Did Hunter's Defense Make a Prison Term More Likely?

For months, I have been expressing disbelief that Hunter Biden and his defense team were going to take the gun case to trial. Even on the eve of the trial, I thought that the defense might snap into sanity and plead out the case. The reason was simple. A guilty plea would have materially improved the chances that Hunter could get probation and avoid jail by accepting responsibility. Conversely, a trial in a case with overwhelming evidence of guilt would make it less likely that a judge would depart from the guidelines at sentencing. Nevertheless, Hunter went forward with a nullification strategy and, in so doing, it may have nullified his best chance to reduce the risk of jail time.

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After the verdict, I have been stating that jail time is a real possibility in this case despite the fact that this is a first offender. ...

Judges regularly sentence people to prison for these offenses. The sentencing guidelines put the recommendation at 15 to 21 months in prison. Moreover, over 90 percent of those convicted are sentenced to prison time.

Ed Morrissey

I suspect the judge in this case will be mindful of ensuring the appearance of fairness in sentencing, but there's usually a cost for forcing prosecutors to trial in a case this obvious. The time to avoid prison is before trial when the evidence is this strong. I wonder, though, whether the judge will consider and cite potential safety/security issues and use home confinement as an option instead. 

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