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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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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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