I was not prepared for my Presentence Investigation

By · Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Prior to the day my probation officer came to visit me in the Pierce County Jail, I did not have any knowledge about the presentence investigation. Part of the reason for my ignorance, I think, was that I had dismissed the attorney who had represented me during my criminal trial after I was convicted. Most defendants would have been forewarned by their defense attorneys that the probation officer would be scheduling a meeting to begin the presentence investigation.

Despite the guidance that a defense attorney might provide, I remain convinced that defendants would serve themselves well to learn as much about the presentence investigation as they can before they sit for the meeting. My interviews with people in prison have resulted in horror stories about how their ignorance of the presentence investigation resulted in longer prison terms and more difficult terms in confinement. As a consequence of their responses, some defendants I have met were charged with obstruction of justice, while others lost consideration for acceptance of responsibility because of their dissembling.

Some attorneys, on the other hand, invest the time necessary to prepare their clients for the presentence investigation. I spoke with one white collar offender who told me that his attorney spent four hours with him on the day before he was scheduled to meet with his probation officer. The attorney also accompanied him to the interview. Other defendants I’ve met with deep pockets have hired consultants to advise them on matters specific to the PSI and the report that follows the investigation.

Those who lack financial resources, however, frequently walk into meetings ill-equipped to respond to questions from their probation officer.

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One Response to “I was not prepared for my Presentence Investigation”

  1. dsantana says:

    “I was not prepared for my Presentence Investigation”
    1.Q: Michael,do you believe that in knowing what critical role the PSI plays in sentencing(and “prison journey”),if forewarned of your probation officer’s visit 21 years ago, do you think you would have been completely truthful. I mean if everything would have happened exactly the same except for the fact that you knew your p.o. was coming, would you have still told the truth or would you have fixed up a story?
    2.Q:Michael, you firmly believe that other inmates should be educated on the PSI to “prevent difficult terms in confinement”, now who do you firmly believe should educate them about the PSI, the attorney ,the p.o. or should it be done perhaps during arraignment??Why??