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More what to do if you are busted...


After you plead guilty you will be dragged from the quiet and comfort of your prison cell to meet with a probation officer. This has absolutely nothing to do with getting probation. Quite the contrary. The P.O. is empowered by the court to prepare a complete and, in theory, unbiased profile of the defendant. Everything from education, criminal history, psychological behavior, offense characteristics plus more will be included in this voluminous and painfully detailed report about your life. Every little dirty scrap of information that makes you look like a sociopathic, demon worshiping, loathsome criminal will be included in this report. They'll put a few negative things in there as well. 

My advice is simple. Be careful what you tell them. Have your attorney present and think about how what you say can be used against you. Here's an example: 

P.O.: Tell me about your education and what you like to do in your spare time. 

Mr. Steal: I am preparing to enroll in my final year of college. In my spare time I work for charity helping orphan children.

The PSR then reads "Mr. Steal has never completed his education and hangs around with little children in his spare time."

Get the picture?


Pro Se or Pro Per is when a defendant represents himself. A famous lawyer once said "a man that represents himself has a fool for a client." Truer words were never spoken. However, I can't stress how important it is to fully understand the criminal justice system. Even if you have a great attorney it's good to be able to keep an eye on him or even help out. An educated client's help can be of enormous benefit to an attorney. They may think you're a pain in the ass but it's your life. Take a hold of it. Regardless, representing yourself is generally a mistake. 

However, after your appeal, when your court appointed attorney runs out on you, or you have run out of funds, you will be forced to handle matters yourself. At this point there are legal avenues, although quite bleak, for post-conviction relief. 

But I digress. The best place to start in understanding the legal system lies in three inexpensive books. First the Federal Sentencing Guidelines ($14.00) and Federal Criminal Codes and Rules ($20.00) are available from West Publishing at 800-328-9 352. I consider possession of these books to be mandatory for any pretrial inmate. Second would be the Georgetown Law Journal, available from Georgetown University Bookstore in Washington, DC. The book sells for around $40.00 but if you write them a letter and tell them you're a Pro Se litigant they will send it for free. And last but not least the definitive Pro Se authority, "The Prisoners Self Help Litigation Manual"  $29.95 ISBN 0-379-20831-8. Or try http://www.oceanalaw.com/books/n148.htm 


If you disagree with some of the information presented in the presentence report (PSR) you may be entitled to a special hearing. This can be instrumental in lowering your sentence or correcting your PSR. One important thing to know is that your PSR will follow you the whole time you are incarcerated. The Bureau of Prisons uses the PSR to decide how to handle you. This can affect your security level, your halfway house, your eligibility for the drug program (which gives you a year off your sentence) ,and your medical care. So make sure your PSR is accurate before you get sentenced! 


In most cases it will be necessary to formally ask the court to have your property returned. They are not going to just call you up and say "Do you want this Sparc Station back or what?" No, they would just as soon keep it and not asking for it is as good as telling them they can have it. 

You will need to file a 41(e) "Motion For Return Of Property." The courts' authority to keep your stuff is not always clear and will have to be taken on a case-by-case basis. They may not care and the judge will simply order that it be returned. 

If you don't know how to write a motion, just send a formal letter to the judge asking for it back. Tell him you need it for your job. This should suffice, but there may be a filing fee. 

More what to do when you are busted--->>

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