Stahl Criminal Defense prides itself on the detailed, exhaustively researched and nuanced sentencing presentations we make in federal and state court matters. Laura Gasiorowski, a member of the firm for 15 years, is especially gifted in working with clients and their families in crafting powerful presentations. With her background in death penalty mitigation, she is well equipped to investigate the client’s social, mental, and educational history and uncover the type of powerful mitigation evidence that often makes the difference. Knowing and understanding the Guidelines is crucial, but in addition to making the right legal arguments a sentencing memo has to individualize the client and present whatever personal characteristics, social history, or circumstances that mitigate culpability.
Part of that success can be attributed to thinking about what is best for the client and the eventual sentencing from the very beginning of the case. Does the client have any addictions – drugs, alcohol or gambling? Does the client need mental health counseling for past abuses or traumatic events? What caused the client to become involved in the charged offenses? How can those factors assist with plea negotiations and sentencing?

Reviewing these types of potential issues at the outset is invaluable both for the success of a sentencing presentation as well as for the individual client. For example, we just had a client in a serious federal drug case whose life and personal circumstances demanded something other than incarceration despite the Guidelines recommendation. This was a difficult case with a client reticent to share any personal history much less admit that there were significant issues that needed to be addressed. From plea negotiations to sentencing we identified and developed a powerful mitigation strategy, teasing out the client’s tragic personal history, addiction issues, and psychological struggles and persuading the client to begin therapy, seek treatment for addiction, and begin medication.

When we submitted the sentencing motion, which took weeks of drafting, we accomplished something as important, if not more important, than successfully arguing the Section 3553 factors that would ultimately persuade the Court to vary substantially. We helped a client identify longstanding but undiagnosed mental health and addiction issues, seek and obtain therapy and treatment, and secure employment. It certainly helped to have a compassionate judge who carefully read the sentencing memorandum and its detailed explication of the impact of Traumatic Brain Injury, abuse and addiction on this defendant’s ability to function. That memorandum detailed the tragic circumstances of the client’s life, recent diagnoses and treatment of underlying mental health problems and the client’s remarkable progress from the time of the first meeting with Ms. Gasiorowski to the day of sentencing. The sentencing presentation emphasized how the client’s personal history and terrible life circumstances contributed to the fateful decisions that brought us all to court, explaining without excusing the client’s criminal conduct.

Ultimately, we are not only proud of helping to obtain the right result – probation – for this client, but of our ability to help the client begin life again as a whole person. It took almost two years, but the results will hopefully last a lifetime.

Experience, exhaustive research and investigation, and finely tuned briefing of all possible legal issues and mitigation evidence distinguish the sentencing work of Stahl Criminal Defense. Our commitment to the client sets us apart.

Stahl Criminal Defense Lawyers aggressively defend individuals charged with complex federal and state crimes. Founder Robert G. Stahl is recognized as one of the top criminal defense attorneys in the NY/NJ area for his skills, knowledge and success. To contact the firm, call 908.301.9001 for the NJ office and 212.755.3300 for the NYC office, or email Mr. Stahl at