The Aleph Institute’s Alternative Sentencing Program
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
1. When is the best time to contact Aleph to seek assistance with an Alternative Sentencing presentation?
A. As soon as you and your lawyer have decided that the best way to resolve your case is by entering a plea of guilty in lieu of proceeding to trial, you should contact Rabbi Aaron Lipskar, Aleph’s Executive Director to discuss the case. The sooner we can get involved, the better opportunity we may have to assist you. This would mean that it may be in your best interest for you and your attorney to contact us as soon as you have made the decision, in principle, to plead guilty but before you sign your plea agreement to do so.
2. I just learned about the Aleph Alternative Sentencing program and my sentencing is scheduled for next week. Is it too late for me to avail myself of the program?
A. That depends upon whether or not your lawyer can get the Judge in your case to grant a continuance of at least one (1) month. We do not like to rush anything and our experience has taught us that it is difficult for us to do a thorough job in less than thirty (30) days.
3. I am indigent and have a court appointed lawyer. Can I still avail myself of Aleph’s Alternative Sentencing program?
A. Yes, through your lawyer.
4. Is the Aleph Institute authorized to practice law?
A. No. We are not a law firm. We do not dispense legal advice and do not employ lawyers on our staff. Our services are provided to your lawyer and through him or her to you.
5. Does the Aleph Institute send a representative to testify at my sentencing?
A. Normally we do not but in special cases, where in consultation with your lawyer we conclude that it would be helpful, then if your lawyer agrees, we will consider it.
6. If there are any costs associated with the Alternative Sentencing Process, who pays them?
A. Normally, there are no costs associated with the preparation of an Alternative Sentencing presentation. If it is decided through your lawyer that Rabbi Lipskar will appear at your sentencing and testify, you are responsible for travel costs and expenses but there is no charge for his appearance.
7. If I decide to seek an Alternative Sentencing Presentation are my communications with staff at The Aleph Institute confidential and privileged?
A. Yes. Because we are, in effect, working for your lawyer to assist you, we are covered under the umbrella of your lawyer’s attorney/client privilege with you, just as any member of your lawyer’s staff would be covered. There are rules for the privilege of confidentiality to apply which we know and understand. For further information on this point, consult with your attorney.
8. Does the Aleph Institute expect a charitable donation in exchange for providing this service to me and my lawyer?
A. We do not charge for this service. The only requirement is that you be a member of the Aleph Institute and membership is free. Since we are entirely funded by donations from people who care about their Jewish brothers and sisters, and their families, that are in crisis, we would expect a person who avails themselves of our service to make a charitable contribution if it is within their means to do so. It is not a requirement. Common sense dictates that one’s donation should be within their means and there should be some relationship between a person’s ability to make a donation and the size of the donation that they make. We would like to stress that making a charitable donation to the Aleph Institute is neither required nor necessary for us to be of assistance to you. Our primary concern is helping Jews in crisis.
9. Do you guarantee results?
A. Absolutely not. The only guarantees in life are death and taxes.