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Pre-sentence Investigations - Research Paper Example

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The major weaknesses of this study are concentrated on the issue of presentencing investigation. The research includes related literature such as “Pre-sentencing tips:  little things that can make a big difference” by M. Auten, M. Hasbun, & A. Mebane…
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Pre-sentence Investigations
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A pre-sentence investigation usually consists of three elements. These elements, according to the article “Presentence Investigation” (2012), include: an interview with the defendant; a review of the defendant’s criminal record; and a review of the specific facts of the crime (pgh. 3).
The interview could be the most important element that would save one’s client from being needlessly harangued in the courts. According to Auten, Hasbun and Mebane (2009), “Having a well-prepared client can have a substantial impact on the sentencing outcome” (pgh. 2). It is of elemental priority that one’s client be absolutely prepared for any kind of questions that could come to light in the presentencing interview. One’s client should be regaled in an innocent light as possible, in order to ensure that the client gets the shortest sentence possible. After all, now that the client has been convicted as having been guilty, the presentencing interview can go a long way in terms of deciding whether the client stays in jail for 2 months or 2 years. Depending upon the seriousness of the crime, whether it was a misdemeanor or a felony—and also upon federal and state sentencing guidelines—there are many variables which can affect the sentencing. Therefore, the presentencing interview cannot be underestimated. It is an integral part of representing one’s client and this opportunity should not be wasted.
Secondly, there is a review of the defendant’s criminal record. Someone with no prior criminal record may get a less severe punishment, especially if the crime is relegated to a misdemeanor. However, someone who has a long rap sheet and commits a serious crime like a felony is more likely to be seen as a threat to society. On the other hand, if the jails are full—and the person’s crime is relatively minor like a misdemeanor—another misdemeanor is not going to look suspicious on the criminal record of a career criminal who has only been committing minor offenses. Thus, such a person might actually have an easier time of it than someone who has a longer rap sheet with a more violent history.
Third, a review of the specific facts of the crime is another element that may have one of the greatest impact on the sentencing of the defendant. On a scale of 1 to 10, the defendant’s actions might be looked at in light of the seriousness of said actions. For example, one benchmark might be how many people were injured or killed due to the defendant’s actions. Was there significant property damage as well? What is the psychological state of the defendant, according to the types of actions that were committed? For example, if someone robbed a bank and just stole property—money—that defendant would have a markedly less severe sentence than someone who not only robbed a bank, but also shot one or more tellers. The second example would demonstrate a lack of respect for human life, and therefore the judge would be encouraged to seek the maximum penalty available according to sentencing guidelines—of course, taking into account the various factors relevant to the case.
There are several parts of the presentencing investigation that are key to keeping a defendant in jail for as little time as possible, but the main ones include: the presentencing interview; a review of the defendant’s criminal history; and the details surrounding the case.
Auten, M., Hasbun, M., & Mebane, A. (2009). Pre-sentencing tips: little things that can make a big
difference. Available: .
Presentence investigation. (2012). Available:
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