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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. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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