Shelia Balkan, PH.D. ,

Criminologist and Court Consultant

Digital Video Presentations

Dr. Balkan is unique in her use of digital video presentations to seek favorable dispositions. Video presentations often have a powerful impact and serve as an adjunct to the written sentencing presentation. In some circumstances, they provide an intimate and direct account that would not otherwise be possible.

Dr. Balkan has achieved remarkable results by bringing courts face-to-face with the defendant's personal circumstances or community service efforts. For example, with clients who have extraordinary family circumstances, such as an autistic child or a disabled parent, video presentations make crystal clear what a day in the life of someone with this enormous responsibility is about. They are also used in the presentation of community service projects, such as a former client who set up a weekly food distribution for the homeless.

Other scenarios involve clients who have made a commendable difference in their community, business or rehabilitation. In some circumstances, clients are in a position to create compelling messages through public service announcements. Video presentations are also a means to bring important social issues to the attention of the court, using the resources, expertise and experience of the client.

"In a high profile domestic violence case (post-OJ), the prosecutors were insisting on custody time as a condition of any disposition. I turned to Sheila Balkan for help. Dr. Balkan, keenly aware of politics and public perception, conceived of a unique alternative sentence—our client would star in and arrange for the airing of a public service announcement on domestic violence. A deal was reached thanks to the creativity and imagination of Dr. Balkan. As for the PSA....It was great. So great that Dr. Balkan won a Telly award as writer/producer of one of the best PSAs of the year."

Janet Levine
Crowell & Moring LLP
Los Angeles, CA

"After 25 years of working with Dr. Balkan, I have come to rely on her in all my difficult cases. Dr. Balkan uses creative and innovative ways to capture and communicate to the court the hardships and personal trauma facing a client. Her video taped production of my client’s daily life with his two autistic children conveyed more than any oral presentation I could have made. It won my client his liberty and his life."

Michael Nasatir
Nasatir, Hirsch, Podberesky & Genego
Santa Monica, CA