Posts Tagged 'sentencing'

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: .


“Veteran’s Court” in Novi District Court

Today marked the first sentencing in Novi District Court for the brand new program initiated by the Hon Brian MacKenzie.  Mr. Cassar had the privilege of being able to get a favorable sentencing for our client, a Vietnam War veteran, in the new Veteran’s Court program following a OUIL 2nd charge.  Additionally, this was the first such sentencing, as Mr. Cassar was  the first attorney to argue for and get this sentencing from Judge MacKenzie.  Veteran’s Court allows for veterans of the United States Armed Forces to receive a variety of programs and “perks” not otherwise available after sentencing in district court. 

For more information, please feel free to contact the Law Offices of Raymond Cassar at 248-855-0911 or via e-mail at

MI Court of Appeals clarifies Apprendi’s scope

On November 10, 2009 the US Court of Appeals in the 6th Circuit clarified the scope of the Apprendi and its reach in the MI sentencing guidelines through its recent decision in Chontos v. Berghuis.

The Defendant Chontos was found guilty of several laws, and the most serious offense – CSC 1st – carried a maximum statutory penalty of “imprisonment for life or any term of years.” MCL 750.520b(2)(b). MI Trial court imposed a 40 year maximum sentence and a 225 minimum.  Chontos appealed in state courts to no avail and his primary arguement on habeas was based on the MI trial court violating his 6th AM jury trial right by finding facts at sentencing that raised his minimum sentence.

The Court applied Harris v. United States and found that the Apprendi rule (any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt – 530 US 466, 490 [2000]) does not apply to judicial factfinding that increases the minimum sentence as along as the sentence does not exceed the applicable statutory maximum.  Specifically, the Court quoted that “[f]ocusing on Chonstos’s minimum sentence misses Apprendi’s point.”


ICLE contributions posted

Attorneys Ray Cassar and Sarah Blalock have been recently publicized on the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) website. 

As part of the “How to . . . Kit” attorney Ray Cassar shared some of his wisdom accumulated in 25 years of practice on conducting and preparing Walker hearings and arguments when dealing with confessions.  Attorney Sarah Blalock prepared a kit detailing the process of preparing  a client for the sentencing proceeding in felony cases.

The kits are available for viewing online on the ICLE website now. Both attorneys can be reached for questions at comments via email at and

US Sentencing Comission to meet

November 19 – 20 will hold another regional hearing of the the US Sentencing Comission meeting at the University of Texas. The meeting will be ran by the new chair of the USSC, Judge Sessions.   The agenda detailed in the link below shows a number of very important witnesses scheduled to testify regarding federal sentencing practices.  Here’s to hoping that the child porn guidelines arguments are revisited with some sort of defense oriented success…….