Editor's note: Deseret News reporters will provide an unofficial line by line transcript of this afternoon's sentencing hearing for Brian David Mitchell. You may also follow updates on Twitter at @DNewsCrimeTeam.
SALT LAKE CITY — Elizabeth Smart will enter the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City this afternoon and is expected to confront Brian David Mitchell for the final time.
Mitchell arrived at the courthouse about 12:45 p.m. He will be kept in a holding cell until it is time for sentencing.
Mitchell, convicted of kidnapping Smart when she was 14 and taking her across state lines for the purpose of having sex, will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball.
The biggest questions surrounding today's hearing are: Will Kimball hand down a life sentence? What will Smart, who has stated her intention to directly address Mitchell, say to him? Will Smart get the opportunity to address Mitchell or will he act up, start singing again and be removed from the courtroom? Will Mitchell himself opt to speak?
Attorney Greg Skordas, who represented Smart during her state court proceedings when she was still a minor, says victims typically address the court to let them know first off, that they are survivors and are doing well.
"They would ideally like to address their attacker, and she would want to look him in the eye and tell him some things," Skordas said Wednesday.
But Skordas believes Mitchell, who has been removed from every court hearing for the past several years for refusing to stop singing or yelling out, will again be removed from the courtroom before Smart has the chance to speak.
Last week, Kimball's office declined to comment on whether any measures would be taken for Mitchell during sentencing should he act up again.
Mitchell also has the option of speaking on his own behalf before sentencing.
"He probably won't because he hasn't done anything in this case," Skordas said.
Kimball has received a recommended sentencing guideline range from the federal probation office that he can use to consider Mitchell's sentence. Skordas expects that recommendation to be about 30 years in prison.
But Kimball, if he feels there is enough reason, could go beyond the sentencing guidelines and give Mitchell a sentence of life in prison.
Skordas expects that Kimball will issue a life sentence. And he noted that there is no parole in the federal system. A sentence of life in federal prison means life in prison.
Utah does not have a federal prison. Mitchell will be sent to a facility out of state. He will likely be moved to different federal prisons every so often during the course of his sentence.
"The federal prison system can put him anywhere they want," he said.
Skordas said Kimball is known for being a fair judge, and he doesn't envy the job the judge faces today in handing down a sentence.4 comments on this story
The sentencing hearing is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.
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