Pre-Sentence Report

A Judge uses a pre-sentence report to help decide the defendant’s punishment for the crime. The pre-sentence report is made by probation officers. The report is made after the conviction and before the date for Sentencing in felony and serious misdemeanor cases.

A probation officer (or a social worker or psychologist working for the probation department) interviews the defendant and checks the defendant’s criminal record. The probation officer may talk to the crime victim, the arresting officer, and the defendant’s family and friends. The pre-sentence report includes a statement about what happened, the defendant’s personal history and criminal record and a Victim Impact Statement. The report makes recommendations for sentencing.

The pre-sentence report is a chance for the defendant’s lawyer to say good things about the defendant, like that the defendant is in a counseling program or has a steady job and takes care of an ailing family member. The pre-sentence interview is a chance for the defendant to try to make a good impression and explain why he or she deserves a lighter punishment. The pre-sentence report is also a chance for a crime victim to explain how he or she has suffered and what he or she has lost.

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