When you take a client, you must prepare for sentencing from the first meeting. An easy and effective technique to acquire mitigating sentencing evidence is to provide your client and his family with a simple character witness form. Instruct your client’s family to provide the form to every friend, co-worker, family member, or employer of your client, and ask them to complete and return the form to you. Not only will this impress your client and his family, but it will also:
- provide you with quality, identifiable character witnesses for sentencing, whom you can later easily contact and subpoena;
- provide you in advance with the witness’ answers to your character questions, saving you from interviewing the witness in the courthouse hallway;
- allow you to insert the character witness statements into your client’s presentence report if your client pleads; and
- enhance your credibility by showing the judge and prosecutor that you are on your game.