Mr. Carlson began his career as a Deputy Probation Officer in Sonoma County California. His primary responsibilities included preparing presentence investigation reports and recommendations for the then Municipal and Superior Courts. With the passage of drug diversion laws in California in the early 1970's, Mr. Carlson designed and implemented a county wide drug diversion program. Concurrent with his official responsibilities, Mr. Carlson also taught drug education classes to juvenile offenders.
In 1974, Mr. Carlson joined the United States Probation Office in the Northern District of California at San Francisco. His general responsibilities included the preparation of presentence reports and recommendations and the supervision of federal probationers and parolees. In addition to his general duties, Mr. Carlson also administered the District wide drug treatment program, which included the recruitment and evaluation of drug treatment providers such as community based agencies and private therapists, and acted as advisor to other probation officers related to the supervision of drug involved probationers and parolees.
Mr. Carlson became a Supervising United States Probation Officer in 1983 and one of his initial duties was the development, in response to the passage of the Pretrial Services Act of 1982, of a District wide pretrial services unit within the probation office. A separate agency was later created in the Northern District of California. Mr. Carlson also supervised a unit of United States Probation Officers.
In 1984, Mr. Carlson left government service and opened a private consulting practice, focusing on the evaluation of criminal defendants, the development of alternative sentencing reports and proposals, and the evaluation of minors both for purposes of “fitness” under California state law and for dispositional hearings. At the same time, he began studying clinical psychology at the doctoral level, having already earned a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology.
With the passage of the Crime Control Act of 1984 and the implementation of the United States Sentencing Guidelines, Mr. Carlson has become a recognized expert on the Guidelines and in “departure advocacy.” He has consulted on over 600 Federal Guideline cases, including advising on the structure of plea agreements, the preparation of defendants for the presentence investigation process, and the preparation of both alternative presentence reports and downward departure motions/sentencing memoranda.
Presently, in addition to his sentencing consulting practice in the United States District Courts, Mr. Carlson prepares alternative sentencing reports in state cases and testifies as an expert in sentencing and probation and parole practices, prepares penalty phase investigations and presentations in both state and federal capital cases, has conducted over 150 “fitness” evaluations under California Juvenile statutes, prepares pre-parole plans and reports for California state “lifer” parole hearings, and has prepared background investigations for presentation in INS administrative law proceedings and before regulatory bodies. He works for privately retained counsel, public defenders, appointed counsel, and CJA attorneys.
Mr. Carlson lives in Sacramento, California, and in addition to Northern and Central California, has prepared cases throughout California and such diverse jurisdictions as Portland, Maine, Lafayette, Louisiana, Miami, Florida, East St. Louis, Missouri, Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Washington, and New York.