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He understands the complexities and unique challenges that confront those who are facing charges at the federal level. If you have been charged or may be charged with a federal crime, your best move is to contact us and ensure that you have skilled legal counsel on your side. The vast majority of criminal cases in the United States are handled at the state level.
This is reflected in the more than 30 million cases that are filed each year at the state level versus only about 1 million at the federal level. But even though any U. The biggest mistake that we see among clients is the failure to recognize the seriousness of their situation until it is too late to mount an effective defense. Once a client has been convicted of a federal crime, the chance of a successful appeal is dramatically less than the chance that they could have had their charges reduced, sentence sharply cut or their case dropped altogether by having contacted us the second they suspected that they may be under the eye of a federal agency.
While federal crimes tend to involve physical violence much less frequently than state crimes, the sentences that are handed down can be more severe than those received by violent felons at the state level. Additionally, federal sentences are subject to strict completion mandates. Federal inmates are eligible for a 15 percent good-time reduction.
But this only means that someone who receives a year federal prison sentence might be released after eight and a half years. All of this means that avoiding a federal felony conviction should always be the priority. Those charged in federal court also form a considerably different profile from those at the state level.
People who are charged in federal court tend to be far better educated as well as occupying higher social strata. They are frequently respected members of their communities and often have no prior criminal convictions. These factors can also lead those who are targeted by federal investigations to underestimate the potential severity of the situations they face. But the frequently non-violent nature and respectable qualities of the targets of white-collar and other federal criminal investigations belies the potentially life-destroying consequences that not fighting these charges with every available legal weapon can easily bring.
Federal investigations tend to be slower but also far more thorough than investigations by city or county police departments. And because federal cases require evidence sufficiently strong to secure a grand-jury indictment, federal agencies tend not to pursue investigations unless they know that they can build a case that is strong enough to both get an indictment and win a conviction.
While not all federal cases that are lost at trial result in draconian sentencing, the types of crimes that are prosecuted in federal court are usually those that have serious social ramifications, such as undermining the public trust in financial institutions or publicly traded companies as well as crimes involving the distribution of dangerous drugs or those that threaten the foundations of the U.
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These crimes are viewed as serious threats to the broad public order. And those who are found guilty of committing these crimes are often handed decades-long sentencing as a conspicuous deterrent. Federal court is also the only jurisdiction that routinely hands out determinate life sentences for non-violent crimes, particularly those involving the habitual engagement in illegal drug trafficking or severe breach of the public trust.
The good news is that an expert federal criminal defense attorney like Cody Cofer has the experience and skill to manage the byzantine federal court processes, including meeting the strict deadlines, onerous written pleading requirements and other labor- and knowledge-intensive idiosyncrasies of the federal courts.
Right off the bat, this means that federal prosecutors know that they will have a more difficult job cut out for them. And this can make them more amenable to a favorable plea agreement or an outright dismissal of charges. The hundreds of federal cases in which Cofer has successfully advocated on behalf of his clients include common areas of federal criminal law, such as:.
Cofer has helped dozens of clients defend themselves against so-called drug conspiracy charges. In many cases on which he has worked, his clients did not fully understand the seriousness of the charges against them. We'll start with the first seat The first juror, now I will ask you the same question of each and every juror. Is this a unanimous verdict of the jury? Answer out loud. This completes your service as jurors in this matter.
Now we'll receive your verdict in this matter. I'll hand it to the clerk to have it filed. With the papers of the court at this time. Routh, if you please stand again. Having received and accepted the jury's verdict in this matter by statute, I will now impose sentence in this matter. Confinement for life in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice without the possibility of parole. That's the verdict of this court, and I will enter the judgment accordingly, you may be seated at this time again. I will continue. John, as your attorney in this matter with regard to your rights to appeal, and that includes a direct appeal to the Eastland Court of Appeals.
That's the home of the 11th Court of Appeals which is the court for this jurisdiction, and also your rights with regards to filing a petition for discretionary review with the Court of Criminal Appeals in Texas. I will remand your custody to the sheriff of the county to carry out the imposition of the judgment of this court and the jury's verdict in this matter.
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Do you have any legal reason to state at this time why the sentence should not be imposed? There you heard it, the jury finding Eddie Ray Routh guilty, and the judge saying that he is going to spend the rest of his life in prison, no parole. Again, guilty. Judge Jason Cashin asking the foreperson to approach the bench and render the verdict. He asked Routh, Eddie Ray Routh, to please stand which he did. And then he read the verdict. He said the verdict is guilty, and then he polled the jury and every single jury said it was their -- indeed their verdict.
He also said again he's going to be placed in prison without the possibility of parole, and also, he was going to be -- he's going to be remanded or he will remain in custody until he has to go off to prison. We're also joined by Richard Gabriel, a trial consultant and the author of "Acquittal," and then on set here is Ben Brafman who has been watching this with me as well. Not just a loss of an American hero, but it's frustrating to us as criminal defense attorneys that somebody who is obviously mentally ill, not insane, but mentally ill, like this defendant was, has no other alternative but a life sentence because of the minimum mandatory sentencing.
And you have to believe that there may be something better that we can do with a defendant who is acting at least in part on some mental illness than to just throw his whole life away even though he wasted the life of another or two others. Is that unusual, Mark Geragos? I don't think that is, and I think Ben Brafman, my buddy who's sitting on set with you was spot-on when Ben said that in a case like this, if it's a quick verdict, you know that it's going to be a guilty because there's no way that 12 people are going to instantly go or gravitate to not guilty by reason of insanity.
They would have struggled more mightily to have come to that because this is a relatively rare verdict for the defense to get, a not guilty by reason of insanity. And in this case, timing is everything because obviously coming on the heels of the Academy Awards and the Oscars, and then having the deliberations, and having the jury go out, and if they have to go, they go all night, and they figured they weren't going to go all night.
They were going to go two hours, and that was it. As a matter of fact, as before the verdict was being read, Mr.
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Brafman wrote me a note saying -- here in the set saying, he never saw a criminal trial with the defense of insanity in end with a not guilty absent extensive deliberations. Too complex legally, you say. BRAFMAN: And the fact is pretty much stipulated to, and then the issue is was he insane, and at the end of the day if you're going to acquit of a cold blooded murder unless you're insane, you need to understand the law, you need to debate the law, you need to explain it to each other, and that's complicated issue. If you're going to react emotionally, and say he killed two men and I don't buy this insanity, that's emotional.
There is an element of real sadness and tragedy in this case. I mean, three soldiers are essentially dead. Two are dead, and one is going to be warehoused forever. And, you know, it's a real American tragedies that three people come back from war as heroes, one, you know, killed, two and all three are now gone. That's a terrible tragedy. It's one of the highest standards we have because you have to -- it has to be based upon a mental e defect, and you have to not know it was wrong, so in effect, what the prosecutor did a pretty good job of, in this case, showing look, if we're going to believe he didn't know right from wrong, if he did not know it was wrong, why run away?
Why kill the way he did? Why do everything else that he did which would suggest that he knew what he was doing knew had to do it right? It's very difficult throughout the nation, more difficult in Texas, and nowhere do you get many insanity defenses as even plead and much fewer are granted. He has been found guilty by a jury in Texas, that verdict happening live now on CNN, and the reason we don't have a feed of the courtroom right now, Kimberly Priest Johnson, is because there is a victim impact statement going on.
It is believed that is -- happening from the widow of Chris Kyle, Taya Kyle, but again this has been very emotional for the jury, reaching this decision has been very emotional for them. Look, the defense had an uphill battle from the very beginning, not only because there was an American hero and his best friend that were the victims, but also don't forget we had a drug and alcohol use issue, where there was proof that Routh had used alcohol and drugs prior to the killings, and I think those two things combined made it almost impossible for the defense to be successful here.
Did that make a difference? I mean, you have 10 women and two men. When you have that many women or that many men on the jury, it obviously what ends up happening is the -- what happens is that the chances for division are greatly reduced. You have a lot of unanimity there, a lot of people locking this step, let's face it. It's a town of 18, people also. And for the most part everybody knows each other.
So these women probably knew of each other or knew each other. They probably got along, and I think that all contributed to the quickness of the verdict. And the fact that Chris Kyle is a hero not only there in Texas, I would imagine he's a super hero in Texas, but just around the country, really, and around the world. How much of that played into the jurors -- the jurors there?
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And this is one of the big challenges is, as Mark and Ben have experienced in these big cases, these becomes social verdicts. Jurors are not just deliberating on the evidence alone. They are listening to and they are knowing that the world is actually watching the verdict. It's a verdict about our veterans and some verdict about our system. These verdicts have -- carry an impact, and as a result, this jury was aware when it was deliberating that -- you know, we'd be discussing it right here now.