Essentials of Federal Sentencing, with Lessons from the Manafort Case (Online Seminar)

MCLE Credits: 2.0
Ethics Credits Included: 0.0

MCLE Credit: 2.0 (Ethics: 0.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 0.0
VIDC Re-Certification Credit: 2.0 (VIDC Information)
Designation Credit: 2.0 Trial Practice/Litigation (Designations Information)
Price: $149 (Includes a downloadable audio version.)
Viewable Through: 06/30/2022


A pre-recorded streaming video replay of the June 2019 webcast, Essentials of Federal Sentencing, with Lessons from the Manafort Case.

Topics Covered

Federal criminal cases frequently boil down to sentencing as the government, prior to bringing federal charges, has overwhelming evidence to establish a client’s responsibility. In these circumstances, the case is often about mitigating the consequences. This course focuses on the mitigation of criminal penalties through plea negotiation, presentation of mitigation and preparing thorough positions on sentencing, and other sentencing issues such as downward variances, sentencing reductions due to a client’s substantial assistance, and client preparation for sentencing and allocution.

  • Learn federal sentencing essentials from the Manafort case
  • Learn and review common sentencing guideline issues in financial and drug cases
  • Understand the basics of federal criminal forfeiture and restitution
  • Review and receive sample positions on sentencing and other sentencing-related pleadings

Sentencing and mitigation is arguably the most critical part of federal criminal practice, as more than 95% of federal felony cases resolve with guilty pleas. In this course, Paul Manafort’s sentencings are used as a vehicle to understanding the sentencing guidelines, discussing variances, and preparing sentencing memoranda—often the most important pleading submitted in a federal case.

The sentencing memo not only presents legal argument regarding application of the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines, but often will be the primary method for the presentation of mitigation. This is frequently undervalued and makes a significant difference –– as it did for Manafort––in the sentence a defendant receives. Mitigating factors may explain, in whole or in part, the conduct and should be considered in fashioning a fair resolution and/or sentence. Mitigating factors can include lack of prior record, work and social history, family, contributions to the community and public service, military service (including PTSD and TBI), substance abuse and/or mental health issues, childhood trauma, immaturity and/or peer pressure, financial pressure, or even heat of passion. Mitigating factors can also be presented to prosecutors prior to and during plea negotiations and probation officers that prepare pre-sentence reports (PSRs) that are filed with the court.

The course will cover the actual sentencing argument before the court, the client’s allocution, as well as sentencing reductions for substance assistance through United States Sentencing Guideline § 5K1.1 (at the time of sentencing) and Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35 (after sentencing). It also will cover crucial, and often overlooked, sentencing-related forfeiture and restitution issues. Finally, it will explore the critical difference between charge-based sentencing under Virginia guidelines and conduct-based sentencing under the federal guidelines.

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Joseph King, King, Campbell & Poretz, PLLC / Alexandria

Joseph King’s criminal defense portfolio includes defending some of the area’s most significant murder cases (including Commonwealth v. Charles Severance and Commonwealth v. Craig Patterson) as well as defending federal white collar matters, federal and state drug offenses, and DUI/DWI allegations. His work in criminal defense has been recognized by top regional publications The Washingtonian (Best Lawyers—December 2015, 2013, and 2011 issues) and Northern Virginia magazine (Best Lawyers—December 2016 and 2014 issues) as well as Virginia Super Lawyers. Prior to establishing his private legal practice in 2008, Mr. King worked as an attorney at the Alexandria Office of the Public Defender (2004–2008), which has a number of alumni recognized among the Washington, DC, metro area’s top trial lawyers. During his time as a public defender, he diligently worked on behalf of his indigent clients and attended the respected Trial Practice Institute at the National Criminal Defense College in Macon, Georgia. Mr. King received his juris doctorate cum laude from The University of Michigan Law School in 2003. He earned a master’s degree in History from George Mason University in 1996 and a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Mary Washington College in 1992.

Jeffrey D. Zimmerman, Jeffrey Zimmerman, PLLC / Alexandria

Jeffrey Zimmerman has over 20 years of experience representing individuals facing a broad range of criminal charges, from white collar prosecutions to capital cases. He also specializes in defending individuals and entities in civil and criminal forfeiture matters. He has been named in the list of preeminent lawyers in the field of criminal defense by Virginia Super Lawyers and as a Top Criminal Defense Lawyer by Northern Virginia magazine. He is a frequent speaker on forfeiture litigation and federal criminal matters. He has been featured in various media including the New York Times, National Public Radio, and CNN. Mr. Zimmerman is a life member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and has served on its Board of Directors since 2014. In 2015, he received NACDL‘s President’s Commendation for distinguished service. Mr. Zimmerman is a graduate of American University, Washington College at Law, where he has also served as Adjunct Faculty. He received his undergraduate degree, with a major in Biology and minor in Theater, from Oberlin College.

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