2 Crim. Just. J. 271 (1978-1979)
The Privately Commissioned Pre-Sentence Report: A Multidisciplinary Approach

handle is hein.journals/tjeflr2 and id is 277 raw text is: THE PRIVATELY COMMISSIONED PRE-SENTENCE
REPORT: A MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH
Thomas A. Rodgerst
G. Thomas Gitchoff*
Ivar 0. Paur* *
I. INTRODUCTION
It is particularly distressing that many attorneys for the defense,
who have proven themselves competent as to the facts and law
in the case at trial . . . display on sentence hardly more than a
faint glimmer as to who their clients really are as human be-
ings.'
The sentiment expressed above of Federal District Court Judge
Irving Ben Cooper is shared by many of his colleagues on both the
federal and state benches. Attorneys often deal with sentencing as
merely ancillary to the judicial process. Although not impervious to
the plight of their clients, many criminal defense attorneys restrict their
role during sentencing to that of assailing the probation report. Since
only the facts are placed on record during the guilt phase of the pro-
ceedings, the attorney will emphasize any mitigating circumstances
with the goal of keeping his client from serving time in an institution.
However, the judge when imposing sentence must consider factors
outside the scope of those presented by the attorney. Predictions of
dangerousness, the treatment or rehabilitation potential of the of-
fender, the limited resources of the correctional system, retribution,
and the political realities of the sentencing process are but a few of the
factors weighed by the bench in the sentencing decision.
An attorney who fails to meet the concerns of the bench during
sentencing will in many cases leave the judge with only the probation
report to which to turn. Unless it is a particularly notorious case, the
probation department, with its limited resources and often staggering
case load, frequently is not able to adequately assess the needs of the
t M.D.-Psychiatrist, private practice, San Diego; Director, Psychiatry & Law
Center.
* D. Crim., University of California, Berkeley, Clinical Criminologist, Psychiatry &
Law Center.
* M.S., Staff Member, Psychiatry & Law Center.
1. Cooper, United States v. Unterman: The Role of Counsel at Sentencing, 13
CRIM.L.BUL. 101, 113 (1977).

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