It may seem like a lifetime ago, but Felicity Huffman is finally heading to court to find out exactly what sentence a judge will deem appropriate for her involvement with the college admissions scandal. After pleading guilty back in May, her official sentencing hearing will take place on Friday. Prosecutors in the case recommended that Huffman be sentenced to one month in prison and 12 months of supervised release in addition to paying a $20,000 fine. However, legal experts believe that she won't be subject to that specific sentence. Instead, some believe that she won't face a single day behind bars.
"That is such a nominal amount of time, the prosecutors are sending a signal to the judge [that they’re okay with] the judge placing her on probation without imposing jail time," says attorney J. Tooson, who People called on for more clarification. "The argument is the conviction alone is sufficient punishment and a wake-up call for the client, for which she must suffer the consequences for the rest of her life. Imposing jail time will not further any public safety goal and the conduct has already been deterred."
Huffman isn't the first to be sentenced in the FBI investigation, which involves more than 50 people, including Full House actor Lori Loughlin. John Vandemoer, a former Stanford sailing coach, was the very first person to be sentenced. Prosecutors in his case suggested that he be sentenced to 13 months in jail, but he ended up serving just one day in prison. With that precedent in mind, experts think that Huffman will be granted some leniency, especially since she seems to have remorse over what she's done.
"Please, let me be very clear, I know there is no justification for what I have done. Yes, there is a bigger picture, but ultimately it doesn't matter because I could have said 'No' to cheating on the SAT scores," Huffman wrote in a letter submitted to the judge. "I unequivocally take complete responsibility for my actions and will respectfully accept whatever punishment the court deems appropriate."
Tooson notes that Huffman's letter could help. Because it seemed genuine and her charges don't pose a threat to public safety, he believes that she can move on fairly quickly. Unlike Loughlin, who is still awaiting her sentencing, Huffman's letter acknowledges that she's broken the law and is ready to take whatever punishment the judge deems fair.
"It's well-written and did come across as sincere, contrite and conveyed that she is deeply sorry for her actions," he told People. "The biggest thing you can do, rather than justify your actions, is accept responsibility. Realize and own up to the mistakes you made and the plan of action moving forward to be positively contributing to society."
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