A couple weeks ago I wrote about the importance of the pre-pleading memorandum in getting better plea offers from stubborn prosecutors, or a lower promised sentence from New York State judges. Just 10 days later, the verdict is in: despite strong opposition by the prosecutors in the case of a celebrity restaurateur accused of Grand Larceny of nearly $850,000 of investor and employee funds, the judge offered a sentence of 4 months in prison (defendant to serve 3 1/2 months beginning in late June), significantly lower than the 1-3 years prison sentence offered by the prosecutors. The deal was accepted yesterday in Kings County Supreme Court.
While making this promised offer of sentence, the judge noted that he was “moved” by our submission and specifically mentioned the letters we submitted from the purported victims in the case — investors and employees alike — who asked the court to spare our client from jail, as well as the contemporaneous emails which, the court agreed, made clear that our client had been victimized by her codefendant as well. All of the submitted materials were carefully selected and provided the judge a positive side of the defendant which the indictment did not. For all of these reasons, the court dropped his sentencing offer considerably lower.
Good Lawyers Make a Difference
Our client’s codefendant was not only also offered the same 1-3 years in prison sentence by the Kings County prosecutors — but he was described by the prosecutors as less culpable than she was. His attorney, additionally, claimed that his client and ours played an “equal” role in the fraud — yet at the end of the day our client will serve less than a third of the jail time as her codefendant. Not surprisingly, while we submitted over 200 pages of a pre-plea submission to the judge, our codefendant’s attorney submitted nothing. His client spent over a year in jail, ours will serve four months. Lawyering matters.
As stated before, the pre-pleading submission is akin to a Hail Mary pass: when all else fails, it is another weapon in the inventive and resourceful top New York criminal defense attorney’s repertoire. Call the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman at (212) 581-1001 to discuss your case today.