Thursday, September 29, 2016

Update on Judge Kroupa Prosecution - Kroupa's Change of Plea Hearing Set for 10/21/16 (9/29/16)

The docket entries in the prosecution of former Tax Court Judge Diane Kroupa indicate:
09/29/2016 49 TEXT ONLY ENTRY: NOTICE OF SETTING CHANGE OF PLEA as to Diane L Kroupa. Change of Plea Hearing set for 10/21/2016 01:30 PM in Courtroom 3B (STP) before Judge Wilhelmina M. Wright. (TJB) (Entered: 09/29/2016)
This usually signals a change of plea to guilty to a more limited set of charges than in the indictment, but the prosecutors, as in the case of her husband, will likely want a plea to one or more counts that will permit the judge to impose a sentence consistent with the Sentencing Guidelines range driven principally by the tax loss.  We just have to wait and see.  As best I see it, she had little choice given what her husband admitted in his plea agreement and apparently would have testified to in the trial proceeding, which along with other evidence presumably available would have been quite damning.  See Update on Judge Kroupa Prosecution - Her Husband Pleads Guilty (Federal Tax Crimes Blog 9/26/16; 9/27/16), here.

Sentencing has not yet occurred for Fackler and Kroupa and will likely not occur for either for several months as the Probation Officer prepares the Presentence Report ("PSR") presenting facts and analysis regarding potential sentencing options for the judge.  The big unknown for both of them is what the judge will do after he gets the PSR plus such supplemental sentencing evidence and arguments as the parties present in response to the PSR.  I speculate that the sentencing judge may perceive that a below Guidelines sentence, particularly in her case, may not be warranted without an incredible showing of some sort as yet unknown.  Still, the sentencing judge has substantial discretion under Booker to vary downward from the Guidelines range.

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