Judges uphold identity thief's sentence

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In a decision Friday, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals repeated its holding that a District judge can satisfy the review standards under 18 U.S.C. Section 3553(a) without having to list every possible sentencing factor or detail of every argument raised for the federal appellate court to find that the sentence was proper.

Garjon Collins challenged his 108-month sentence after pleading guilty to 11 counts of misusing a Social Security number and 11 counts of aggravated identity theft. His sentence composed of 60 months on each of the counts 1-11 to run concurrently with each other; 24 months on count 12 to run consecutively to counts 1-11; 24 months on count 13, to run consecutively to count 12, and 24 months each on counts 11-14, to run concurrently with each other and with count 13.

Collins believed his sentence should be reduced by 24 months, arguing the judge improperly imposed consecutive sentences on counts 12 and 13, which are aggravated identity theft convictions. He thought the sentences should run concurrently.

The 7th Circuit found Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen’s decision to impose consecutive sentences for two of the 11 convictions for aggravated identity theft was reasonable in light of the facts of the case, and was an appropriate exercise of discretion.

The appellate court also analyzed whether Collins’ sentence was reasonable in light of the sentencing factors of 18 U.S.C. Section 3553(a). Collins argued the District Court failed to consider his mitigating factors, including his stroke and his cooperation with authorities.

The District Court did take note of Collins’ physical impairments and recognized that the Bureau of Prisons has facilities that could accommodate his needs and the fact that the judge didn’t mention Collins’ childhood trauma specifically isn’t an error, wrote Chief Judge David R. Herndon, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, sitting by designation in United States of America v. Garjon Collins, No. 10-2576.

“Although this court has stated this principle before, it bears repetition here: When a district judge makes an adequate, thoughtful analysis of the sentencing factors vis-à-vis the facts of the case, and the district judge makes it clear, on the record, that in reaching the final sentence, he has considered the applicable sentencing factors, and the arguments made by the parties, the sentencing judge has, then, satisfied the review standards which must be met,” wrote Chief Judge Herndon. “It is simply not required that the sentencing judge tick off every possible sentencing factor or detail and discuss, separately, every nuance of every argument raised for this court to find that the sentence was proper.”

In light of the record as a whole, the District judge properly considered the Section 3553(a) sentencing factors and imposed an appropriate, reasonable sentence.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.