Federal Prosecutors Make a Huge Advantage Out of This Situation
Video Transcribed: Can you get a better deal if you cooperate with federal prosecutors, and what happens if you have a co-defendant and they cooperate? My name’s Ted Hasse. I’m a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney in Tulsa, Ok at Wirth Law Office.
Well, anytime you’re in a situation where there are co-defendants, there can oftentimes be a very high likelihood that somebody is going to cooperate. People who find themselves in that situation, find themselves in what’s called a game theory problem, and it’s the most classic game theory problem.
It’s the prisoner’s dilemma or them it’s a version of the prisoner’s dilemma where … The classical prisoner’s dilemma is you’ve got two people who are being interrogated and they can’t communicate with each other. If one person cooperates and the other doesn’t they both get … the person who cooperates gets no prison sentence, and the other person gets three years. If it’s the other, then vice versa. If neither cooperates, they get two years. And if they both cooperate, I think it nullifies.
In any case, that’s the classic prisoner’s dilemma, is that you’re having to determine whether or not you’re going to cooperate, where there can be a situation where you don’t know what the other person is going to do.
And there’s a lot of procedural steps put in place and ways to ensure that the government keeps the advantage in this situation of creating that game theory prisoner’s dilemma to prevent each of the parties from coordinating and ensuring that the other one doesn’t talk.
In short, the federal government, the federal prosecutors make a huge advantage out of this situation where they have a situation, particularly in alleged conspiracies. And it’s very common that someone’s going to talk.
We deal with clients sometimes who are seeking to cooperate. We deal with clients sometimes who are not willing to cooperate and are facing a situation where a co-defendant or multiple co-defendants may be talking to federal prosecutors.
The important thing to know is that cooperation with the federal government is one of the trickiest situations in resolving a federal criminal charge. It’s one of the trickiest for lawyers, and it’s certainly tricky for a defendant. This isn’t something you want to go it alone on. The process which I won’t go in-depth right now, but generally starts with what’s called a Rule 11 meeting.
You get a letter provided to you by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the federal prosecutors, by which you agree to sit down and talk in such a way that they can’t … They have limitations on the ways that they can use the information that you provide in that meeting. It’s a way for them to feel you out, see if you’re being honest. It’s a way to potentially limit the risk if you do end up in a situation where you don’t make a deal.
Again, it’s tricky. This is all part of a dance that ultimately leads to usually a plea agreement. It can be very unpleasant, these kinds of meetings and the most important thing I think people should know is if they’re caught cold, they are likely in a situation where they’re going to want to make some sort of plea agreement.
And if cooperation is part of that, you don’t want to just go in and give it all up, and get nothing back. You want to be working with a professional who knows how to help you and walk you through the steps to get the best possible outcome under the circumstances.
Feel free to give us a call if you need a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney, or If you any have questions, call (918) 932-2800.