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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 136367 Find in a Library
Title: Defense Practice Under the Bail Reform Acts and the Sentencing Guidelines -- A Shifting Focus
Journal: Federal Probation  Volume:55  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1991)  Pages:38-44
Author(s): D J Sears
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America

NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: With the implementation of revised bail provisions and Federal sentencing guidelines arising out of the 1984 Comprehensive Crime Control Act, criminal defense practice has undergone significant changes. Perfecting sentencing issues for appeal requires informed treatment from the inception of defense preparation.
Abstract: One of the most critical issues to be addressed by defense counsel under the new release and sentencing schemes is whether the accused is going to cooperate with authorities in prosecuting others, including relatives and close friends. Particularly in drug cases, prospective cooperation must be considered at a very early stage and may necessarily temper the zeal of defense pursuits and tactical considerations. Moreover, because release and sentence concessions may be extended to only a select few in a multidefendant case, defense counsel may feel compelled to beat his or her colleagues into cutting a deal. Thus, overall case evaluation related to pretrial release, prospects for acquittal or reduced charges, applicable sentencing factors, and likelihood of postconviction detention must be weighed at the earliest possible moment. Unless prospects for an acquittal are quite substantial, pretrial detention and the prospective application of sentencing guidelines may propel the defense toward early consideration of a plea disposition. Although defense counsel may urge the deletion of certain aggravating sentencing factors, the prosecutor holds veto authority as to whether such facts will be brought to the court's attention. Further, defense counsel must be cognizant of how trial evidence may impact sentencing factors. Preparation for sentencing proceedings is discussed as well as defendant release pending appeal. 39 footnotes
Main Term(s): Bail reform; Defense counsel effectiveness; Sentencing guidelines
Index Term(s): Appeal procedures; Plea negotiations
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