Dr. Balkan has a doctorate in Sociology from UCLA with an emphasis on criminology, deviant behavior and mental illness. Dr. Balkan has served as a research consultant for the Los Angeles County Probation Department, the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health Social Services, and the 'gang unit' for Los Angeles County. She has taught various Sociology courses at UCLA and Los Angeles Valley College. In addition to her many years of research experience, she holds a private investigator's license in the State of California.
Services have included identifying downward departures under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, alternative sentencing plans, comprehensive social profiles and assessments, and topical research for presentation in bail modification, preplea reports, sentencing proceedings, and penalty phase work in capital cases.
As a specialist in sentencing evaluations and reports, Dr. Balkan has participated in over 4000 state and federal cases in the last 30 years. Dr. Balkan's cases have involved virtually every kind of crime:
- Securities fraud and antitrust violations
- Bank and insurance fraud
- Customs violations
- Tax fraud
- Money laundering
- Mail and wire fraud schemes
- Environmental violations
- Healthcare fraud
- Public corruption
- Narcotics offenses
Her clients are often professionals charged with crimes or facing licensing or disciplinary matters, such as doctors, lawyers, pharmacists and teachers.
In addition to handling cases involving white collar crimes, she has broad experience with violent crimes and sex offenses.
What makes Dr. Balkan unique is her creative approach, her ability to fashion a presentation tailored to the individual and her skill in presenting the results of her work to the court or other decision-makers. Dr. Balkan works with counsel to identify relevant factors and reasonable grounds for mitigation and then marshals the facts that will make the most compelling case. In federal court, she has achieved significant results based on family circumstances, physical and mental condition, diminished capacity, and post-offense rehabilitation, among others.
Frequently, it benefits clients to become involved in community service projects, either to demonstrate their rehabilitation or for purposes of alternative sentencing. Dr. Balkan is especially adept at finding or creating public service placements for clients that utilize their particular skills.
The heart of the sentencing presentation is the report itself. Dr. Balkan's reports are extremely enlightening. Clients' personal histories are set forth in depth and in a way that humanizes them before the court. Their community service or related activities are thoroughly documented. Dr. Balkan works with clients' families and friends so that their letters of support have maximum impact. When separate evaluations from doctors, psychologists or other professionals are required, Dr. Balkan coordinates their efforts and works with them to achieve the strongest presentation for her clients.
In many cases Dr. Balkan's results have been truly extraordinary in terms of attaining positive dispositions to cases, reclaiming clients’ lives and allowing defendants to pay their debt to society through valuable service.