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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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  1. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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