April 2021

April 2021 Cover

What strategy can defense lawyers use to develop an effective sentencing story?


Articles in this Issue

  1. Affiliate News

    What events are NACDL affiliates hosting this month? Find out here.

  2. Cross Country: Many Witnesses, Many Versions: Creating a Multiple-Witness Comparison Chart

    Larry Pozner explains how to create a multiple-witness comparison chart.

  3. Defense Lawyers Can ‘Rewrite’ the Sentencing Guidelines, One Case at a Time

    How can defense counsel obtain a sentence below the range recommended by the Sentencing Guidelines? The common approaches can be enhanced by two things that defense lawyers seldom use: the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s data on actual sentences and precedents “hidden” from standard legal search engines.

  4. Formulating and Presenting Effective Sentencing Arguments When Representing Cooperators

    When representing a cooperator, some defense lawyers tend to cede to the government three critical assessments that must be determined: the value of the information the cooperator provides, the cooperator’s relative worth as compared to others similarly situated, and the extent of the departure due under U.S.S.G. § 5K1.1. The authors describe the pitfalls lawyers should avoid when representing cooperators.

  5. From the President: Gratitude for Being a Criminal Defense Lawyer

    Years ago, there was a chief judge who did not like presiding over bond reconsideration motions. All the men and women who were presumed innocent yet unable to post bond suffered under this chief judge.

  6. Inside NACDL: NACDL’s Effort to Confront the Trial Penalty Gains Momentum

    NYSACDL Report Confirms Near Extinction of Trials in the Empire State

    In March 2021, NACDL and NYSACDL released the trial penalty report. The report defines what practices are encompassed by the trial penalty, identifies the underlying causes, depicts it through profiles of individuals, and proposes concrete reforms to curtail the prevalence of the trial penalty.

  7. NACDL News: NACDL’s Corrections Committee Launches Online Resource

    Tracking the State of Prison and Jail Communications Systems

    NACDL News for April 2021

  8. The ‘3 Rs’ of Sentencing Storytelling

    Defense lawyers tell only three types of sentencing stories. These stories involve Revelation, Relativity, and Redemption. Understanding the “3 Rs” of sentencing storytelling will help the defense craft the strongest mitigation arguments and achieve better results for clients.

  9. The NACDL Q&A: Defending the Rule of Law

    Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Nancy Hollander, and Theresa Duncan talk about Slahi’s detention at Guantánamo and about The Mauritanian, the movie that gives an account of his ordeal.

  10. The Perils of Parole and ‘Program Speak’: Understanding and Managing Culpability Statements

    in Post-Conviction Settings

    During parole board hearings, sometimes a client will use language indicating that he deserved a severe sentence for his crime. Clients learn this language while attending prison programs that subtly teach them to say what the parole board wants to hear. The client may use this language (“program speak”) even though he committed no crime. In doing this, however, the client may foreclose any future possibility of clearing his name. How can a defense lawyer mitigate such statements?