Federal Criminal Diversion

The Federal System has a Post Plea Diversion program that is similar to State Diversion programs. It is called CASA or the Conviction and Sentence Alternatives Program.  The purpose of the program is to give Federal defendants with a limited criminal history, the ability to rid themselves of a Federal Criminal Conviction that was an act of aberration and out of character.  To initiate a CASA plea bargain, experienced Federal Defense counsel will discuss this option with the AUSA assigned to the case.  Many of these cases involve low level Federal drug and theft crimes, by individuals that have no prior criminal history or a limited criminal background.

Conviction and Sentence Alternatives Program (CASA)

Like in state cases, CASA is part of a plea process and the diversion aspect of it occurs after the plea takes place.  The U.S. District Court formulated a program for certain defendants with a history of mental health or substance abuse issues that likely caused the criminal behavior.  The goal is to provide drug and mental health treatment, alternative punishments, and a reason for criminal defendants to participate in the program successfully. That is usually in the form of a Dismissal.  Like other Diversion programs, the hope is those addicted to drugs or with mental issues will receive the help they need, be rehabilitated and find their way back into society.  The pioneering Central District of California has CASA divisions in Los Angeles, Santa Ana and Riverside federal court.

Making the CASA request to the committee

It is the role of Federal Defense counsel to prepare a packet to submit to the CASA committee outlining the Client’s individual history and background.   The committee is a team comprised of a Probation Officer representative, an AUSA member, an Federal Public Defender and possibly other members, in conjunction with an assigned Federal Judge.  Federal Counsel Bradley S., Sandler is experienced creating and submitting CASA packets to the committee for consideration after discussion with the AUSA.  If the AUSA agrees to a CASA plea and the committee approves the selection, then the defendant enters a CASA guilty plea pursuant to a plea bargain.  Subsequently, if the defendant completes his or her obligations under the CASA plea, then the benefit of the plea can be dismissal or sentence reductions that avoid Federal prison.

Requirements for CASA program completion

Like all diversion programs, CASA requirements are strict and so is compliance with the terms of the plea.  Like all Federal Cases, there is a close relationship with pretrial services who closely supervise CASA defendants. Throughout the program, the defendant and court work closely to achieve success, address criminal behavior and examine ways to rehabilitate. The CASA team is made up of Pretrial officers, Probation officers, AUSA’s and Federal Public Defenders, who share a common goal of helping CASA participants overcome alcohol/drug abuse and mental health issues, to assimilate back into the community.  There are job related and social programs as well as community service, to help defendants with those life skills.  The typical program lasts 1-2 years, as do most Federal Criminal matters.  If a Defendant fails CASA, they will be sentenced according to their plea and charges.

It is imperative to hire experienced CASA Federal Counsel to take advantage of this unique and often missed opportunity by other Federal attorneys. Whether you are facing investigation or currently fighting a case, the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler can assist your Federal Criminal Defense. It is important to have experienced counsel at every stage of the proceedings.  Please call for a consultation at Call 424-285-5978 or complete the online intake form