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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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