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Judge sentences attorney Page to probation, fine

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SOUTH BEND—Attorney and real estate developer Paul J. Page will serve two years of probation and pay a $10,000 fine for concealing the source of a $362,000 down payment on his purchase of a state-leased office building in Elkhart.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Miller Jr. issued the sentence at a Monday morning hearing in South Bend.

Federal prosecutors had argued Page, 49, should serve a 14-month prison sentence for a wire fraud count. Page pleaded guilty in January before the government tried co-defendants, John M. Bales and William E. Spencer, at an eight-day jury trial in February that ended in acquittal on all 13 counts for the pair.

The judge scoffed at the government's sentencing request for Page, noting the crime resulted in no losses to either the lender or the state. He said Page, a father of three without a criminal record, does not pose a danger of offending again.

Page spoke briefly during the hearing, after taking a few moments to compose himself.

"Hopefully a man is not defined by one action," he said, before turning away from the judge to thank a courtroom full of friends and family members.

Page declined to talk after the sentencing hearing, but his attorney Robert W. Hammerle described the ruling as "utter relief." Hammerle described the offense as an "isolated technical violation" that is actually quite common.

The judge seemed to agree, noting that he hadn't seen "many or any" cases with "less aggravating circumstances."

Prosecutors had argued in a sentencing memorandum that Page should be sentenced at the high end of guidelines, calling for a range of 8 to 14 months, since as an attorney he should have "known better" than to conceal the source of his down payment for the Elkhart building. The down payment came from Bales, who also brokered the lease deal with the state to use the building.

The government said the deal violated an agreement between Bales' firm, Venture Cos., and the state that barred the company from direct or indirect ownership of properties where state agencies leased space.

Hammerle noted that the state's Department of Child Services renewed its lease deal for the building since federal prosecutors filed their case against Bales, Page and Spencer, and are happy with the space.

Before issuing the sentence, Judge Miller said he determined the crime did not fit the sentencing guidelines established in Page's plea agreement. He removed a few sentencing enhancements from the calculation, resulting in a recommended prison sentence between zero and 6 months.

Still, the felony conviction means Page likely will lose his license to practice law. That would be up to the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.
 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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