- Character Reference: Demonstrating that you have made significant contributions to society can serve as a character reference and help present you in a more positive light. The court might consider your charitable actions as evidence that you have “rehabilitative potential” and are committed to making amends.
- Mitigation: Your defense attorney can present your philanthropic work as a mitigating factor during the sentencing phase. While it won’t negate the crime, it can show that you’ve taken steps to redeem yourself.
- Community Ties: Non-profit work and philanthropy can also demonstrate your strong ties to the community, which may help in arguing for a reduced sentence or alternatives to incarceration, such as community service or probation.
- Restorative Justice: Your involvement in charitable work may be seen as a form of restorative justice, where you’re making efforts to repair the harm caused by your actions. This can be particularly relevant if your philanthropy directly addresses the issues related to your white-collar crime.
- Positive Media Coverage: If your case has received media attention, your non-profit work and philanthropy might help in presenting a more balanced view of your character to the public.
- Sentencing Memoranda: Defense attorneys often submit a sentencing memorandum before the sentencing hearing. This document can highlight the defendant’s positive contributions to society, including non-profit and philanthropic work. Testimonials and letters from beneficiaries or organizations can strengthen the memorandum.
- Sentencing Recommendations: In federal cases, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines allow judges to consider a defendant’s history and characteristics, including charitable activity, in determining an appropriate sentence.
- Find the Right Charity or Non-Profit: Make sure that if you do donate your money to a charity or non-profit, it is a legitimate one. Just because it might have a qualified IRS letter doesn’t always mean that it is legitimate. And simply giving money to a non-profit by no means will sway a federal judge. You need to put your time and energy into whatever endeavor you decide is going to be helpful and something which you are passionate about.