Sentence Mitigation Advice from Federal Judge Mark W. Bennett
US District Court Judge Mark Bennett offered invaluable guidance on Sentence Mitigation. I met Judge Bennett when I was invited to speak at a symposium discussing mass incarceration. I told him about my work to help people prepare for the best possible sentence, and to have the best possible experience in prison. After telling him about the Earning Freedom podcast and webinar, I invited Judge Bennett to participate as a guest on the show. Without a doubt, as a sitting federal judge, he could offer invaluable insight into sentencing and strategies for sentence mitigation.
During the 35 minute interview, I asked Judge Bennett to respond to the following questions:
- What have you learned from sentencing more than 4,000 people?
- In what ways does the defendant’s version of events on the PSR influence your thinking at sentencing?
- What influence do a defendant’s character-reference letters have on your sentencing decisions?
- In what ways do psychological evaluations influence your decision at sentencing?
- Can you elaborate on how the number of people appearing on behalf of a defendant at sentencing influences your decision on sentencing?
- What thoughts do you have about the importance of a defendant’s allocution?
- How has the number of stories you’ve heard from defendants over the years influenced your perceptions?
- In what ways would making efforts toward restitution prior to sentencing influence your decision?
- How can defense attorneys best help their clients during sentencing?
- What steps can defendants take to prepare for the best outcome?
- What have you learned from visiting people in prison?
- In what ways can a person’s adjustment and behavior in prison influence decisions judges make when they have an opportunity to review the defendant’s case a second time?
- When deliberating requests for early termination of Supervised Release, what factors influence your decision?
- Many of the people who watch our program are in prison. Based on all you’ve during decades as a federal judge, what advice might you offer to them about positioning themselves for the best possible outcome?
I hope that defendants and attorneys find value in this interview. If you do, please visit my YouTube channel and leave an honest review.