When grand juries charge defendants with criminal indictments, they should think logically about the totality of their predicament. I knew many people in prison who had their lives ripped apart when they faced criminal charges. They pleaded guilty, received a sentence, and then they began serving time in federal prison. They adjusted. Months or years later, prison officials surprised them with news that they did not welcome. The case manager told the prisoners about a new indictment. They had to endure a second prosecution. Then they embarked upon a new prison sentence that they would serve consecutive to the sentence they were already serving.
The more defendants know about the inner workings of our nation’s criminal justice system, the better prepared they become to make informed decisions about how to respond. As an example, consider the case against the organizer of California Hospice Care, a healthcare company.
Priscilla Villabroza pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud in 2009. She served her sentence inside the minimum-security prison in Victorville, California. According to the BOP’s website, she anticipated release in July of 2015. That’s not going to happen. A couple of weeks ago, she had to appear in court to face charges from a new indictment. That meant a brand new prosecution and a brand new sentence.
Although criminal charges are difficult to face at any time, they are particularly difficult a second time around. That’s why it’s best for defendants to consider the totality of their circumstances. It’s best to communicate openly with a defense attorney. Open up. Share every business decision. Don’t limit the discussion to the current charges. Become completely transparent with the defense attorney so the attorney can properly advise on the best defense strategy to resolve all issues. Some issues may fall outside the scope of the current charges. By revealing everything to the attorney, defendants improve their chances of rising from the abyss to begin building a new life.
Further, defendants should empower themselves by acquiring more knowledge about the life they will lead in the event that a conviction and sentence follows the charges. They should learn how their life will change if they are sentenced to prison. Strategies exist to make the most of a prison experience. By understanding the prison experience, defendants can better contemplate how to prepare. They can prepare family members. They can take affirmative steps to position themselves for a new career upon release. They can establish a deliberate course of action to restore credit, their reputation, and to build a strong support network. Taken together, those steps go a long way toward bringing a sense of fulfillment back to the defendant’s life. They will have clarity on their path to emerge from the experience successfully.
How do I know?