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Old 08-07-2018, 12:05 AM
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Pamelaspeach Pamelaspeach is offline
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Unhappy Sons Sentencing coming up in 2 weeks how to handle before and after?

Hi All PWCP peeps,

My son will be sentenced in 2 weeks. As his mother I need to write a letter to

the judge. I know I need to speak from my heart.....my broken heart. We

tried everything to help him, he was like mercury running thru my fingers.

First of all I would like advice on what to say in my letter to make the most

impact. Second, how to handle myself in court and the days up to court.

I am really struggling, I myself deal with depression and anxiety. It feels like

it has amplified 10 fold. I am trying my best to be positive and to take

care of myself, but quite frankly I am a mess. My son is doing well.

although he has said that he is nervous, but overall he has a great outlook.

He took a plea deal and will get anywhere from 7-21 years. Its his first

offense as an adult so we are hoping for a lighter sentence. I appreciate

being able to come here and vent and ask for help. I feel so strange and

like a member of a strange club. The new normal so to speak. Just hoping

for the best. Thank you
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Old 08-07-2018, 07:21 AM
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There are a number of PTO threads about presentencing letters to the judge. Here's a link to one of them.
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Old 08-07-2018, 11:24 AM
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thank you so much!
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Old 08-08-2018, 05:40 PM
Living Hell Living Hell is offline
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I am so sorry you are in this situation. I can so relate. I had to write that letter about 2 months ago. My son is going to be sentenced in about a month. Our lawyer gave us tips on what to write and words NOT to use. One word he highly said NOT to use was MISTAKE. He said the judge doesn't like it when it's said the defendant or others say they made a mistake. I let the judge know that I will always love my son but hate the decisions he made. I also said I was heartbroken, numb, angry and felt like a failure as a mother. All these are true feelings I am feeling. I would just let the judge know how you feel. Don't sugar coat anything. Good luck with that letter and I hope he gets the shortest sentence and at a location where he will be safe and get the help he needs to understand the decisions he made.
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:52 AM
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So sorry you are dealing with this. My son was sentenced 2 weeks ago and it took me 3 months to finish my letter to the judge. I would definitely advise that you acknowledge his responsibility and don’t make excuses for his bad choices. Be honest about your emotional state and you are allowed to be angry and sad, but that you are also supporting your son and will help guide him to make better choices. If there are any options for educations or programs he can take, I would ask the judge to consider those as well as placing him close to home so your family can start mending and your son will have the positive support he needs. The letters do matter more then they think. My sons sentencing range was 5 to 40 years federal with minimum being 5 years period. His guideline range was 7.25-9 with a criminal history. The judge sentenced him to 6 years federal and 4 years supervised after release. Without the letters I don’t think would have been the case. Get as many as you can and humanize your son by telling the good things he’s done in his life.
Good luck to you!
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:35 PM
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How to Handle Yourself at a Loved One's Sentencing; A Brief Primer

Start with good self care in the weeks before. Eat properly, exercise (get those endorphins flowing), go to bed at the same time every night.

Journal about the whole situation. Get into your hopes and fears about what will happen once you have a definitive sentence and a maximum out date. If you are angry, deal with it. If you are afraid, deal with it. Journaling is a great way of getting all of those feelings out. It’s also a good way of dealing with your sense of sadness, regret, shame, and responsibility that most parents have when it comes to a child who is going to do serious time.

write your letter and organize letter writing by others (if you’re the kind of person who likes that sort of busy work).

If you haven’t been to court, go. Go before sentencing so you know what the courtroom looks like, what going through security feels like, and where the bathrooms are located. Know that you should sit behind your loved one (assuming you are there in support of him) as this is a visual clue of support to the judge. If you support the prosecution, sit behind the prosecutor. If you’ve never spoken to the victim before (if any), this is NOT the time to sit next to them or to start a dialogue.

Make sure you have the entire day off work. Seriously - sentencing may take a brief amount of time, but it is emotionally very taxing. You need the time.

Get a friend to help you with the day of sentencing. Have that friend drive and sit with you. It is good to have a rock of a friend to tend to your emotional needs and hold your hand and help you stay grounded.

Before sentencing, practice some grounding exercises. Deep breathing at a minimum will help you when the world seems to be spinning out of control.

I suggest taking something for an acidic stomach before court. Put a light breakfast in your stomach so that there is something there. Don’t drink a ton of coffee or other fluid that morning or your bladder will give you trouble.

Dress comfortably. Dress like you would dress to go to a wedding, but without an excess of jewelry, make-up, or fuss. Just dress nice, but comfortable since you do not know how long you will be there. If you are going to speak on his behalf or as a victim, wear clothes that you are familiar with. If you dont normally wear heels, dont wear heels. If you are a skirt wearer, wear a skirt. Pick clothes from your wardrobe that help you feel confident and protected. I have a first day of trial suit that I always wear for the first day of trial. It helps me prepare, and helps me to feel confident and in control. Because I always wear it the first day of trial, it is familiar. It’s not too tight, I dont find myself pulling at the blouse to keep it tucked in, and I don’t fidget in it because its itchy or feels odd.

Try to dress in layers. You never know how hot or how cold a courtroom will be. Being able to take clothes off to stay comfortable and not sweat is very helpful.

Frisk yourself before going into the courthouse. Make sure you’re not taking a weapon or anything that can be interpreted as a weapon with you (fingernail clippers included). Leave your cellphone at home. If you can’t make sure your friend reminds you to put it on silent when you enter the courtroom. Food and drink won’t be allowed in the courtroom, but generally are allowed in the courthouse.

Be prepared for a bunch of hurry up and wait. Be prepared for the prosecutor to portray your son as the most foul human being ever to have existed. Bite your tongue. Words are wind. All it is is an interpretation of his history that best benefits a heavy sentence. Your side will get to speak as well and humanize him. Don’t try to refute the Prosecution. Stick to your script.

Be his mother in court. Again, sit behind him to show support for him. Don’t be surprised if you are not allowed to touch him even though he’s a few feet away from you. You can whisper talk with him before the judge comes in. You may be able to get a hug from him at the end, before he’s taken away - ask his attorney to ask for permission for a hug.

After sentencing, take your time going home. Find a place where you can have a cup of coffee or something and start the process of decompressing and processing all that happened. Talk with your friend. Journal. Get into comfy clothes and binge some NetFlix. It’s allowed - it’s a heavy, heavy day, a heavy, heavy experience. If you have close friends and family, let them take care of you. Join in your misery as shared sorrow is decreased.

And remember to breathe.
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