscal Year 2019, the national mean sentence length for money offenses was 61 months imprisonment and the median sentence length was 33 months imprisonment. For the Fourth Circuit specifically, the mean sentence length was 68 months imprisonment, and the median sentence length was 37 months imprisonment.
Thus, a guideline sentence of 37 months in John Doe’s case would be in-line with the median sentences imposed for similarly situated defendants not only nationally but also within the Fourth Circuit.
The Need to Provide Restitution to the Victim(s)
According to information from the Government, Victims A, B, C, D, and E suffered actual losses in this conspiracy because of Mr. Doe’s offense conduct.
It is Mr. Doe’s position that the amount of loss attributable to him is $320,500.00. However, the Government contends the amount of loss attributable to Mr. Doe is $929,486.00.
The Court will have to settle this issue and decide as to the appropriate amount of restitution owed by Mr. Doe.
In consideration of the forgoing discussion and analysis, we believe there is ample evidence in mitigation to allow the Court to impose a variance sentence below the advisory guidelines range of 37-46 months.
We have attempted to fully address the factors in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) that the Court must consider. John Doe respectfully requests that the Court utilizes this information to satisfy its mission to impose a sentence that is sufficient, but not greater than necessary under the circumstances of this case.
The forgoing comprehensive sentencing mitigation report has been prepared on behalf of John Doe at the request of his Defense Counsel, Johnny Cochran, and is submitted in support of sentencing on March 25, 2021, before the Honorable Amos Anderson, United States District Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Southern Division.
Signed by a former federal probation officer
Report completed: February 6, 2021
Phyllis J. Newton, Jill Glazer, & Kevin Blackwell, “Gender, Individuality, and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines,” 8 Fed. Sentencing Rep. 148 (1995)