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Showing posts from January, 2017

Innocent Until Proven Guilty or Guilty Until Proven Innocent

As Americans we are all taught that a fundamental tenant of our criminal justice system is that we are all innocent until proven guilty. Where exactly did this come from? When I told my children, the oldest of whom was 12 at the time, that I was going to be indicted they told me that I have nothing to worry about because I was innocent until proven guilty and that "they" would have to prove, at a trial what they claim I did wrong. Until the writing of this actual entry, I took for granted that this was written somewhere in the constitution. Keep in mind that I did not go to law school!
I was fascinated to find out that this is not a constitutional right. To be sure the Constitution does provide for the right to remain silent, the right to not incriminate oneself and the right to a trial by jury. From my small amount of research, I have been able to surmise that this is an ancientconcept and that the Supreme  Court did rule in 1894 (Coffin Vs US). Without getting into the deta…

How To Lessen Time Spent In Prison - Residential Drug Abuse Program (RDAP). If You Ever Will Consider A Plea, Read This First!

One of the most important questions a defendant who is contemplating a plea must ask is "How much time am I willing to spend in prison?" For some people the answer is five years, for some it's 10 years, for some it is one year and for some it is no time at all. Like most defendants who viewed himself as innocent, my initial position was "not five years, not five months, not five minutes!". However, as time goes by and the realities of the risks associated with a trial become a reality, positions change. This is where the real challenge comes in. The goal is to figure out what the maximum sentence a defendant will allow himself to get in order to reach his maximum tolerance of time inside the prison gates.

Let me just make one point right before I start. Unlike the state prison systems, there is no concept of parole in the federal system Parole is the method by which inmates of State prisons are let out early if they have been "rehabilitated". Unfortun…

Oh No! My Friend Is In Trouble!

Last week, I wrote about how one should handle the exposure he gets embroiled in a criminal probe. This week I will focus on how you should act if you know someone who has been indicted or has been publicly linked to an investigation.

So it seems one of your friends has gotten into a little bit of trouble. You want to be there for him but you do not know what to say. You do not want to ask too many questions but you want to show you are concerned. What do you do?

First, I am going to focus on what NOT to say because it is usually better to say nothing than say something that is completely inappropriate. You would be surprised at the dumb things people have said to me over the years. I am sure they meant well and just did not know better. Just as there is a way to speak to someone who is in mourning or one who is ill, there is a way to speak to someone who has recently become part of the the criminal justice system.

The first thing you should never say is "Wow, I don't know ho…

Handling Your New Found Fame

When I was doing my time, someone commented to me that the only people worth knowing inside a camp are those that show up on the first page of Google. Unfortunately, what can give you "prominence" inside can have the opposite affect when the news hits.

Most targets of federal investigations, will find that the press will decide to become judge, jury and executioner before any actual indictment has been filed. Individuals, who either lived a life of relative obscurity or who were only known only to industry insiders may suddenly be vaulted into unwanted fame. You do not have to go any further than the last month to find individuals who are suddenly famous. Even someone as notorious as Bernie Madoff was only known to industry insiders until 2008, at which point he became a household name. Just think about Bernie Ebbers, Jeff Skilling, Ken Lay and Dennis Kozlowski. To be sure, these were well known individuals in the corporate world but virtually unknown outside of corporate Am…