December 30, 2014

Last To The Party!

Through my work I learn so much about the human condition and what drives us. For example, I can tell you that most of the people that reach out to me tell me that their highest priority is their family and maintaining their freedom. Actually, I would argue 99% of the people that reach out to me say just that. Makes sense, right? When in struggle we often reflect on what matters most to us.

But when I dive deeper into their recent behaviors it is clear that family and freedom are not their highest values. Rather, engaging in half-truths and staying stuck in denial consumes their days. Worse, while engaging in self destructive actions they do not realize how they are influencing what they claim to value most. Namely, their family and freedom.

Yesterday, for example, I received a frantic call from a prospect in the northeast. This young man is not enjoying the holiday time. As I picked up the phone to say, “Hello, this is Justin” I realized I had seen this number on my phone before–I have a thing for looking up a city when I do not know the area code. In a matter of a second, or as I was saying hello, I remember him telling me on our first call that there were many players in his case, and that rather than run to take a deal and cooperate, he would wait. Yes, he also told me freedom and family were his highest values.

As it turns out he was pretty much last to the party. When he decided to come around prosecutors had very little need for him. It might sound sickening to some, but sometimes those that are more complicit receive shorter sentences than those who were involved tangentially. The justice system is both twisted and warped.

On our call I reminded this young man that it was never too late to take action. I believe that. I waited and wasted a lot of money before taking aggressive steps to improve my outcome. For that reason I empathize with the pain he is feeling during this holiday time. This is not easy, I know.

Several minutes into the call he said, “I won’t wait any longer–let’s move forward.”

“You ready to go all in,” I wondered.

“I am.”

I am confident that my new client will be better prepared for the road ahead. He will immediately begin working more honestly with counsel, and we will make substantive efforts to ensure the government views him differently than his criminal conduct, which by all measures was aberrational. After the new year we will begin planning for the pre sentence investigation, some charity work to keep him active, letters of support (effective ones with a strategy behind them), which federal prison might be best given his circumstances, and also discuss the residential drug abuse program, halfway house, federal probation and more. We must always be focusing on serving the shortest sentence in the best possible environment.

I have gotten some heat from others for saying this, but here it goes: My programs are not right for everyone. Tell me someone who has succeeded without hard work. If someone is looking for an elixir to make this all better, I am not the guy. There are plenty of people out there who will sell that vision–of great results without aggressive action–but I am not one of them. If you are not prepared to act don’t hire them or me.

To close, I shared this story because my new client asked me to. In his own way he hopes others can learn from his decisions. He admitted he had been on my blog for months (loves David Applegate’s blogs) and had picked up the phone several more times to call me, but stopped. He was finally ready. Now, he can finally mean it when he says family and freedom are his highest priorities. Time to get to work!

Justin Paperny




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