A Florida woman who is currently serving a 21-year sentence for using other taxpayers’ identities to file false tax returns may be able to have her sentence reduced after a successful appeal of her case. The reason for the appeal in her case was that the judge made a sentencing mistake. Although she may be able to have her sentence reduced, the amount of the reduction—if indeed the sentence is reduced at all—is still to be determined.
The woman is scheduled to have a hearing with the trial judge on the correct application of federal sentencing guidelines in her case. Although it is possible that she will have her sentence reduced, it is also possible she could receive the same sentence because of the sentencing range attached to her offenses.
The case is a reminder of why it is important to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney at trial and upon appeal. One of the tasks of a criminal defense attorney is to ensure that issues which arise during trial or in the sentencing phase, such as the application of federal sentencing guidelines, are preserved on the record so that they can be appealed and corrected later on.
There are, of course, a variety of procedural and substantive issues that can form the basis of an appeal. Those which are more difficult for criminal defendants to grasp are usually the procedural ones. Whatever legal issues the case may involve, an experienced criminal defense attorney is not only able to identify these issues as they arise, but to work at building a solid record at trial so that an appeals court is able to consider the issue later on.
The attorneys at our firm are committed to providing our clients with the best possible defense in every way possible, including building a thorough record at trial to preserve issues for appeal.
Source: The Tampa Tribune, “Tampa tax fraud ‘queen’ may have sentence reduced,” Elaine Silvestrini, Dec. 9, 2014.