The Importance of an Appeals Lawyer in Orlando
Very often, a person charged with a Federal offense has no idea what he or she faces at sentencing. Unfortunately, many attorneys who claim to be experienced in federal criminal defense also have no idea what their client faces as a likely sentence. In many cases, this happens because the attorney did not take the time to thoroughly investigate a client's educational and employment background, personal history, medical history, family history, any prior criminal record, and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to calculate the Total Offense Level and applicable Criminal History.
The result of this ignorance can be disastrous. Our attorneys have represented many people who were wrongly advised or misadvised by a previous lawyer as to what their Federal sentencing exposure was. Based upon this bad legal advice, they made a decision to accept a plea bargain, or go to trial, only to be unpleasantly surprised by a sentence that they did not expect – one much more harsh and excessive than they anticipated.
Why choose Appeals Law Group?
Because sentencing is one of the most critical stages of a criminal case, you cannot afford to make an uninformed decision based upon incorrect or misleading legal advice. You need an attorney who has recognized skill and experience in sentencing to give you correct advice so that you can make a decision intelligently, fully informed of the risks and benefits of each option available to you.
At Appeals Law Group our attorneys have 60 years of combined experience in sentencing representation. Our team uses recent developments in the law and our extensive knowledge and experience to correctly and accurately predict a client's likely sentencing exposure. With the correct legal advice, we give our clients the ability to make a fully informed decision as to their options - whether to accept a plea bargain, go to trial, or to consider any other option available.
Federal Sentencing and Mitigation
The Federal Sentencing Guidelines are extremely complicated by themselves. They are made even more complicated because every day, Federal courts around the country interpret and apply the Guidelines differently to countless situations and cases. To make matters even more complex, the United States Supreme Court and Congress make new law on sentencing constantly. An attorney has to be aware of all of these updates in the law and use them to the client's advantage.
In 2005 the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Sentencing Guidelines are not mandatory, and gave Federal District Court judges the ability to impose any legal sentence above or below the Guidelines sentence. This gave judges the freedom to consider sentences lower than the Guidelines, which are frequently harsh and excessive.
This also gives a sentencing lawyer the ability to use creative approaches to convince Federal judges to impose lower sentences than the Guidelines sentence.
At Appeals Law Group, we draw upon extensive experience with sentencing around the country – not just in Federal courts, but also in State courts across the nation. We use our skill, experience, and resources to accurately predict what sentencing exposure our clients face. We also use our forensic psychologist and mitigation specialists to assist us in making the best presentation possible to the sentencing judge.
State Sentencing and Mitigation
Each State has its own unique sentencing scheme. Some States have a sentencing scheme similar to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Some have a very different system, requiring judges to determine mitigating factors, aggravating factors, and a wide variety of other factors.
Most States have laws that enhance a sentence based upon certain factors such as prior convictions, number of victims, whether a firearm was used in the commission of the offense, etc. Most states have mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes – and then exceptions to those rules, and exceptions to those exceptions.
Whatever the State's sentencing scheme is, one thing is the same in every single State – if the attorney representing the client at sentencing is unprepared and not ready to forcefully argue for the lowest possible sentence, the client will suffer.
In most States, there is no second chance at sentencing. When the Judge announces the sentence that is likely the sentence that the client will be stuck with, unless a motion for post-conviction relief or an appeal is successful.
This is why it is so important to hire an Orlando appeals attorney who will prepare the case by submitting appropriate sentencing materials, making the appropriate legal and Constitutional challenges to sentences ahead of time, and go to court, armed with the right tools, to advocate forcefully for a client and convince a court to show leniency at sentencing.
Typically in State court, you only get one shot at a sentencing hearing to persuade the Judge to give you leniency. Make it count by hiring the right law firm.
Our Forensic Psychologist
Effective sentencing advocacy requires experts. Dr. Janoson brings over 30 years of experience to the Appeals Law Group team as a licensed psychologist and forensic psychology expert. Dr. Janoson specializes in psychological assessment in support of sentencing advocacy. Dr. Janoson is a recognized expert in the use of objective psychological assessment tools to arrive at conclusions regarding the mental limitations, diseases and defects of Appeals Law Group defendants and clients. These assessments provide highly credible and objective assessment for the Court.
Dr. Janoson utilizes computer-based tools and is an authority in the forensic applications of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, or MMPI. The MMPI is the most widely used and researched standardized psychometric test of adult personality and psychopathology.
Dr. Janoson's vast experience providing psychological services for attorneys, law guardians and social workers and as a qualified expert witness in the Federal, State and Family Courts has been instrumental to effective sentencing advocacy. Dr. Janoson has worked with many New York area Law Enforcement and Public Safety Agencies, including NYPD, Nassau County Civil Service and NYC Department of Correction.
Dr. Janoson holds a Ph. D. in Psychology and is certified in family forensic psychology.