Impact of Presentence Report on the Case Verdict

07/18/2013 04:25

Convincing the judge that the accused deserves a lesser sentence is a tough job of the defense lawyer who needs to present mitigating evidences or circumstances to ensure that those will be considered in making a just verdict. But this is no longer necessary when the defendant has already entered into or accepted a plea bargaining agreement with the prosecution and undergoes probation given that judges would only rely on presentence reports prepared by the probation officers in determining the fair sentencing decisions. It is thus favorable to the defendant if the report provides the judge good reasons to impose a lighter sentence, though such is not often certain as the officer takes into account several factors before submitting the report. Anyhow, to be more familiar about the said report and its impact on the case verdict, these are the essential details to note:


Factors Considered in Preparing Presentence Report

Presentence Report on the Case Verdict
Before writing the report, the probation officer or a social worker first conducts interviews with the defendant and his or her relatives, victim, and arresting officer and examines the criminal record. But aside from the information taken from these sources, the report can also include the circumstances of the offense, statement by the victim about personal suffering, and defendant’s background. Meanwhile, the role of the defense lawyer in this case is crucial as there is a need to ensure that the probation officer hears good things that the accused has done in the community before preparing the report. This will ensure that the report will appear as commendable to the person given its impact on the sentencing decision.



Defendant’s Presentence Interview

Probation officers are very keen in conducting interview with the defendants and they scrutinize every response given. Specifically, the officer would likely acquire information regarding certain matters such as motive for committing the crime, personal and family history, health, financial status, military record, education, and employment record among others. Given these, it is necessary for the defendant to be prepared to divulge information with the officer so as the latter could fairly evaluate the eligibility for lesser sentence.


Ensuring Favorable Presentence Report

Having a positive impression on the probation officer can make a good difference in the presentence report and may eventually lead to getting lighter sentence. And this certainly requires good preparation before meeting with the probation officer as the presence of a lawyer is usually not permitted during the interview, and considering that the statements made by the former can be included or used in the report. Nevertheless, one issue that may result from the report is the predetermined decisions of the officer and not the merits of individual case; thus, for Sarasota dui attorney to counter this and ensure that the judge will consider the facts favorable to the accused, it is necessary to (1) research possible alternative sentences such as putting the accused in the rehabilitation center, (2) improve the defendant’s background by volunteering in community service or enrolling in government schooling program, (3) meet with the officer before the interview with the defendant, (4) provide written statement regarding the mitigation of the crime given the justifiable circumstances, and (5) taking the private presentence report.


Indeed, the aforementioned facts about presentence report illustrate that it can have a great impact on the case verdict especially when the defendant has a good personal record.


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