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Lengthy gun sentence affirmed in 2011 hotel standoff

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A federal prison sentence of more than 33 years was upheld Monday for a career criminal convicted of leading police on a chase, assaulting an officer until he lost consciousness and staging an armed, four-hour standoff at an Indianapolis hotel in August 2011.

Jamel H. Brown was sentenced to 400 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm, which is well in excess of sentencing guidelines. Numerous other counts were continued until after sentencing on the firearm charge.

Brown failed to convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that federal criminal trial rules required the District Court for the Southern District of Indiana to rule on any disputed matter in a presentence report before sentencing. Judge Sarah Evans Barker satisfied requirements in consideration of the presentence report, the court ruled in United States of America v. Jamel H. Brown, 12-3413.

“After hearing from the defendant and listening to the evidence presented by the government, the judge made several statements that confirmed her acceptance of the probation officer’s version of the facts. In addressing the ‘horrific’ nature of the offense at issue, the judge stated that Brown had driven a car through a heavily trafficked area ‘really without regard to anybody else,’ and that his assault on the officer was ‘breathtaking,’” Judge Joel M. Flaum wrote for the court.

Barker “acknowledged that Brown had pointed the firearm at the witnesses in the hotel parking lot ‘and by some unbelievable good fortune’ the gun malfunctioned” when Brown pulled the trigger of a Tec-9 semiautomatic handgun, Flaum wrote. “When the gun malfunctioned, (Barker) stated that Brown continued with his attempted escape, shattering a window in the back of the hotel and then ‘terrorizing’ the people inside while looking for a place to hide.”

“What is essential is that the district judge articulated her view of the disputed facts and explained how they impacted her ultimate sentencing determination,” he continued. “We find no error in the district court’s resolution of the disputed facts or its calculation of Brown’s guidelines range for sentencing.”

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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