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 Shot Caller 

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Michael Santos

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Don’t strive to become a shot caller in prison, especially if you’re charged with a white-collar crime.


A person facing charges for a white-collar crime can learn a lot from the Netflix movie called “Shot Caller.”

In that movie, we see how a financial-services executive can have his life turned upside down with a single bad decision. The movie begins with a professional-looking guy enjoying dinner with his wife and another couple. The executive drinks some wine. He doesn’t recognize that the wine put him over the legal limit. He gets in an automobile accident. A person dies. Authorities charge him with manslaughter. Despite feeling as if he wasn’t guilty, he cannot afford the risk of going to trial. He accepts a plea agreement in exchange for a lower sentence.

While trying to adjust to an unusual environment, he makes some bad decisions. Those decisions lead the character into a series of more dangerous dilemmas. Later, he serves a life sentence as a shot caller in prison.

Doctors and Opioids

A headline in the Washington Post prompted us to write this blog.

The article describes a physician that faced charges for opioid distribution. After authorities arrested the physician, they locked him inside a county jail. While inside the county jail, he felt his life spinning out of control. He hated being in confinement and worried about the consequences that would follow. According to the article, he reached out to an acquaintance, saying he would do anything to get out of the problem. Somehow, the conversation led to another criminal scheme. He wanted to intimidate a witness. Presumably, the witness intended to offer evidence against him.

In that unusual environment, the doctor likely was not thinking rationally. He likely wanted out, by any means necessary. In that state of duress, he used extremely poor judgment. According to the article, he schemed to interfere with justice.

The person with whom he schemed, however, had interests of his own. He called law enforcement officers. They launched a sting operation. The doctor then had a meeting with an undercover officer. The officer gathered more evidence, showing that the doctor had bad intentions.

As a result, the doctor has been arrested again. He faces charges that could potentially expose him to consequences that are far more severe.

Make Better Decisions in Custody

To make it through a criminal charge successfully, a person really needs to think about the challenges ahead. Mick Jagger told us that we can’t always get what we want. But if we try sometimes, we just might find, we get what we need.

To get what we need, we should think about the best possible outcome.

No one can change the past. If a person has made bad decisions, the consequences will follow. But it’s never too late, and it’s never too early to start making decisions that will lead to a better outcome. We simply must use all of our critical thinking skills.

What steps can I take today that will lead to a better outcome tomorrow?

If we ask that question, we may succeed on a higher level. We may architect a strategy that will lead us through the tumultuous times of an arrest and a brief period of incarceration. We may find our way to recalibrate and make amends. We must have confidence that we can move forward with our dignity in tact.

If a person makes a decision out of duress, like the shot caller, or the doctor profiled in the article, that person may exacerbate the problem. On the other hand, if a person can truly get an understanding of the challenges ahead, that person can start building a pathway of reconciliation. A person can restore confidence.

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