What Is a Proffer Agreement
The type of protection offered is usually detailed in a letter of offer and can sometimes be negotiated by the advocate. Whatever the conditions, it is important that you understand them before going to a submission session. Offers are also sometimes used by defense lawyers to convince the prosecutor not to lay charges. This may be the case if the person`s role in the criminal activity is weak or if there are significant weaknesses in the case of the prosecutor`s office that cannot be easily corrected. By informing the prosecutor of these facts during an informal poffer session, the defense lawyer can convince the prosecutor to save resources by not filing formal charges. In my opinion, people who have not been exposed for criminal purposes should not make offers. It is important to understand that the number of people (of interest to the government) who fall into the “no exposure” category in a typical white-collar study is very small or infinitely small. (An eyewitness to a bank robbery has no exposure. An eyewitness to a bank fraud plan is often an employee who supports or supports or has covered up the system. All a jury needs to convict you of aiding and abetting an illegal fraud scheme is: 1) your knowledge of the illegal system; and 2) any action on your part, no matter how small, that has fostered this program.
In order not to face criminal charges in a white-collar criminal case, your conduct must be the same as that of the classic innocent bystander in a bank robbery. However, if you and your experienced business lawyer are sure that you are completely exposure-free and the government wants to question you, you must first decide if you want to comply with the request. If you refuse an interview, AUSA can either ignore you or subpoena you to testify before the grand jury or in court. If you are subpoenaed, you can answer questions under the oath of an enemy prosecutor or refuse to testify unless you are granted immunity. If you really have no exposure, you theoretically have no right to demand immunity. But how can you really be sure, during a white-collar exam, that you don`t have any exposures? What happens if other witnesses, subjects or targets who have not yet made statements end up involving you or contradicting your version of events? When you invoke Fifth Amendment privilege to incriminate yourself, it is extremely difficult, from a practical point of view, for the government to force you to testify without granting you immunity. On the other hand, if you agree to be questioned by the government, with your lawyer at your side throughout the session, the interview must be conducted without an offer agreement. That way, in the extremely unlikely event that something goes wrong and you are charged, you can present yourself to the jury as such a blameless and innocent person that she voluntarily spoke to the government unconditionally. In the much more likely event that the interview goes as planned and you become a government witness, the defendant`s lawyer will not be able to charge you for the terms of the offer agreement. Here are some important questions to consider when deciding whether or not to attend an offer session: Through television and movies, most people know that prosecutors often do business or enter into agreements with people who are under investigation, that the person under investigation is exempt from prosecution, or that they reduce charges in exchange for providing information to the government. is granted. Of course, the details of these negotiations are dramatized for narrative reasons; The reality of the situation is much more complex, especially in criminal economic investigations.
Almost all immunity or advocacy agreements begin with an offer agreement. But there are even more risks to offer. Virtually all supply agreements allow the government to use your statements against you for impeachment purposes if you take a stand in subsequent proceedings and testify in contradiction with your offer. And the version of the offer that compares to your testimony in court to see if you should be charged is the version that has been interpreted and written by government agents. More worryingly, in recent years, many price agreements drafted by the government allow your statements against you to be used if any part of your defense, including the questions your lawyer asks government witnesses during cross-examination, is inconsistent with your offer. These agreements drafted in general terms, systematically confirmed at the level of the Federal Court, can effectively deprive you of the right to present a defence in court if your expected immunity or appeal agreement does not materialize after the offer. What for? Because if any part of your defense is found to be incompatible with your offer and that offer charges you in any way, the entire offer will be allowed against you in court. This may put your lawyer in the unenviable position of not challenging important parts of the government`s case, refusing to cross-examine certain witnesses, and not taking the witness stand to prevent your prejudicial testimony from coming before the jury. Proposed offer agreements submitted to you for signature by your lawyer and lawyer should be reviewed with the utmost care. Second, cooperation can be prudent when a defendant`s litigation risks are significant, and by cooperating, it could gain meaningful recognition of its cooperation. This credit could mean that the cooperating person cannot be charged with a crime, or that the person could be charged with a lesser crime, or that cooperation could eliminate or minimize a prison sentence.