View Full Version : Sentencing Should I give a statement?

11-18-2005, 08:04 AM
I have a question! When you are sentenced the judge always ask if you have something you would like to say. My attorney told me that I definitely need to talk to the judge. He told me that I could prepare something in case I was too emotional to get up and relay want I need to say. My question is, does the judge look at it differently if you just talk to him without it in writing or will he know that you are sincere even if you had to read something? I'm just an emotional wreck and I'm scare that if I just try to talk I would be rambling and it wouldn't come out like it should. I know what I want to say and no matter if it's in writing it would be coming from my heart but would it be better if I didn't have to read something? I'm still waiting for my sentencing date. January makes a year when my nightmare started. I have gone over in my head a million times on what I would like to say and I will be telling my attorney this. I have wonderful and caring attorney and no matter what happens I know that I had the best. I was told that the judge is kind of moody so it all depends on what kind of mood he's in. However, I do know that he respects my attorney alot and that he's always been fair with my attorney's other cases. This is federal and my charges are embezzlement.

By the way, I don't usually post to much on PTO but I would like to say how wonderful everyone has been. I read the threads almost everyday and it really helps me knowing that there are caring and forgiving people in this world. Thanks for all the encouragement and honesty everyone gives here.

11-18-2005, 02:33 PM
Why not do both, prepare a letter (with your lawyer's input) and have it submitted through the PSR - an acceptance of responsibility statement, no excuses, just acknowledgement of wrongdoing and apology) and then practice, practice, practice a statement. If you end up unable to talk, because you are overcome with emotion, then the judge already knows what you wanted to say. You can only do what you can do. Good luck.

11-18-2005, 08:27 PM
I also agree you should do both. You may want to prepare an outline for you to refer to when you are speaking to the judge. I also have had to do this and yes..I will be honest, the mind tends to go blank. You may like to begin by telling him that you are very ashamed of you're behavior and that you accept whatever sentence is handed down as punishment. Judges LOVE humility and when a person takes admits/accepts, takes responsibility for their actions. I wish you the best of luck!!!

11-22-2005, 09:20 AM
We had a great attorney when my husband was going through this. His main advice through the entire experience (in our case it took TWO YEARS), was to show humility and remorse. He advised to never argue or deny wrongdoing, but show complete humility and remorse (sort of a "it won't EVER happen again") type of thing. I think my husband kept it very short and brief. He said something like "Your honor, I have served my country in the military and don't honestly know what made me do what I am standing here for. But, I completely not only regret the decision but feel complete shame and sorrow for the pain I caused and the people I may have hurt. I am ready to take my punishment and move on with my life. All I want now is to pay for what I have done and move towards becoming a productive citizen at some point in the future". It was something like that. The judge loved it, his lawyer loved it, the prosecutor nearly puked because he had spent a lot of time trying to make my husband out to be some sort of cold hearted criminal mind! Being emotional is o.k. especially if it is genuine. Being humble is important as is being remorseful. That tends to sway them towards a lighter sentence because they see you are already learning your lesson - at least that is what our attorney advised.

11-27-2005, 05:36 PM
I have a piggy back question to this? As you and your attorney are able to make a statement, does the prosecution make a statement as well?

11-27-2005, 10:50 PM
I am not 100% sure in your case, but I belive that they do yes.

11-27-2005, 11:07 PM
The prosecution will make a statement. Could be the history of the case, could be about the defendant personally, and they usually ask for a particular sentence. If there was useful cooperation, then the commentary tends to be more favorable. The legal system is adversarial, so your attorney makes the supportive case and the prosecution makes the case for the state.

11-29-2005, 08:27 AM
I really regret not making a statement at my sentencing. I felt as though I was labeled wrongly, and my barrister didn't know enough about me, and talked more about the legal aspects than who I was.

11-30-2005, 06:30 PM
For those that have made statements, do you think it helped? Also do they allow you to make a statement after signing a plea agreement?

As far as submitting a letter with the PSR, will they actually allow you to do this? Can you submit other letters to be included with your PSR?

Thanks for any help!

12-01-2005, 07:43 AM
Yes, they will allow it. Your attorney should be able to work that out for you. In our case, I do believe the statement helped. My husband's prosecutor was a real jerk. He even had the supposed "victim" (a person who was actually the instigator and recipient of many profits from the entire scheme) sit in the front row in an effort to intimidate my husband. He just laughed and made his statement that he truly felt remorse for the people he may have hurt and especially his family. He looked her straight in the eye and never hesitated. She ended up exiting the room pretty quickly as soon as the opportunity arose. But, it did help and the judge was more than open to hearing what he had to say. The letters need to go to the judge prior to the sentencing hearing.

12-12-2005, 11:09 PM
When you go to sentencing the judge already knows what he's going to give you. Speaking at sentencing does nothing in regards to what the judge will give you.

12-13-2005, 03:59 AM
I must disagree with Bullets. When I went to sentencing the judge was going to give me the max, however decided after my statement, to give me 5 years with all time suspended, and to serve that time by probation.

12-13-2005, 09:47 AM
Maybe a few helpful words of advice. I served 4 months in prison for Aggravated DUI. (I could have received 2.5 years). The judge issued me the very minimum sentence available to him. I believe two factors were critical in my receiving the minimum sentence. 1) Letters from friends and family that were submitted directly to the Judge and included in my PSR. 2) My statement at sentencing.
During sentencing the judge read aloud in open court some of the excerpts from the friends and family letters. Also, after I made my statement in court he commented on the fact that I appeared "genuinely remorseful".
As a side note: In addition to including the letters in the PSR. My attorney sent the friends and family letters express mail directly to the judge the day before sentencing so that they would be "fresh in his mind".
I hope this helps a little...and I wish you the very best of luck.

01-03-2006, 12:27 AM
I think that 36Inside has it down. Statements from friends and family, made a a heck of difference in my sentencing. Altimately it was the appeals that brought me home, but I think that at sentencing itself, that those statements did make a positive difference.


01-03-2006, 03:42 AM
In the two cases I've been involved in, I'm quite sure the statements (and letters to the judge) made quite a difference.

Danee Boy
01-03-2006, 04:36 AM
My experince was the oppisite, I wrote a letter in addition to 4 or 5 other letters from family and friends. I wonder if the judge ever read them.

On the other hand I declined to make a statement but after my sentence was "given" to me I made a rather nasty statement.

01-03-2006, 08:17 AM
My friend lost a retrial after appeal. He had tons of letters to the judge from family and friends and was a model inmate for 8 years. The judge nailed him with the original 27 year sentance. It didn't help that his Public Defender opened his case with "I want you to find my client guilty" I'm glad that your statements and letters helped you guys, it gives me a little hope in the system I consider hopeless!

01-03-2006, 01:20 PM
I think talking to the Judge always helps.

Juris Doctor
01-03-2006, 03:04 PM
I was sentenced by a Federal judge this past October and I virtually read my statement because prior to finalizing it - I made quite a number of drafts and edits to what I had originally written. My attorney had his associate atty read my initial statement and she said that it didn't sound remorseful enough.
So I went back again and again to change it here and there in an attempt to not sound as if I was blaming others but rather that i was taking full responsibility for my actions even if they originated from passivity. I basically read it to the judge amidst tears and a few gasps for air here and there. I spoke at a good volume and looked up at the judge straight into his eyes, even from a distance, so I could convey that I was sincere in my apologies and accepted repsonsibility for my actions. Convince the judge that you have attained a full and clear understanding of why you are there before him and more importantly, that when faced with challenges, you understand the significance of your wrongdoing and have the courage to admit to your misdeeds by pleading guilty to the offenses with which you are charged. Offer your heartfelt apoologies, shame and remorse to the judge, your family & society and admit to having made grave mistakes that brought about the charges. And that your conduct leading to these events in your life was truly an aberration - an isolated snapshot depicting a tear in your moral fabric that is not representative of your life, your character and your values from your upbringing. Not trying to put words in your mouth just hope this helps in giving you an idea of what elements your statement should consist of -

01-03-2006, 04:48 PM
my nightmare also started a year ago this month and I am expecting sentencing in May. Anything anyone can tell me is a big help. My attorney says that not only will I need to make a statement but that the "VICTIM" can make a statement.

01-12-2006, 04:14 PM
Does the statement at the sentencing only apply to a trial or also to a plea. my friend pled and got 3-1/2 years. She's been in for almost 6 months. Can the judge cut the time at the sentencing? Also, if my family writes letters to the judge in advance, can that help?

01-12-2006, 05:53 PM
Any show of support can help. Just knowing that there is someone on the outside who cares about you and are willing to help you succeed, can make a world of difference. Letters, lots of letters of support can be sent to the judge via your lawyer. If any of those people who wrote letters can also appear in court on the day of sentencing, they should do so.

A statement of remorse by the offender is always a positive thing. If you are truely sorry for what you are accused of and really do plan to improve, there is no reason why you shouldn't let the judge and everyone else who is in the court room at the time hear this from you. It shows that you are human and all humans make mistakes at some time in their lives.

01-12-2006, 06:02 PM
Be cautious of the victim's statement. Listen to every word. Sometimes victim's statements are words of others who want justice more than the victims themselves. If the victim is a minor, other adults might be influencing him/her and telling him/her what to include in the statement.

You might also get some insight on what to add to your statement by knowing what is in the victim's statement.

01-18-2006, 10:26 PM
yes!! statements are very important,i just went to court jan 13th for sentencing i was facing 2 yrs,i had wonderful family support and a good job,and ive stayed out of can have family members speak on your behalf as well,believe me it helped me..the judge put me on 2yrs comm control..which was a blessing for me as i thought for sure i would go to prison..i also wrote a statement and talked to the was hard but i got thru it and said what i needed to say,hang in there! best of luck to you

01-19-2006, 02:47 AM
Your say in what happened is important, the Judges do read and listen most times. I was faced with a 60 yr stint that turned into 10 based upon what I believe was family support. I was still arrogant enough to not admit wrongdoing and be remorseful and this was quickly pointed out by the Judge. For whatever reason admitting wrongdoing and being remorseful is at the top of their list. Say what is in your heart, but remember that your future is at stake and in the hands of others that will never know who you are.
Luck and prayers to you.

03-01-2006, 04:21 AM
It ended up that I couldnt even talk when it came time. My judge was very ...dare I say rude to me? my lawyer read my statement for me...I would first like to say thank you for allow me the opportunity speak. Next I would beg for the forgiveness of Ms Smith, my family and loved ones.
My actions were those of a deeply depressed and alcoholic person. In no way does that make it right. I too live as a victim of a brutal attack that has also left me with a scar on my face that I too will live with and see for the rest of my life even when others claim that can not see it.
I am truly sorry for what I did and I know that sorry can not take away what happened. I would take it back if I could yet I cant. Iím sure you have heard that more times than you care to remember in your court room, but I dare to say that I honestly believe that no one has meant it more that I do.
I have ruined everything that I had worked for with my relapse. I honestly thought that I could handle it but deep inside I knew that I couldnít. I just wanted to escape and not feel or deal with everything that was going on in my life at that time.
I realize that everyone must deal with everyday problems and not run from them. This is why I sit in your court room today, I sit here ready to be sentenced as you and the law deem fit. I would like you to know that I am in AODA treatment and I will continue to work that steps that had helped me stay sober before this incident. I am also on medication and see a psychiatrist for my mental issues and feel that I will no longer need to run and hide in a bottle, and I will reach out for help when I need it. I have a lot of support and people that care for me and that I care about also. I have my children and another baby that I took in over a year ago that depend on me for everything. I donít know what the future holds at this moment I can only hope that you can find it in your heart to let me go home and be with my family that needs me as much as I need them. I promise that I will not let you down and you will never see me in your court room again. I know now what I must do to become a productive citizen of this community, and to lead a law-abiding example for my children And never end up in your or any other court room ever again.
I thank you for your time and my most sincere apologizes to Ms Smith, my family and loved ones and the city of Green Bay for becoming a burden to all.
tement for me. This was my statement...

She said that she felt nothing for me and that I am a dirty and evil drunk. How ever i did only get 9 monthe nstead of the 18 months they wanted. Do write statement so that if you cant read it your lawyer can.

03-03-2006, 09:01 AM
Hey, that was a wonderful statement Good thing you wrote it though since the judge was such an a**. I'm sorry that you got 9 months, you sound truly remorseful in your statement and if you are working your steps and comitted to your sobriety, I think she could have given you a break. Godd luck, tell your family to come here for support if they need it. (((((Hugs))))

03-05-2006, 09:23 AM
I had family and friends write letters as well as I gave a statement at sentencing. I wonder as well if the judge really gave a damn or even read them. He was a jerk. I guess it varies but for me, it didn't help.

03-05-2006, 11:47 PM
Listen to bellisq. She knows what she is talking about. good luck with everything.

03-11-2006, 12:54 PM
Guilt and remorse for the crime is what they want you to feel.
Speaking only for myself I had "no" criminal history and had comitted the crime of Malicious Mischief 2nd with a firearm enhancement which carried a mandatory 3yrs in prison. After 4yrs and 3 Lawyers spending $33,000.00 :eek: I finally plead out to this crime and was sentenced to 19 months day for day.
Although I was offered another trial through the Judge (Jury was misinformed) I was burnt out and spent enough money.

Standing in front of the Judge during sentencing all I could say was "this has been a long costly ride"

Strange I would come across this thread.

Whatever you do or say, stand tall.

03-30-2006, 06:18 AM
I would like to THANK everyone that submitted to this thread, I would like you to know that not only did you help the person whow started it but you helped me as well. I had no clue what to say to my judge especially considering the fact that I will have a new one this time because of our new Violation court. Anyways thank you everyone, today is my day, I will give an update to my "DAY IN COURT"

04-05-2006, 11:41 AM
Amen on the standing tall!

04-07-2006, 02:12 PM
I had no idea family could write letters before sentencing. My brother never mentioned we could do that. He has kept my mom and I out of the details except for when he was remanded. Is there anything I can do for him now? It's seems a little late, but maybe before he's transferred to another facility would that help??? :(

04-07-2006, 03:33 PM
I had no idea family could write letters before sentencing. My brother never mentioned we could do that. He has kept my mom and I out of the details except for when he was remanded. Is there anything I can do for him now? It's seems a little late, but maybe before he's transferred to another facility would that help??? :(
I doubt it's do him much good at CDC (unless he's still in reception.)
If I were you. I'd write the letter and send it to him. It'd probably make him feel a bit better to read about how you still think of him. If on teh off chance he thinks he can use it, he has it handy.

04-28-2006, 09:19 PM
After reading most of the posts listed you gave me something to think about. We did letters of support, who knows if she had time to read them, we brought in the entire family into the court house and I think that caused somewhat of an effect. My son had no statements to make but in all honesty the DA and the Judge had already made up their minds to sentence him to 5yrs. lowest sentence for his crime.

05-18-2006, 06:36 AM
I think they help a GREAT deal, I made a speech on how sorry I was for my victim(a company), it's shareholders and the immediate supervisors(under who's watch, unknowingly) who did NOT catch the crime(we were turned in by a low level clerk).

I think by touching and making personal the knowlege and sorrow you caused for a whole chain of people on the victim's side will soften the judges heart. I was truely remorseful and it showed thru.

I know it did in my case. I got 18 months less than my attorney expected.

Good Luck!