Sam Bankman-Fried (of FTX) was convicted on November 2, 2023; sentencing was scheduled for almost five months later on March 28, 2024.

Elizabeth Holmes (of Theranos) was convicted on January 3, 2022. Sentencing was initially scheduled for more than 9 months later, but ended up delayed until November 18, 2022.

After a person is convicted of a crime, why do the courts delay sentencing at all, never mind weeks or months?

  • I was thinking of asking why so long for Trump's sentencing. But this will only be 6 weeks, so practically instantaneous compared to your examples.
    – Barmar
    Commented May 31 at 15:03

1 Answer 1


Sam Bankman-Fried's sentencing reflects the fact that a pre-sentencing report has to be prepared and a sentencing hearing has to be prepared for. These tasks aren't done or scheduled before there is a conviction, because they might not be necessary at all, and might be different if he was convicted on some rather than all charges. But since sentencing hearings aren't scheduled prior to a conviction, the sentencing hearing has to be set for when the judge and the lawyers are available, and their schedules fill up with other things in the meantime.

Keep in mind that in criminal cases, judges have immense sentencing discretion, much of which depends upon factors not presented in the trial on guilt or innocence. A criminal defense lawyer's job is much more focused on sentencing and much less focused on the guilt or innocence phase, in most cases, than the general public realizes.

  • Does it ever happen that that the amount of time between the verdict and the sentencing hearing exceeds the minimum period of confinement that could be imposed as punishment? Does it ever happen that the time exceeds the maximum period of confinement? Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 16:43
  • 1
    @MarkDominus Between verdict and sentencing is less likely, but there are plenty of people who are incarcerated from their arrest up through the trial. I.e. people who are not allowed bail or can't afford bail. If you are found not guilty at trial then you're released but there is no compensation for that person. Or maybe you're found guilty at trial on lesser charges and your sentence is less than the penalty. It's also common to make a plea deal in order to be released for "time served," meaning their sentence is set to the period of time they've already spent waiting for trial.
    – David
    Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 18:39

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