WESTERN CENTER FOR DEFENSE ADVOCACY
From Mountains to rocks, Rocks to pebbles, Pebbles to grains of sand...….
From Mountains to rocks, Rocks to pebbles, Pebbles to grains of sand...….
Wiggins vs. Smith – “Investigations into mitigating evidence should comprise efforts to discover all reasonable available mitigating evidence and evidence to rebut any aggravating evidence that may be introduced by the prosecutor.” Justice Sandra D. O’Connor, Wiggins v. Smith (2003).
We prepare mitigation arguments and sentencing memoranda raising characteristics identified through our investigation which are sanctioned under 3553 guidelines as grounds for a lower sentence through departure.
In my role as a Mitigation Specialists I work with Defense Counsel, to manifest the most accurate pre-sentencing Report as well as interpret the complexities of the sentencing guidelines..I
We assist counsel with Objections to the presentence report, and we also assist defense attorneys in preparing case strategies prior to plea negotiations and/plea agreements.
Because Mitigation in the beginning stages of the proceedings is still a niche industry, the majority of defense attorneys don’t realize that mitigation reports in anticipation of sentencing can be a vital part of sentencing. Federal cases address the statutory sentencing factors enumerated in §3553(a). Presentation of artful expositions of mitigating factors in a client’s personal profile or offense conduct; challenges to the assumptions underlying the guidelines as applied to a particular client; articulating how the statutory objectives of sentencing would be achieved by a non-guidelines sentence; and helping the District Court frame a non-frivolous rationale for leniency.
More than 95% of all federal criminal cases end in conviction. Sentencing is often the most critical phase for the defendant. Prior to 2005, federal judges were bound by mandatory sentencing guidelines that severely limited their ability to deviate from the guidelines based on factors and circumstances specific to the defendant. This all changed in 2005 with U.S. v Booker, in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the sentencing guidelines are advisory only, not mandatory.
For purposes of sentencing, federal judges must "impose a sentence sufficient, but not greater than necessary..." In addition to taking into account sentencing factors such as affording adequate deterrence, providing restitution to victims, and other policy concerns, federal judges must consider the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant. There is no limitation "on the information concerning the background, character, and conduct of a person convicted of an offense which a court may receive and consider for the purpose of imposing an appropriate sentence." Therefore, defendants who present compelling information to the court that may mitigate -or make less severe- the sentence handed down are greatly advantaged over those who do not.
Thorough preparation for sentencing is necessary if you want to increase your chances of receiving a "reasonable" sentence.
Please consider these facts;
Ninety-three percent of all federal cases result in a guilty plea,
Seventy-five percent of all Criminal Defendants who proceed to trial are convicted, Ninety-seven percent of criminal defendants, eighty-two percent of federal criminal defendants who are sentenced receive a prison term.
With those odds, shouldn’t you have a sentencing specialist on your team?
Contact u firstname.lastname@example.org
We offer pre-incarceration preparation for the individual who is facing the prospect of going to federal prison. Each of our consultants in this area base their consultations on their own personal experience within the justice system. They have a combined total of 20 years’ experience within male and female facilities, white collar and drug offenses.
We do not use scare tactics, or promise access to programs which you may or may not qualify for. We simply impart factual information regarding the availability of programs to assist you in making the transition and navigating the system once inside.
We are aware that this can be a very traumatic time for you and your family. There may be many questions that require someone with the experience and back ground to answer.
Our consultants, are male and female who have served years, not months in federal bureau of prison facilities. We have kept abreast with changes in the law, administrative procedures, sentencing guidelines and BOP Programs, such as the Second Chance Act, which allows for an increase in halfway house time up to one year.
We also provide last minute pleading preparation services after counsel has left the case once sentencings proceedings have concluded.
Assistance initiating the appellate process; motion for extension of time to surrender; motion for the return of property;
And also or other types of post-conviction motions prior to entering the system.
Teleconferencing is available and is the preferred method of communication, since our clients are nationwide. To set up an appointment for a consultation, contact us email@example.com
Our expertise is in providing experienced litigation support services to those seeking relief from sentences imposed in the federal arena. We provide analysis, technical consulting, research assistance, and document preparation for licensed legal counsel and their clients who have been convicted in criminal legal proceedings and are seeking redress such as motions under 28 USC Section 2255, Motion to Vacate, 3582 pursuant to a retroactive change in the law or other forms of relief to lessen the impact of the federal sentencing guidelines on the term the court imposed.
Our team of professionals provides specialized services after sentencing and conclusion of the direct appeal, another crucial stage of criminal proceedings.
We also provide litigation support services to individuals directly who plan to proceed pro se in seeking redress.If you or a loved one has been convicted after facing proceedings in the federal criminal justice system, and are looking at a term of imprisonment. You may be interested in pursuing avenues of relief through post-sentencing mitigation.
If you are in need of someone with a wide range of capabilities and depth of insight into comprehension of the federal sentencing guidelines and how they may be used in a manner that may assist you in obtaining a reduction of your sentence. We are specialists in post-conviction mitigation and understand the impact of receiving a sentence under the federal sentencing guidelines upon your life and the lives of those of your family members.
While you are preparing yourself, family and or friends to face the trauma of your going to prison, or if you have someone who is incarcerated, you should consider obtaining a review of your imposed term of incarceration to determine whether or not are any avenues of redress open to you, I am sure you will find this information of interest.
We have provided assistance individuals going pro se and through counsel in the field of post-conviction for a combined fifty years now, and have spent most of our consulting careers enabling clients to access The services they need.
We meet every response for assistance with three important aspects, professionalism, empathy and integrity.
Post Sentencing Mitigation can extend to cases in which a guilty plea was entered, as well as those in which a jury found the accused guilty of a crime. Whether a case was related to felony or misdemeanor charges in state or federal court, knows how and where to look for possible relief. We have handled countless cases involving almost every type of offense, although we specialize in white collar offenses.
We carefully examine all records and documents, including the trial transcript, looking for judicial mistakes, questions that remain unanswered, misinformation from counsel of record initially.
We have immediate, 24 hours per day, access to the computer records of all the federal courts in the United States. We also have immediate, 24 hours per day, access to all federal statutes and court rules as well as all federal and state case law within hours of the court decisions.
We determine whether or not the possibility of relief exists in your case by performing an initial review and analysis of your sentence based on court documents upon request.
We are specialists in federal sentencing guidelines, restitution, forfeiture and downward departures. Our teams of professionals have firsthand experience dealing with the Criminal Justice System and stand ready to assist whether at sentencing, pre incarceration preparation or post conviction mitigation we can assist you.
will prepare a 2255 motion, second or successive 2255, certificate of appealability, writ of certiorari, 2241 petition or pro se direct appeal for you to file.
review, what you have prepared or had prepared by retained counsel or "jail-house lawyer" and offer a concurrence or offer advice for correction or changes.
research specific arguments for you upon your request, or recommend certain arguments as possibilities for post conviction remedy review your case for errors and identify the type, be it plain, harmless or structural error.
We will also tell you of the dangers of wasting your first filing right to a 2255 on a frivolous issue, for the standards for a second or successive are almost insurmountable, so be cautious with your first filing. Please remember, no one can properly prepare your Motion under 28 U.S.C. Section 2255 without benefit of reviewing your Pre-sentence Report-Objections to PSR-Plea Agreement-Judgment and Commitment and preferably, your Sentencing Transcripts. If you need services to research any particular issue or area of law, please contact someone who has been where you sit, understand and empathize with you.
Many of our staff have walked a mile in your shoes and will attempt to provide the services you need in a most thorough and professional manner. We thoroughly review your documents to identify every issue ripe for redress.
We will thoroughly research each issue identified, upon drafting your motion, we spend a great deal of time, presenting case law in your circuit or a sister circuit to substantiate each issue raised, and present these issues in the appropriate habeas petition.
After the initial filings, we will review your case, at whatever stage of the legal proceeding, and prepare an analysis of what action, if any may be taken from that point. We will prepare replies to the government's response to your motions and walk with you each strep of the way through the proceedings so that you will never feel abandoned or left on your own to find a resolution.
Contact us today for a consultation firstname.lastname@example.org
"Too many people go to too many prisons for far too long for no good law enforcement reason We need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, deter, and rehabilitate-not
merely to warehouse and forget. Attorney General Eric Holder, August 2013.
WECDA hosts a Federal Clemency Clinic, where we continue to assist incarcerated individuals with gathering documents and preparing for sentence Reduction through the Executive Clemency.
We assist by providing templates of letters of support to families and friends who wish to express their support for the applicant. In addition to the Sentence Reductions through the Executive Clemency process, we also utilize the procedure for application of Mitigation and Remission of Restitution and Fines.
Applications for Pardons are not sought as often as Clemency; however, we do assist with the preparation and presentation of these as well.
WECDA is proud to be a member of the Immigration Action Network.
We assists Detainees in federal custody who are serving a term and have an Immigration matter pending as well.
At some point while serving their sentence they may be served with a” Notice to appear” Detainer from Immigration.
Upon contacting us, we make all forms and information available to them as well as advising them of the options available.
We help determine if the Detainee is eligible for Asylum, or primarily, the U Visa. Because the individual is incarcerated, the forms and other qualifying information may be beyond their reach.
We determine whether a case for the U Visa exists, send forms to the appropriate law enforcement agency, and provide the detainee with any additional materials to comprise the package needed to establish their case to remain in the United States.
Primarily the detainees who fall under this provision are women who have been subjected to some type of Domestic Violence. or subjected to a crime against them. Men are not excluded, but domestic violence generally applies to females.
As we continue to assist going forward, we also establish contact with the various Clinics headed by Attorneys, or Law Schools having a legal presence close to the facility.
At some point, the preference is to have them assist in the representation of the Detainee in court.
We also prepare various Motions for the pro se litigant facing removal proceedings.
Motion to vacate under 28 USC 2255
re: Jae Lee v United States, and under California AB 2867.
We provide assistance with applying for a Pardon
Petition (to the Office of the U.S. Pardon Attorney)
Remission or Mitigation of
Restitution/Fine (to Office of US
Termination of Supervised Release
writ of error corm nobis
A Professional Trade Organization
Advocating the use of non lawyers to bridge the gap in access to the courts.
Seeking Acceptance, acknowledgement, and Accreditation for non Attorney Legal Professionals.
Just one of several aspects of the American Dream, the nightmare of poverty where economics preclude adequate representation and access to the courts.
In our country, lawyers and judges regulate their own markets. The upshot is that getting legal help is enormously expensive and out of reach for the vast majority of Americans. Anyone faced with a contract dispute, family crisis, foreclosure or eviction must pay a lawyer with a JD degree to provide service one-on-one in the same way lawyers have done business for hundreds of years.
Increasingly, the only "persons" with access to legal help are "artificial persons" -- corporations, organizations and governments. No wonder that in a 2010 New York study, it was shown 95% of people in housing court are unrepresented. The same is true in consumer credit and child support cases; 44% of people in foreclosures are representing themselves—against a well-represented bank, no small number of whom engaged in robo-signing and sued people based on faulty information.
These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. For every
These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg. For every person who is unrepresented in court there are probably tens of thousands who didn't have any legal advice when they did the things that landed them in hot water in the first place. Who can afford $200 to $300 an hour to get advice on local small business regulations, the fine print in a mortgage document, or how not to make mistakes that will cost you in court when fighting over kids and money with your soon-to-be ex-spouse?
Some legal professionals have called for more public money for legal aid clinics and courts to provide free legal help and for lawyers to do more pro bono work. But the demand for ordinary legal help is simply too massive to meet with increased court funding, legal aid or pro bono work.
After I was sentenced, I started googling and talking to sentencing consultants. I was a first time offender and began to get discouraged when I came across Arianne Armstrong’s website. Immediately I knew this was someone I could trust. Ann first gave me an overwhelming peace I needed to get through the next stages and hope. She was immediately able to help me file motions at a fraction of the cost of an attorney or other sentencing consultants. She was with me all the way through my incarceration and helped me navigate through the Bureau of Prisons. While I was incarcerated she was able to assist me in writing and filing an appeal. I regret I didn’t meet Ann during pre-trial because I am convinced my case would have turned out differently with her assistance and knowledge. I truly recommend anyone involved in a legal matter to have Arianne on your team. Thanks Arianne for all you have done!!!
I believe there is no way to help ordinary people with their legal problems without fundamentally changing the way lawyers and judges regulate the practice of law.
What we need are more efficient ways of delivering legal help and less expensive nonlawyers who can provide legal assistance. Supreme court judges in every state have the authority to accomplish this with the stroke of a pen.
The root of the crisis of access to justice is the scale of the problem. Here's a little back-of-the-envelope arithmetic. Using data from surveys conducted by the ABA and state bar associations, I estimate that, at any given time, roughly half of all American households are dealing with about two legal problems each-- evictions, divorces, bankruptcies, denials of health care benefits, and so on.
Giving these American households just one hour of help from a lawyer to manage a maze of legal documents and court procedures would cost close to $20 billion.
This doesn't even consider the cost of what clients want most from lawyers -- advice about how to avoid legal problems. Including this service would add additional tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars.
That's why the only way to increase access to justice is to expand the group of people and organizations that can provide legal help beyond JD-trained and licensed lawyers.
Authorized nonlawyers and organizations could help ease our overburdened courts in many ways. Each year, 2.3 million New Yorkers, for example, represent themselves in state courts. These litigants do not want to be in court or to manage their problems alone, but have no other practical choice. They frequently labor under huge misunderstandings about legal procedures, requirements and forms. Oodles of judges and lawyers have complained about the delays and complications these misunderstandings create.
Imagine how much more efficient the court would be if the unrepresented could obtain low-cost legal assistance from people expert enough to help them navigate the process. Especially if those people were using the systems and protocols developed by a large-scale company, maybe even online. It doesn't take high-level legal expertise to advise a person facing eviction for unpaid rent that if she wants to contend that her apartment has no heating and the ceiling is falling down, she should bring some photographs or other evidence to court to back up her claim. The same applies to people who need to understand what the arcane legal language in a court order or rule means.
There are many basic issues that could be handled by nonlawyers. Allowing nonlawyers to work for businesses that invest and specialize in giving this kind of help would supercharge the potential for reducing the cost of legal help.
The use of non-JD legal assistants and nonlawyer dominated businesses is not a venture into uncharted waters. The United Kingdom has a long history of allowing a wide variety of differently trained individuals and organizations provide legal assistance, and studies show that the practice works very well. In many cases, people are better served by a nonlawyer organization that specializes in a particular type of legal help—navigating housing or bankruptcy matters, for example—than they are by a solo practitioner with a general practice.
Furthermore, when people have access to lower-cost alternatives to full-fledged attorneys, they use these resources. In practical terms, that means that only 5% to 10% ignore their legal issues in the United Kingdom. Compare that to New York, where significant majorities of low-income households with legal problems—65% with housing problems, 59% with financial issues, 50% with health insurance problems—do nothing in response to their problems. But as often is the case, untreated problems lead to worse problems—and bigger headaches for our courts.
For too long, the legal profession has focused on legal aid, pro bono and charitable assistance as the solution to the crisis in access to justice. The approach is admirable, but futile.
Solving the problem requires lawyers—especially those on the bench who bear the ultimate responsibility for regulating the profession—to share the field with other, less-expensive, non-JD professionals and nonlawyer dominated organizations who can provide perfectly adequate legal help in many cases. America's legal profession is in dire need of reform; it's time for those in leadership positions to step up.
Professor Gillian Hadfield of USC sums it up with absolute clarity:
Being both a lawyer and an economist, and an academic to boot, I’m at triple threat of hiding behind “on the one hand, on the other hand” statements when it comes to addressing public policy problems. But I am here today to make a clear unequivocal statement: there is no way to solve the crisis of civil access to justice without fundamental change in the way the judiciary regulates the practice of law. More precisely, there is no way to generate the kind of legal help that ordinary New Yorkers need solely through the expenditure of public money on legal aid and the provision of pro bono and other charitable assistance. No way. Any solution that makes a dent in the problem will also have to involve expanding the types of people and organizations that are authorized to provide legal help. I realize that is a statement that is at odds with almost everything lawyers talk about when they talk about access to justice. But it shouldn’t be. It should be the main topic of conversation: how will we expand access by expanding the range of options available to ordinary people when they face the ordinary legal needs of everyday life? This is not a scary option. It is not an unethical option. It is, in my view, the only responsible option.
Using New York numbers, Professor Hadfield makes clear that the current approach can not even begin to meet the need: Suppose you wanted to provide every household experiencing civil legal problems just one hour of legal help with each problem they faced. What would that cost? The average hourly rate for a general practitioner working in solo or small firm practice in New York—the kind of lawyer who provides services to ordinary folks rather than corporations—is about $200. A little more math: 1 million households times 1.5 problems times $200 per hour equals $300 million. That’s for one hour for each problem. Even if you think you could find enough lawyers willing to work for, say, $150 an hour (which no survey of lawyers that I’ve seen suggests is possible), you’re still talking $225 million. Of course, for very few legal problems is one hour of help much help at all.
She also applies New York numbers to the potential for pro bono to fill the gap:
And if you didn’t want to pay hourly rates for that assistance? It would require every one of the approximately 150,000 New York licensed attorneys to work an additional 10 hours pro bono a year for each hour of help provided for all those facing a legal problem. To put this number in perspective, in the 2008 ABA Pro Bono survey, American lawyers provided an annual average of 28 hours of pro bono services to persons of limited means. The average time spent on a single pro bono case was 24 hours—meaning that on average, American lawyers are helping the equivalent of one person or household a year with a legal problem. If this average applies in New York, it means 150,000 households receive pro bono help—that’s 10% of the 1.5 million legal problems low-income households tell us they are facing.
Lots of us have been watching this long-standing but very important saga.
The Washington State Supreme Court has now by Order approved a Rule generally permitting non-lawyer legal technicians. The Order does not itself authorize specific areas of legal technician work; that authorization will be made later by the Court, based on recommendations from the newly created “Limited License Legal Technician Board.” The Board is to be appointed by the Supreme Court, and there will be a clear majority (9 out of 13) of lawyers on the Board. I think the assumption is that family law is likely to be an early area. The Order was not unanimous, but issued over three dissenting votes. The proposal for the concept was made in 2008.
The project offers significant opportunities to get a much better picture of whether non-lawyer practice is practical, what parameters are realistic, and whether it is right that the idea will advance access to justice. There has been a history in some other states of less carefully crafted programs generating horror stories.
The most important parts of the program are as follows:
The Order carefully makes the argument for the project, effectively answering the many arguments against it. As such it stands as a clear statement of the need for, and potential advantages of the approach, that should have a significant impact nationally. The dissent criticizes the unfairness to the Bar, arguing the bar will be burdened with the administrative cost of the program. Even if accurate, I do not find the argument powerful. Surely it is shortsighted. (For debate on the earlier proposal, see the July 2008 Washington State Bar Journal.)
Another straw in a gathering wind..
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