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Definition of Rule 35 - A Way to Reduce Your Sentence


What is Rule 35?

Rule 35 is simply a correction or reduction of prison sentence. There are quite a few stipulations under this Federal Rule, but Rule 35 (b) and the sections under Rule 35 (b), are specifically related to sentence relief or reduction for providing assistance to the government in the investigation or conviction of another person or persons.

Rule 35 (b) (1) permits a court, upon the Government’s motion on the defendants’ behalf, within/strong 1 year of sentencing, to reduce a defendants’ sentence if he provided substantial assistance in investigating and/ or prosecuting another; and reducing the sentence is in accord with the Sentencing Commission’s guidelines and policy statements.

Rule 35 (b) (2) permits a court, upon the Government’s motion on the defendants’ behalf, more than one year post-sentencing, to reduce a defendants’ sentence if all of above are in accord, in addition, this assistance must involve the following; Information provided was not known by the defendant until 1 yr. post-sentencing. Information provided within 1 yr., but did not become useful until more than one year post-sentencing; or the usefulness of the information provided could not reasonably have been anticipated by the defendant until more than 1 yr. post-sentence and was promptly provided after usefulness was reasonably apparent to the defendant.

The following factors are considered in evaluating a Rule 35 motion; only the cooperating Government prosecutor can file the actual Rule 35 motion. The courts evaluation of the significance and usefulness of defendants’ assistance, taking into consideration the Governments’ evaluation of assistance rendered; the truthfulness, completeness and reliability of any information or testimony provided. The nature and extent of the defendant’s assistance; the timeliness of the defendant’s assistance; and any injury suffered, or any danger or risk of injury to the defendant or loved ones as a result of the assistance.

Many inmates have cooperated with the authorities in hopes of being considered for a Rule 35 (b) motion at a great risk to themselves and their families. This is not usually recommended, what is recommended is using an attorney to prepare the client's proffering of “third party assistance”, which is permitted under Rule 35 (b). This is a service wherein an attorney is employed by the defendant or defendants’ family, to provide cooperation to the authorities on the defendants’ behalf. The defendant reaps the benefit of a reduced sentence, without the dangerous risk to themselves or their loved ones.

Additionally, there have been ongoing amendments to Rule 35, and with all of the limitations, and the revisions to the limitations, pursuing a recommendation for a Rule 35 motion on your own can become quite a task. Understand that there have also been those defendants who have been mislead into cooperation with authorities under the pretense of a recommendation for sentence reduction pursuant to Rule 35 (b), who have received no relief. Although the final reduction in your sentence is determined by the original sentencing judge, the decision is weighted heavily on the cooperating Governments’ recommendation. These are all issues that an attorney should handle for you.