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7th Circuit affirms 5-year sentence in arson-for-hire

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A woman sentenced to serve five years in prison for recruiting another man to set fire to her home didn’t receive an unjust sentence even though it was three to four times longer than federal guidelines, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

The panel affirmed the sentence imposed by U.S. District Chief Judge Richard Young of the Southern District of Indiana in United States of America v. Lori Hargis, 12-2153, 12-2153.

“Because the district judge discussed factors ‘sufficiently particularized’ to Hargis’s individual circumstances and adequately justified the sentence, we find no error,” Circuit Judge Ilana Rovner wrote for the panel.

Hargis pleaded guilty to conspiracy to use fire to commit wire fraud, and another charge was dropped. Hargis was accused of recruiting an old school friend to burn down her home in Henderson, Ky., that she’d been unable to sell. The record says she pledged to pay $10,000 out of proceeds from her insurance policy.

Federal guidelines called for a sentence of 15 to 21 months in prison, but Young imposed a 60-month term. He identified aggravating factors as obstruction of justice and Hargis’ role as a leader or organizer in the crime. Her acceptance of responsibility was a mitigating factor.

“Because the facts justify the district court’s decision to apply the upward adjustments, and the district judge adequately explained his rationale for imposing the 60-month sentence, we affirm the district court’s judgment,” Rover wrote.  

 

 

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  1. Paul Ogden doing a fine job of remembering his peer Gary Welsh with the post below and a call for an Indy gettogether to celebrate Gary .... http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2016/05/indiana-loses-citizen-journalist-giant.html Castaways of Indiana, unite!

  2. It's unfortunate that someone has attempted to hijack the comments to promote his own business. This is not an article discussing the means of preserving the record; no matter how it's accomplished, ethics and impartiality are paramount concerns. When a party to litigation contracts directly with a reporting firm, it creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Court reporters, attorneys and judges are officers of the court and must abide by court rules as well as state and federal laws. Parties to litigation have no such ethical responsibilities. Would we accept insurance companies contracting with judges? This practice effectively shifts costs to the party who can least afford it while reducing costs for the party with the most resources. The success of our justice system depends on equal access for all, not just for those who have the deepest pockets.

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