ILNews

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

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrint

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.

   
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
ADVERTISEMENT