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Recent SCOTUS decision trims identity-theft sentence

February 7, 2014

An Indiana man convicted of stealing the Social Security numbers of more than 10 people must be sentenced to less time in prison because of a recent Supreme Court of the United States decision, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a five-page opinion Friday.

Timmothy Williams’ sentence will be significantly reduced, the Circuit Court ruled, because he was sentenced under guidelines calling for longer incarceration that were revised after Williams committed the crimes.

Williams pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond, to an 11-count indictment charging him with identity theft, making a false statement to an IRS agent and aggravated identity theft. He was sentenced to 56 months in prison, compounded by an additional 24 months because there were more than 10 victims. In a per curiam opinion, a panel of the Circuit Court ruled that there would have been no constitutional problems with the sentence under prior 7th Circuit precedent.

“While this case was on appeal, however, the Supreme Court held that applying the guidelines in effect at sentencing violates the ex post facto clause if it raises the defendant’s imprisonment rage,” the court wrote, citing Peugh v. United States, 133 S.Ct. 2072, 2078 (2013).

The panel remanded United States of America v. Timmothy Williams, 13-1260, to Northern District Chief Judge Philip P. Simon with instructions to resentence Williams to 30 to 37 months in prison.
 

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