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. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.