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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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  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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