Criminal Defense Attorney Fails To Inform Client Of Sentence Length

Criminal Defense ExpertThis case involves a business professional who was convicted of involvement in a Ponzi scheme and sentenced to jail. The federal judge verbally ordered the sentence of one year, which was different from what was written. According to the written sentence, the man was actually sentenced to an additional 18 months. His attorney did not pick up on this at the time and did not pass this information along to his client. The man expected to get out of prison after 12 months but later discovered he had another 18 months to serve. He corresponded with his attorney in an attempt to remedy the situation but the attorney remained unresponsive. An expert criminal defense attorney was sought to opine on an attorney’s duties to the client and who was at fault for this error.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you have experience representing alleged criminals in instances similar to the one described above?
  • 2. Can you speak to the best practices for a criminal defense attorney as it relates to advising your client on sentencing?

Expert Witness Response E-130021

I have been a criminal defense attorney for the past 11 years in the state of New York (and, prior to that, as a prosecutor with the Marine Corps). I have practiced extensively in both state and federal court and have taken more than fifty cases to trial. I am licensed to practice law in New York and DC, as well as all military courts. I have also taught CLEs on best practices, ethics, evidence and trial tactics. In addition, I have a number of federal and state criminal defense clients and I have had clients that have been charged in both state and federal court on similar charges. Best practice is to get the federal sentence to run first, and then get the state to sentence the defendant or the attorney could get an explicit agreement from the judges to sentence the defendant concurrently.

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