Jump to Navigation
Bruce R. Bryan

Federal Sentencing Co-Counsel

Supreme Court Pool - Bruce R. Bryan, Esq. - Criminal Appeals Attorney Syracuse NY | New York City Appellate Lawyer


Federal sentencing is a critical stage. The sentence can vary greatly depending on how the judge decides certain complex legal issues. A defendant needs an advantage. A well-written sentencing memorandum drafted by an attorney experienced in federal sentencing gives that advantage.

Attorney Bruce R. Bryan is experienced in federal sentencing

As an attorney with more than 20 years
experience handling sentencing issues in federal trial and appellate courts, Attorney Bryan has achieved success in obtaining lower sentences for federal defendants. He is
committed to excellence in advocacy. Trial attorneys often welcome his assistance to formulate objections to United States Sentencing Guideline calculations and to make non-Guideline arguments for lower sentences. A well-written sentencing memorandum can have a strong impact on a sentence. Attorney Bryan applies his skill and experience in writing persuasive appellate briefs to writing compelling legal arguments in federal sentencing memoranda. Attorney Bryan is a legal
author and an
Adjunct Professor of Appellate Advocacy at Cornell Law School, one of the nation’s leading legal institutions. In addition to federal sentencing, he represents clients in
federal criminal appeals.


Guideline Sentence. A federal judge must “consider” the sentence recommended by the United States Sentencing Guidelines. A Probation Officer prepares a Presentence Investigation Report that states facts about the offense and Guideline factors that increase or decrease the sentence. In a sentencing memorandum, Attorney Bryan can assists defense counsel with objections to disputed factors and in drafting a sentencing memorandum that supports the objections. A defendant may dispute many factors that increase a sentence, including the following:

  • Amount of money defrauded
  • Drug quantity
  • Organizer, manager, or supervisor
  • Abuse of position of trust
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Criminal history category

The federal judge decides disputed factors and announces the Guideline sentence. In general, a defense attorney should dispute Guideline factors that should not apply because the judge may decide to follow the Guideline sentence. In addition, defense counsel should dispute the improper application of a minimum statutory sentence.

Non-Guideline Sentence. Although a judge must “consider” the Guideline sentence, the judge is not bound by it. Rather, the judge is bound to “impose a sentence sufficient, but not greater than necessary to accomplish the goals of sentencing.” Among other things, the judge must consider:

  • The nature and circumstances of the offense
  • The history and characteristics of the defendant
  • Sentence disparities among defendants

The arguments that can be made for a sentence below the Guideline sentence are broad. The following are just a few examples:

  • Defendant’s peripheral involvement
  • The loss amount overstates the seriousness of the offense
  • The offense conduct was aberrant behavior
  • The defendant is over 40 and therefore less risk of recidivism
  • Excellent employment history
  • Defendant’s extreme remorse
  • Post-offense rehabilitation
  • Defendant’s attempted cooperation with authorities
  • Extraordinary family circumstances
  • Loss of business, assets and source of income
  • Defendant’s poor health

In sum, a good attorney seeks to persuade the judge that it is just and right to impose a sentence below the Guideline sentence. Attorney Bryan is experienced in federal sentencing and can help your trial attorney with a well-written sentencing memorandum that develops favorable facts and arguments.

B. Bryan, "Defendant's Guide to Criminal Appeals, Review & Parole in New York," (2005)

Guide to Criminal Appeals, Review & Parole in New York | Bryan Criminal Appeals Lawyer NY

The object of appellate advocacy is to persuade. The winning advocate focuses the court on the strength of your case. Read More

Cornell Adjunct Professor of Law

Guide to Criminal Appeals, Review & Parole in New York | Bryan Criminal Appeals Lawyer NY

As an adjunct faculty, Professor Bryan teaches "Advanced Persuasive Writing and Appellate Advocacy" to second and third year law students at Cornell Law School. Read More