Home Judicial Officers Rules, Plans, and Orders Electronic Filing Clerk's Office Visiting the Court Information For Careers

Pleas and Sentencing

Judge Cook requires defendants to complete a Guilty Plea Questionnaire Form before the scheduled plea. This form can be obtained from Judge Cook's Court Clerk. The Court will allow, on occasion, an Alford plea, even over Government objections. The Court will accept a nolo contendere plea and, on occasion, even over Government objection. The Court requires a presentence investigation and report prior to sentencing even if there is no custodial sentencing imposed. Judge Cook requires a presentence investigation report prior to sentencing for corporate defendants, even if the Government and defendant agree to waive it. Disputes relating to computation of sentencing guidelines are typically resolved by hearing prior to sentencing. The Court meets with the probation officer prior to sentencing unless a dispute exists between the probation officer and counsel of record. The Court will typically permit a convicted individual to self report to the custodial facility upon Government recommendation or if the defendant has been free on bond since conviction prior to sentencing. The Court, depending on the extent or ability that it can reach the attorneys, will inform the parties before appearing in open Court if it decides to reject a Rule 11 plea agreement. In any event, the Court will inform the parties prior to the sentencing hearing if it decides to reject the Rule 11 plea agreement. The Court will accept a sentencing guideline plea where the plea agreement uses language to the effect that, e.g., the sentence will not exceed three months above the minimum of the applicable guideline range. It does not matter whether the parties agree to what the applicable range is or not. If such a guideline plea is acceptable, the Court allows the defendant to withdraw the plea if the guideline range turns out to be higher than counsel argue it should be. The Court does not have a firm plea cutoff date that it will enforce.

Home -- Judicial Officers -- Practice Guidelines -- Practice Guidelines for Judge Julian Abele Cook, Jr. -- Pleas and Sentencing