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The Champion

November 2007 , Page 10 

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Tap Dancing Through the Minefield: Navigating the Presentence Process

By Jennifer Niles Coffin

Given the current state of the law, the presentence report generated by the probation office functions as the most powerful inertial force in the sentencing process. Defense counsel must continue to be actively engaged during the period between the finding of guilt and sentencing. Although this list is by no means exhaustive, below are some things to remember as your client navigates the shadowland between the guilty plea and sentencing.

Rule 32

Rule 32 sets forth the basic procedures governing the presentence interview and report process. First and foremost, defense counsel has a right to be present at the presentence interview. Although most probation officers provide notice as a matter of course, defense counsel should be aware that Rule 32 entitles counsel to notice and an opportunity to attend the interview only “upon request.”1 Always request notice and always attend the presentence interview.

After the interview, Rule 32(e) requires the probation office

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