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7th Circuit affirms life sentences in prostitution ring

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Two men sentenced to life in prison on an assortment of federal charges related to a prostitution ring involving underage girls that operated in northwest Indiana failed in their appeal before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, but judges asked the trial court to clarify the sentence for a third defendant.

In U.S. v. Justin Cephus, Jovan Stewart, and Stanton L. Cephus, 10-3838, 10-3840, 11-1098, all defendants were convicted of more than 20 counts for their roles in organizing and running a prostitution ring in which force and coercion were used to recruit dozens of underage girls, often runaways, as prostitutes. The girls sometimes were transported across state lines to Illinois.

The Cephuses were each sentenced to life in prison, but Stewart was sentenced to 324 months in prison. The order remands to the district court to reconcile a discrepancy in Stewart’s sentence: the judge orally said Stewart’s sentences were to be served consecutively, but the written order says the sentences are to run concurrently.

The girls worked in escort agencies in which Justin Cephus was identified as the ringleader and described as a pimp who controlled through violence and confiscated money the girls were paid for turning tricks.

The judges rejected arguments on appeal that the indictment was “duplicitous,” and that prosecutors frequently posed leading questions to witnesses.


 

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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