Spotlight On: Daniel P. Marcus

Please tell us something about your background, where you practice, and how long you have been a criminal defense lawyer.

I retired as Vice-President of an automotive supplier in 1983, took the LSAT and went to Wayne Law School.  I graduated in 1986 and went to work for SADO’s Legal Resources Project, now the Criminal Defense Resource Center.  This was pre-computers, and I was the one who fielded the information phone calls.  In 1995, I decided I wanted to do court appearances and went to work for a prominent defense attorney.  I also did some free-lance work, and, around 2002, a friend put me together with an immigration attorney, Roger Rathi, and it was a perfect match.  We have worked together ever since.

You have had some success with presenting sentencing memoranda; please tell us why they are important, and what things should be included.

I have always believed that judges should be made aware that the defendant is a real person and not just another case passing through his or her court.  Thus, I have developed a basic memo that presents the defendant’s background, how he came to be before the court, why his sentence should be personalized addressing the goals of our criminal  justice system.

Please tell about one of your interesting or unusual cases.

I had a very difficult child pornography case where I believed the guidelines for the conduct involved were vastly disproportionate for my client.  There were a great many mitigating factors and, when I was first retained, I made sure he sought immediate treatment for what I perceived to be childhood-induced psychological factors that caused his desire to view (that’s really all he did) child pornography.  My memo addressed the guidelines factors and pointed out how they did not take into account the different types of offenders.  I reviewed his personal history and all the positive things in his life that negated incarceration.  His guidelines were 72-87 months.  The Judge considered everything and departed from the guidelines, giving him probation with no incarceration.  Thankfully, he had a com-passionate Judge.

What were the main issues?

Assuring the client got the best sentence he could.  Guilt was evident and a trial was not a consideration.

What advice do you have for other defense attorneys? Any special advice for new attorneys?

Care about your clients!  Good people sometimes do bad things.  Your clients need the best representation you can give them, making sure that if a guilty plea is the best result, whatever the punishment, it is the best that you can obtain.

New attorneys should join CDAM and take advantage of SADO’s services.

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