Elizabeth Holmes: Sentencing Post Mortem

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Watch this episode on YOUTUBE, on APPLE PODCASTS, or wherever you get your podcasts!

On Friday, 11/18/22, a federal judge sentenced Elizabeth Holmes to over eleven years in prison.  Ms. Holmes was convicted after trial of a “fake it ’till you make it” fraud involving her company Theranos, and the revolutionary blood testing technology dream machine that was not to be.  There are many lessons we can learn from what went down last week, so, helping us get Set For Sentencing, our old friend and guidelines expert, Mark Allenbaugh.  Mark and I break down what it was, what it could have been, and what comes next.

We also veer a way off the path, with admittedly wild speculation about whether Elizabeth Holmes may be on the Autism Spectrum, and if so, how that would have put her entire mitigation narrative in a different light.

So, surf’s up.  Let’s ride the wave of this consequential current sentencing event, and take away some practical tips for your own case in the process.

In this episode: 

  • How Ms. Holmes won the day when it came to the guidelines calculation;
  • How much time she may actually serve given “good time”credit, First Step Act credits, compassionate release, and 1/2 way house options;
  • Comparing the government’s narrative with the defense narrative – which narrative was more compelling and why;
  • Breaking down the opening paragraphs of the government and defense sentencing memoranda;
  • “Shirley’s Law” and the need to take control of the narrative;
  • Whether 130 character letters is too much of a good thing;
  • A wacky theory about Autism.



We talked oh-so briefly about two other current events, the special counsel appointment for Trump and the fact that the Oath Keeper/Stewart Rhodes Jury is now deliberating. Mark and I have previously done podcast episodes on both topics, so here are links to those shows:



Autism:  I mistakenly said 1/8 people have an autism diagnosis.  Way off.  It’s more like 1/44.  BUT, that’s still alot.  It means we’ve had clients with Autism Spectrum Disorder and We probably missed it.  If you want to learn more, here’s a prior episode on that too:  UNDERTANDING AUTISM AT SENTENCING

“Shirley’s Law”: If you don’t control the narrative, someone else will and you will NOT like it!  This comes from Dr. Randy Olson, and it’s in the book we co-authored on legal storytelling, The Narrative Gym for Law, available on AMAZON.

And, last but not least, I talked a fair amount (again) about my “3Rs of Sentencing Storytelling”.  These are the three major categories of stories any defendant can (and must tell) on their big day.  If you’d like to download a FREE copy of the article I wrote on the subject, click here:


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