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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. 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

  2. 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

  3. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  4. I totally agree with John Smith.

  5. An idea that would harm the public good which is protected by licensing. Might as well abolish doctor and health care professions licensing too. Ridiculous. Unrealistic. Would open the floodgates of mischief and abuse. Even veteranarians are licensed. How has deregulation served the public good in banking, for example? Enough ideology already!

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