Sentencing Videos can be used in many different kinds of cases.Some examples that have been successful:
1. Drug Case-
|A 33-year old defendant eligible for life in prison for drug crimes under Federal Sentencing Guidelines. He was part of a 19-member federal drug conspiracy case in South Carolina.Facing life in prison, the goal was to get a reduced sentence. KatWalk Productions produced a 5-minute Sentencing Video with the defendant in prison, in which he appeals to the judge, telling her about his childhood, why he sold drugs, his regrets about that, and about leaving his children behind, how he urges his children not to do what he did, how he wishes he had stayed in school, how he wishes he had become a paramedic and not a convicted felon.He was sentenced to 11 years and court-ordered drug treatment.
2. Child Pornography-
A young man pled guilty to child pornography computer crimes, he is facing 10 years in federal prison.
The defendant is 22 -years old, yet appears to be only in his early teens. He has no priors, has never lived away from home, is a virgin, and comes from a strict religious home.
His defense attorney, treating psychologist, and his father, all fear for his physical and mental survival if he is sent to prison.
The goal is to convince the judge to consider an alternative sentence, rather than sending this young man to prison.
The Sentencing Video shows this young man’s physical fragility, his socially awkward and naive personality.
In this 9-minute Sentencing Video, this young defendant talks about his fears of going to prison, (he has been under house arrest), his dreams of learning and teaching languages, how sorry he is for causing trouble for his family, how he is not a threat to the community, how he “just likes cheering up people who are sad.”
On the Sentencing Video, a forensic psychologist tells the judge that due to his small physique the young defendant will be raped within his first 30 days if he is sent to prison. The psychologist (who is treating this defendant) explains to the judge that he believes this young man will be physically and mentally destroyed if he is sent to prison. The psychologist testifies that the defendant is not a threat to anyone in the community, is not aggressive, and that he would fare well under house arrest.
In this Sentencing Video, the defendant’s father also speaks to the judge, saying he regrets what his son has done, how he feels he has failed as a parent, how he plans to supervise his son much more closely, how uninformed the family is about life in prison; telling the judge, “I’ve heard that prisons are bad places and I don’t believe that prison is conducive to creating the productive human being,” that he hopes his son will become.
The sentencing hearing took place on January 15th 2013. The judge gave this defendant the lowest term possible, ordered this defendant to be kept out of the general prison population and into a federal sex offender therapy program. The judge said he reviewed the sentencing video to support his variance from the sentencing guidelines. The judge called this sentencing video a powerful tool.
3. Fraud / Bank / Mail –
An attorney/client pleads guilty to fraud. His Sentencing Video includes his comments, as well as those of his wife, who talks about home schooling their children so they could have the small children close by as they paint office walls and set up his office. The Sentencing Video also includes his father, grandfather, former paralegals, and his minister who tells the Judge that this client has been a faithful church member for many years whom he trusts implicitly. The video shows how this client and his family have suffered as a result of his actions.
These small, personal details never come out in a formal court sentencing hearing and which serve to make the client a real person to the Judge.
The Sentencing Video also addresses his promising future plans.
The Judge gave this client probation and he was allowed to keep his license to practice.
4. Falsifying Prescription Drug Rxs –
A defendant pleading guilty to falsifying drug prescriptions has a potential sentence of 10 to 15 years. This Sentencing Video shows how this client came by his addiction to painkillers due to a very real debilitating medical issue, that he never sold or profited from the false Rxs, that he never took ANY other drugs, and that he entered rehab of his own volition and successfully completed the program and began a productive family life.
The Judge gave this client a greatly reduced sentence to allow him to rejoin his family.
5. Reconsideration of Sentences –
A defendant convicted of DUI and sentenced to 7 years in prison. He has no priors, no criminal record, a clean traffic record, solid employment record, an entirely clean life except for one DUI which resulted in injuries.
The goal of this Sentencing Video is to urge the judge to reconsider the sentence by showing him all the good deeds this defendant has accomplished.
This Sentencing Video includes interviews with his distraught wife, his sister, elderly neighbors whom he has helped with chores for years, and several other friends and family character witnesses. All the interviews working to convince the judge that this defendant deserves another chance.
This case is pending.
Thinking Out of the Box: Other Uses for Sentencing Videos
Case Scenario: Defendant; an attorney who has pled guilty to financial fraud.
The Government has already agreed to probation and suspension of the defendant’s license to practice law.
But this defendant’s attorney has gone the extra mile. He commissioned a KatWalk Sentencing DVD to “have the Judge feel good about giving my client probation.”
In an 8-minute presentation, that Judge learned all about the real person, that he is not just “ another defendant”, from his wife, father, grandfather, minister, former paralegals, and friends. The Judge saw the defendant’s three young children, saw the ‘For Sale’ sign in front of the family’s house and heard from the remorseful defendant himself.
What did this DVD accomplish?
- The Judge WAS able to feel good about granting probation to this young family man.
- That Judge now knows when this defense attorney appears before him in the future, he can trust what that attorney tells him about his clients.
- That this defense attorney went above and beyond to get a good result for his client. Everyone else in that legal community becomes aware of this.