Felicity Huffman will almost certainly serve the majority of her 14-day jail sentence.
The actress, 56, faced a judge on Friday afternoon in a federal courtroom in Boston, where the judge handed her a 14-day jail sentence, a $30,000 fine and said she would be on supervised release for one year. She will also have to do 250 hours of community service.
“Of that 14 days, I think she will have to do 85 percent, which is 11.9 or 12 days,” says LA-based criminal defense attorney J. Tooson, who is not associated with the case. “With a federal case, typically you will serve 85 percent of the sentence. State court is very different. They’ll typically do 10 percent of a jail sentence.”
Tooson says the sentence delivered is “reasonable and not unduly harsh,” and that the judge essentially came down in the middle, between what the prosecutors and Huffman’s legal team requested. (Prosecutors requested Huffman serve one month of jail time, Huffman’s lawyers requested one year of probation and community service.)
“I think the 14 days will do nothing more than to ensure that the conduct be punished beyond the conviction. That means that the conviction itself is the punishment,” adds Tooson. “Any time you’re dealing with somebody who’s never served jail time in their life, oftentimes having to serve some time will serve as a wakeup call in addition to the conviction itself.”
And because Huffman gave up her rights to appeal the sentence when she entered her guilty plea, the judge’s decision is final. The next step for Huffman is serving her jail sentence, which she has to begin within the next 60 days.
“Typically there will be a surrender date to when she has to turn herself in. From there she will turn herself in and go about her sentence,” says Tooson. “Once again, 14 days – not that we’re making a mountain of a molehill – but I think that is a very reasonable outcome for what could have transpired.”
He adds that Huffman will learn exactly how many days she’ll be serving — whether the full 14 or more likely 12 — when she surrenders to authorities. “At the time she turns herself in and she is processed, there will be a release date that is calculated,” says Tooson.