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7th Circuit affirms Lake County official's sentence

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld Robert Cantrell’s 78-month sentence for various convictions, including using his position in public office for kickbacks.

Cantrell, once a public official of North Township in Lake County, was indicted and charged with using his position to secure contracts for Addiction and Family Care Inc, a counseling company owned by an acquaintance. He would steer contracts there and received proceeds from the contracts.

He was found guilty of honest services fraud, using his position in public office to steer contracts to a third party in exchange for kickbacks, insurance fraud and filing false income taxes. On appeal, he challenged his four convictions on the honest services fraud counts on the grounds that 18 U.S.C. Section 1346 is unconstitutionally vague.

Relying on United States Supreme Court cases decided while Cantrell’s case was on appeal, including Skilling v. United States, 561 U.S. __ 2010 WL 2518587 (2010), the Circuit judges found Cantrell’s arrangement with Addiction and Family Care Inc. was clearly a kickback scheme, so Section 1346 applied to him.

Cantrell also challenged District Judge Rudy Lozano’s application of U.S.S.G. Section 2C1.1, claiming that Judge Lozano applied an incorrect guideline, and that he didn’t consider Cantrell’s arguments for leniency.

In United States of America v. Robert J. Cantrell, the Circuit judges reviewed his Section 2C1.1 argument for plain error, since he didn’t object to the guideline calculations at sentencing. Not only did Cantrell steal money from North Township, he used his position to steer contracts and was compensated for them. This is a kickback scheme under Section 1346 and therefore comes within the ambit of Section 2C1.1, wrote Judge Terence Evans.

The Circuit Court also found the District judge considered Cantrell’s arguments for leniency, including Cantrell’s age. Judge Lozano explained why the sentence was appropriate in light of Cantrell’s arguments, and there’s no evidence he committed procedural error or acted unreasonably in imposing a within-guideline sentence.
 

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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