In the federal criminal justice system, bank robberies are treated harshly. A simple bank robbery where no firearm or threat of firearm is used oftentimes results in sentences in excess of 10 years.
The “Loopholes” in the Law
Thankfully, there are several “loopholes” in the various bank robbery statutes which have enabled me to get clients charged with bank robberies wonderful deals. In 2004, I represented Jesse McDonald who was accused of robbing a bank in Southern Illinois. Jesse and I developed a very good rapport and I ultimately was able to convince the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois that while Jesse was guilty of receiving proceeds from a bank robbery, he had nothing to do with the bank robbery. Because of forcing the Government to either dismiss the Indictment or face the reality of losing at trial, the Indictment charging Jesse with bank robbery was dismissed and he was released from prison.
A Trend of Excessive Punishment in the Court System
Unfortunately, in recent years due to the weak economy, bank robberies have become more frequent and the punishment oftentimes is excessive. I recently represented two clients who were accused of stealing a few thousand dollars from a bank and under the Sentencing Guidelines faced the specter of up to 20 years in federal prison. In bank robberies, bank tellers are viewed as the true victims, and as such, U.S. Attorney’s Offices tend to take a hardline approach to what a “reasonable” sentence is and as such most sentencings tend to be contested.
Ensuring Fair Treatment Under the Law
During the past few years the number of clients accused of robbing banks has increased and I have successfully been able to ensure that my clients are treated fairly and receive just sentences.