Welcome back to Attorney Paz’s rants of a criminal defense attorney! This week, I want to talk about probation officers, specifically in the context of pre-sentence investigations. Because, probation officers, when they’re monitoring you, is a whole other can of worms and probably the subject of another rant. Probation officers may play a role in your case, which you can learn more about here. To watch my video on this subject, check out my Facebook page.
In the context of a pre-sentence interview, probation officers sit you down and they want to be your best friend. They say, “oh, we’re a neutral third party, we don’t take sides. We just want to collect all the evidence because the warrants, they don’t have everything about you in there, and the judge only knows about you based on what’s in the warrant and that’s it. We’re going to collect all the information so that the judge has it all and can make an informed decision for sentencing.”
These are lies, and they are lying to your face when they say that they’re a neutral third party. In effect, they are actually just second prosecutors, because while it is true that they do collect all of the information, like your school history, work history, family background, medical background, things like that, and put it into a report form, the end of their report contains what is called a recommendation – whether you should be recommended for just probation, no probation at all, or incarceration plus probation, or incarceration only. These recommendations are almost always based solely on the information that is in the police reports and the warrants.
When they say to you, “oh well, the judge doesn’t have everything, and you’re not all that’s just in the warrant, and there’s more to you than just that,” they’re lying. All of their recommendations and their summaries and the basis for their recommendations are based solely on the warrant, solely on what you allegedly did in the police reports, and it’s not based on any other information.
So, when you go and sit down for a pre-sentence interview, most of the times we waive it because it’s just useless, but sometimes when there’s an argument for a cap with the right to argue for less or you’ve been convicted after a trial and you’re going to be sentenced, the pre-sentence investigation is mandatory. But don’t go in there thinking that these people are your friends and that they’re going to write a positive report for you. That never happens. All that they do is summarize what’s in the warrant and then their recommendations are based solely on what is in the warrants.
So, that’s my rant for the day. If you have any questions about that, give me a call, email me, [email protected], and as always, take care, don’t get arrested, and see you soon.