What should and not be said by a defendant when given his/her chance to speak before a court imposes the sentence.
Prepare your allocution in advance. Most laypersons are not accustomed to speaking in public. It is even more difficult when one is under the pressure of possibly being sentenced to prison. However, your allocution should be from the heart and not just memorized or words read from a page.
Apologize to the actual victims of your crime. The apology should be sincere, focused and direct. Do not apologize "to anyone I may have hurt". You know whom you have hurt. Words that waffle are not sincere. Don't be overly apologetic, in other words don't apologize to the entire city, just to the victims of your crime. Remember the Judge is gauging your sincerity.
Understand how your victims were affected and convey that to the court. This may profoundly impact the Judge's view of you.
Accept responsibility for your actions. Do not attempt to blame anyone else. You, and you alone, are responsible for your participation in the offense.
Tell the Court how you will use probation or prison time to improve yourself.
6. Tell the Court something about yourself that will help the Judge see that you are human. For example, talk about your work history and why you do that job well.
Express genuine remorse for your actions.
If you are positive that you are going to receive the minimum sentence that the Judge can give, then consider whether it will be a good idea to make an allocution. If your sentence can not be lower, then why risk making it longer by inadvertently saying the wrong thing, thus making a bad impression.
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