ILNews

Circuit judges commend attorney in opinion

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals granted an attorney's motion to withdraw his client's notice of appeal because the attorney couldn't find a non-frivolous basis for an appeal. The court also commended the attorney for how he handled the appeal.

In U.S.A. v. Alan R. King, Jr., No. 07-2143, King pleaded guilty to stealing government property, loan fraud, false representation of Social Security numbers, and federal student financial aid fraud. The District Court sentenced him to 105 months imprisonment, five years of supervised release, $183,845 in restitution, and a $400 special assessment.

King filed a notice to appeal, which caused his attorney to file a motion to withdraw because the attorney couldn't discern a non-frivolous basis for the appeal. The Circuit Court limited its review to the potential frivolous issues identified by the attorney and King and found all the issues raised would be considered frivolous in appeal.

King argued he was not of sound mind when he pleaded guilty. In the per curiam opinion, the court disagreed, stating after he entered his plea he gave coherent and articulate responses.

King contends the District Court didn't give a sound reason as to why it rejected the plea agreement King reached with the government. The District Court judge did explain that he rejected the plea agreement because he disagreed with the parties' stipulated offense level, which improperly awarded King for accepting responsibility. Accepting the plea deal would give King a sentence lower than what he should receive based on the crimes he committed.

King wanted to challenge the court's finding he obstructed justice by attempting to flee while on pre-trial release. King did not return to the community corrections center where he was staying and even obtained a new driver's license with a stolen Social Security number. King also wanted to know if he could challenge the District Court's refusal to award him a reduction for the acceptance of responsibility. By recommitting the same type of crime while on release, it showed he did not accept responsibility, the court ruled, and challenging either issue would be frivolous.

A challenge to King's criminal history and whether he could challenge his prison sentence would also be frivolous, the court decided. King lied to police and a judge that his license had been suspended and claimed he was a twin and police had the wrong person in custody. The offense showed a pattern of deceptive conduct. In regards to his prison sentence, the District Court concluded a heavy sentence was required given the seriousness of his offenses.

The circuit judges closed the opinion recognizing King's attorney, James McKinley, for his ability to balance representing his client and not filing a frivolous appeal.
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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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