How do You Advise Your Clients Regarding Sentencing?
Above all, I tell my clients to dress the part when they come to court, especially for sentencing. They don’t have to be in a suit or shirt and tie, but I want them to look presentable and serious to the judge. I have definitely seen people show up to court wearing very casual or even offensive attire, and that’s just telling the judge that the court appearance is not important to them. That’s not going to help at all. It’s also about having respect for the court and the process. If a crime involves any kind of harm or damage to a victim, I want my client to focus on letting the judge and the victim know that they’re remorseful and that they wish it hadn’t happened.
A defendant should be willing to do whatever it takes to make up for that in the eyes of the court, whether it’s completing probation, counseling, paying for things or serving a term of incarceration. The most important thing is authenticity. If I don’t feel like my clients can sincerely do that, then I’ll usually speak on their behalf and not really allow them to add too much. Usually, the most effective way to mitigate the sentence is to have an authentic and sincere presentation by both myself and the client. It is also helpful to have friends or family let the judge know that they take it seriously, they’re sorry and that they want to move forward with their lives and help the victims move forward with their lives.
Additional Information on Sentencing in Arizona
In some cases, especially homicide or even some sex offense cases, we will employ what we call a mitigation specialist, which is someone that does more extensive research in order to create a report for the court. It will explain the psychology, the background, and the circumstances that caused my client to engage in whatever type of behavior we’re dealing with. If it’s more than just a random act or a one-time thing, then we want the court to understand what the client’s been through, how they got to where they are, and what the best method of treatment or punishment may be in preventing recurrence of the crime.
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