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7th Circuit declines to second guess co-defendant credibility in firearm sentence

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Contradictory testimony given in two plea agreements presented the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division, with the “classic choice” of whom to believe.

However, the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals declined to second guess the District Court’s decision, saying the lower court was “uniquely and well-situated to assess the credibility of these witnesses.”

The 7th Circuit affirmed Farshad Ghiassi’s 70-month sentence in United States of America v. Farshad Ghiassi, 12-3596. It found the District Court committed no error in determining Ghiassi’s offense level and the resulting sentence.

Ghiassi pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S. code 922(g)(1) after he was arrested for selling an AK-47 to an undercover federal agent. During his court appearance, he disputed his co-defendant’s claim that she had purchased eight firearms on his behalf.

The District Court postponed the decision to accept Ghiassi’s plea until it had questioned his co-defendant. Ultimately, the court believed the co-defendant that she had purchased the guns at the request of Ghiassi.

The finding that Ghiassi possessed more weapons and that he was not credible increased his offense level, bumping him into the higher sentencing range of 70 to 87 months.

Although the 7th Circuit agreed with Ghiassi that in his co-defendant’s guilty plea she admitted to lying, the court noted the District Court would have been aware of this but still found her to be credible.

Also, the 7th Circuit ruled that Ghiassi’s alternative argument that the District Court deprived him of due process by relying on the statements of his co-defendant is a non-starter. Ghiassi knew the court intended to rely on the co-defendant’s statements and he had opportunity to contest those statements.

   
 

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  1. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  2. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  3. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  4. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

  5. I totally agree with John Smith.

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