Criminal Defense of Immigrants


§ 8.22 (B)

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(B)  Forms of Persuasion.  A number of suggestions have been made for persuading the prosecution to agree to a disposition that is favorable to the defendant:


                (1)  Focus on weaknesses of the prosecution’s case, and strengths of the defenses.


                (2)  Point out how stale the offense is, or that there is a history of failure to enforce this particular statute.


                (3)  Argue no one cares whether this offense is prosecuted.


                (4)  Emphasize mitigating circumstances.


                (5)  Show the relative lack of harm resulting from the offense.


                (6)  Point out the defendant’s lack of culpability relative to codefendants.


                (7)  Argue the real possibility the defendant is innocent of the offense.


                (8)  Describe the defendant’s admirable background and character.


                (9)  Minimize or excuse the defendant’s prior criminal history.


                (10)  Suggest the defendant is guilty, if at all, only of lesser included offenses.


                (11)  Push for pretrial diversion or other noncriminal dispositions or lenient sentence choices.


                (12)  Show the special harshness of a plea for this particular defendant and the defendant’s innocent family, particularly the consequences of deportation.


                (13)  Suggest the case is really a civil dispute.


                (14)  Emphasize the defendant’s willingness and ability to cooperate with the prosecutor or police.


                (15)  Convince the prosecutor of the defendant’s willingness and ability to make restitution to the victim  Beware of aggravated felony deportation consequences of fraud offenses with a loss to the victim in excess of $10,000.[66]


                (16)  Show special circumstances that justify departing from the normal policy in similar cases.


                (17)  Show the defendant’s remorse and willingness to accept responsibility for his actions.


                (18)  Discredit the motives of the complaining witness, and argue the witness is partly responsible for the offense.


                (19)  Mention any police impropriety, such as illegal search, and state the defendant is willing to forego any potential civil remedies.


                (20)  Argue that the trial process may have an adverse impact on vulnerable witnesses.


                (21)  Suggest the court may take a lenient attitude toward sentence.


(22)        Distinguish this case from other similar cases.[67]


[66] INA § 101(a)(43)(M)(i), 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(M)(i).  See § 19.74, infra.

[67] G. Herman, Plea Bargaining § 7:11, pp. 93-94 (2d ed. 2004).