Post Plea or Conviction/Presentence Interview Process
The purpose of this service is to educate the client and to make him/her prepared for the interview, by providing an overview of the Presentence process and interview ideas or suggestions. If handled appropriately, the defendant should be at ease and cooperative during this process.
If the case goes to trial, facts presented at trial or the trial transcript should be reviewed and used to help offset the offense description that may appear in the presentence report. Information concerning your description of the offense and your analysis of the offense and stated base offense guidelines should be presented to the Probation Officer and AUSA well in advance of the sentencing proceeding. It is extremely beneficial that you work out, in advance, any disputed facts with the probation office with the support of the Assistant U. S. Attorney involved in the case.
The significance of the Presentence Interview is often unappreciated. In the case of a conviction by jury or one where there is no written plea agreement, the opposing views as to loss, guideline applications, ex post facto issues, criminal history, departures and variances need to be presented. In all cases, the Government and its case agents will provide detailed information to the Probation Officer. Therefore, defense counsel needs to take an active role in this process as well. This is an opportune time to establish dialogue with the Probation Officer. The interview should be conducted in a manner that is nothing but beneficial to a defendant. Advance preparation on the part of defense counsel is imperative during this process. By providing the Probation Officer with necessary documentations at the time of the interview or in advance of the initial disclosure of the report, further cooperation with the Probation Officer will begin and his or her time will be better spent on examining other areas or issues that may be in dispute. Defense counsel should always be cognizant of the disclosure date of the Presentence Report and ensure that all information is provided to the Probation Officer prior to that date.
This service involves meeting with the defendant to provide the following:
- Detailed explanation of PSR, its purpose, and use
- Knowledge of what questions will be asked
- Suggestions on topics that should not be discussed
- Advanced preparation for personal information that should be gathered and provided at the time of the interview
- Advanced preparation regarding financial forms that are required and their purpose
- An understanding of release forms and their purpose
- The expectation of a home visit and its purpose
- Description of the Presentence timeline, including a detailed explanation of the disclosure process, the filing of objections, and sentencing phase
At times, this service may also include identification of possible sentencing issues, facts in dispute, departures, and variances, prior to the preparation of the Presentence Report, for early discussion with the USPO and inclusion in the Presentence Report.