What is the difference between the safety valve and cooperating?

Asked over 1 year ago - Topeka, KS

Can someone be called to testify against co-defendants or can what is said in a safety valve debriefing be used against co-defendants. I understand the 5 requirements to become safety valve eligible but what happens with the information obtained in a safety valve debrief. If it's going to be used against co-defendants or if you are called to testify you might as well cooperate, right?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Catherine Ann Zigtema

    Contributor Level 11

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . You should discuss this matter with an attorney. It is ill advised and potentially a personal safety risk to discuss cooperation or providing information to law enforcement in a public, personal or social media forum. This issue is one only your attorney can answer after thorough discussion of the facts and circumstances of you case.

    Kate Zigtema, kate@mandmattorneys.com Maughan & Maughan LC, KC Area - (913) 647-7567 ; Wichita Area : (316) 264-... more
  2. Patrick Michael Lewis

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . First and foremost, discuss the matter immediately with your attorney.
    Second, unless and until proven otherwise assume anything you say to anyone
    other than your lawyer could come back to haunt you. Under normal circumstances
    if you make a statement to law enforcement the prosecution can put you on the stand
    to say it again in the prosecution of someone else.
    Third, don't do anything without talking to your lawyer.

    Legal disclaimer: Legal disclaimer: Patrick M. Lewis, (913) 558-3961, patricklewislaw@gmail.com. This answer is... more
  3. Daniel M. Myshin

    Contributor Level 17

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I will answer your question. However, I strongly encourage you to immediately discuss these questions with your federal defense attorney. As my colleagues have already indicated, by asking these types of questions in a public forum, you are putting yourself at risk... physically and legally.
    Briefly stated, the safety valve provision at 18 USC 3553(f) permits Courts to sentence a defendant below the mandatory minimum sentence that otherwise applies by statute. The Sentencing Guidelines incorporate a safety valve provision at USSG 5C1.2. Additionally, USSG 2D1.1 permits a 2-level decrease for drug offenders who meet the requirements of the statutory safety valve.
    One of the requirements to become eligible for a safety valve is that no later than sentencing, the defendant must provide complete information regarding his or her role in the offense. Your question asks if this information is going to be used and you are to be called as a witness by the govt., why not cooperate? The person who is in the best position to make this call is your experienced federal defense attorney. No one in a public forum can have enough facts to make this determination better than your attorney.
    RUN ... DO NOT WALK, to discuss this matter with your federal defense attorney. Do not discuss this matter with anyone else.

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