Posts Tagged 'felony'

Arenas sentenced

Well, Judge Morin from the DC Superior Court imposed his much awaited sentence on superstar Gilbert Arenas today.  As mentioned in the earlier post, Arenas faced charges on one count of a felony gun possession of an unregistered firearm in DC.  Prosecutors had asked for a three months jail sentence for Arenas, whose sentencing guidelines were 6 to 24 months in jail due to his two prior misdemeanors on his record. 

Ultimately, Arenas was sentenced to two years probation, which includes 30 days in halfway house and 400 hours of community service. He is also required to register as a gun offender and donate $5,000 to fund for victims of violent crimes. Arenas appeared to be remorseful and told Judge Morin that “every day [I] wish this never happened.”  Arenas’ attorneys sought to avoid any jail time by seeking  probation and community service, arguing the incident was a misguided prank with no intention to harm anyone. Further arguments on Arenas’ behalf were  that the guns were unloaded, that Arenas’ lighthearted comments about the incident were misinterpreted, and that he’s a good role model who excelled at community service throughout his good fortunes in the NBA.

Finally, for those out there who choose to take advantage or are forced to go down a plea deal route, it is very important to note what Judge Morin pointed out during his sentencing.  He said that an important factor was that he truly believed Arenas was remorseful.  Acceptance of responsibility is a huge factor taken into account by virtually all judges in every jurisdiction.  Accordingly, prior to every sentencing hearing, a good criminal defense attorney will prepare their clients, and make sure that they understand all the factors that will be addressed and taken into account by the judge.

Attorney Raymond Cassar is a Detroit Area Criminal Defense attorney who has twenty years of experience in State & Federal Court. His office is happy to give advice regarding all criminal matters. You may learn more about Attorney Raymond Cassar and his team of attorneys by visiting his website at:  http://www.crimlawattorney.com .

Why Former Detroit Councilwoman Monica Conyers is Going to Prison

Former Detroit Councilwoman Monica Conyers received a 37 month federal prison sentence for her role in the Detroit City Council Corruption case.  She is scheduled to self surrender to the designated Federal facility sometime in July.  Many people are asking “how” and “why” she received such a tough sentence.  And everyone is wondering if she will actually serve that “hard time” in prison . . . or just “get off easy” like many other celebrities and public officials.

Here’s the real story of what happened, and why, from the perspective of an experienced Detroit area criminal defense attorney.

In the Federal Court System the Judges have Sentencing Guidelines that they look to, in order to impose an appropriate sentence.  But, every Federal attorney knows that these guidelines are no longer mandatory. The sentencing guidelines are now advisory. This means that the Judge actually could have imposed probation or home confinement for Monica.  Perhaps that is what her attorney was hoping for. Clearly, Monica appeared to be expecting nothing more severe than probation. 

But Monica’s biggest problem was that she was never taught to say “I Am Sorry for What I Did”.  Even as she was being sentenced by highly respected Federal Judge Avern Cohn, she continually displayed her defiant and contemptuous attitude toward our Justice System, the Federal Court and, unfortunately, toward the City of Detroit.  As a result, the wise Judge exercised his authority to “throw the book at her.”

Monica Conyers was certainly incredulous when Judge Avern Cohn actually sentenced her to a prison term.  That is why she kept telling everyone who cared to listen that she would “appeal” the sentence.  What the public needs to know is that she has little grounds for an appeal. This is because the Plea Agreement she signed (under “Rule 11”) precluded an appeal if the Judge sentenced her within a “Guideline” sentence.  It is clear that the Judge did just that.  In other words, since Judge Cohn did impose a sentence within the “guidelines” of the applicable law, Conyers has given up her right to appeal.

Will this stop her lawyers from trying to appeal? It probably won’t. But in all probability, it will prevent them from doing so successfully.

Monica’s attitude through this whole ordeal did not ring well with the Judge or the citizens of Detroit.  Perhaps some humility or contrition on her part may have moved the Judge to impose a lighter sentence – since it was within his discretion to sentence her to something short of prison.  But it was clear from her demeanor throughout the entire process that Monica has little if any real remorse, even though her attorney probably urged her to show at least some contrition. 

It is a well known fact that the American public has a short memory, and an uncanny ability to forgive public personalities who let us down – especially if they exercise a little humility and publicly apologize. There is tremendous power in saying I am sorry.  Even skeptics will agree that it is a lot easier to forgive those who humble themselves and say they are sorry.  It is something we all can relate to, since we all make mistakes.

But Monica Conyers obviously feels that saying she is sorry to the City of Detroit is a sign of weakness. And, as a result, she will now be vacationing in prison.

Monica, you just don’t get it!

Attorney Raymond Cassar is a Detroit Area Criminal Defense attorney who has twenty years of experience in State & Federal Court. His office is happy to give advice regarding criminal matters. You may learn more about Attorney Raymond Cassar by visiting his website at:  http://www.crimlawattorney.com .

CBS producer pleads guilty to a lesser offense in extortion case against Letterman

On March 9th, 2010, Robert “Joe” Halderman, a former CBS television producer, pleaded guilty to attempted grand larceny, acknowledging he attempted to fraudulently obtain $2 million from the late-night host David Letterman. He threatened to destroy Letterman’s reputation by airing his workplace transgressions – using information authorities have said he acquired from a former girlfriend’s diary.

The plea deal by Halderman spares him a potential 15 years in prison had he been convicted at a trial. The 52-year-old is due instead to get a six-month jail sentence and 1,000 hours of community service. Under this plea agreement, Halderman must turnover to the prosecutors all copies of any diary entries, photos, screenplay notes or other materials he has concerning Letterman and must agree to a full proof confidentiality agreement to never disclose such private information.

As part of the plea deal, Halderman had to apologize to Letterman.  Furthermore, while reading from his prepared statement to the court, the judge had to ask him to slow down for the court to be able to properly understand his statement. Halderman was struggling financially after a messy divorce, and that played a large part in his ploy against Letterman to gain some financial credibility.

Attorney Raymond Cassar is a well known Detroit Area Criminal Defense attorney who has over twenty years of experience in State & Federal Court.  His office is happy to give advice regarding criminal matters. You may learn more about Attorney Raymond Cassar by visiting his website at:  http://www.crimlawattorney.com .