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COA: ‘Appalling character’ of deadbeat dad merits 10-year sentence

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An Elkhart County father whose child support arrearage neared $57,000 lost his second appeal of a case that already has gone to the Indiana Supreme Court.

In Amir H. Sanjari v. State of Indiana, 20A03-1206-CR-273, the court rejected Amir Sanjari’s arguments that the charges against him constitute double jeopardy and his 10-year executed prison term represents vindictive sentencing.

“In light of the severity of Sanjari’s offenses and his appalling character, we conclude that his ten-year sentence is not inappropriate,” Judge Cale Bradford wrote for the unanimous panel.

The Indiana Supreme Court in 2011 ruled in Sanjari’s initial appeal that Indiana Code 35-46-1-5 permits separate Class D felony charges of nonsupport for each dependent child – Sanjari had two – but that only one charge may be enhanced to a Class C felony when the unpaid obligation exceeds $15,000.

Sanjari, who holds a doctorate in nuclear physics and at one time had been employed at the University of Notre Dame, had been sentenced to two consecutive five-year terms, and the Supreme Court remanded to the trial court for resentencing. In May, the trial court imposed a sentence of eight years for the Class C felony and two years for the Class D felony.

The COA ruled resentencing was not vindictive and that Sanjari provided no evidence to support the argument. Sanjari “points to only the numerous filings he made, including a habeas corpus petition and numerous motions for change of venue, and material from his website, some of which was highly critical of the trial court and the prosecutors and attorneys of Elkhart County. There is simply no evidence, however, that the trial court took any of Sanjari’s criticisms into account at resentencing,” Bradford wrote.

“Were we to accept Sanjari’s argument, it would open the door for future defendants to establish actual vindictiveness claims simply by being vexatious, a result we obviously cannot endorse.”

The court noted Sanjari’s “onslaught of legal proceedings” against his ex-wife that cost her nearly $100,000 in legal fees alone.

“Sanjari has a history of voluntary unemployment,” Bradford wrote, and “has shown a contempt for the law and an unwillingness to conform his behavior to social norms.

“Sanjari’s character is illustrated thorough his defiance, his abuse of the legal system in order to punish (his ex-wife), and his utter refusal to satisfy his legal obligations to his children. In light of the nature of Sanjari’s offenses and his character, a ten-year executed sentence is fully justified,” the court held.
 

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  1. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  2. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  3. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

  4. I am one of Steele's victims and was taken for $6,000. I want my money back due to him doing nothing for me. I filed for divorce after a 16 year marriage and lost everything. My kids, my home, cars, money, pension. Every attorney I have talked to is not willing to help me. What can I do? I was told i can file a civil suit but you have to have all of Steelers info that I don't have. Of someone can please help me or tell me what info I need would be great.

  5. It would appear that news breaking on Drudge from the Hoosier state (link below) ties back to this Hoosier story from the beginning of the recent police disrespect period .... MCBA president Cassandra Bentley McNair issued the statement on behalf of the association Dec. 1. The association said it was “saddened and disappointed” by the decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown. “The MCBA does not believe this was a just outcome to this process, and is disheartened that the system we as lawyers are intended to uphold failed the African-American community in such a way,” the association stated. “This situation is not just about the death of Michael Brown, but the thousands of other African-Americans who are disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers.” http://www.thestarpress.com/story/news/local/2016/07/18/hate-cops-sign-prompts-controversy/87242664/

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