Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Attorney Benjamin Eichholtz Loses Prison Reporting Stay Request

According to various news reports, including the Augusta Chronicle, Georgia attorney Benjamin Eichholtz has lost his motion asking a federal judge to stay his reporting to federal prison while he appeals his sentence. He must now report to prison on May 21st.
Have you see the Eichholtz law firm's television commercials? Naturally, the photograph above is not a depiction of Mr. Eichholtz. Instead, I am confident you recognize that it is a photograph of Robert Vaughn, who not only is a popular actor, but also has been the television ad spokesman for the Eichholtz law firm.
According to news reports, Eichholtz had entered a guilty plea in federal court to a charge of obstructing a federal investigation into his alleged misuse of his law firm's pension and retirement accounts. According to published reports, he was recently sentenced to serve 21 months in prison. He is due to voluntarily surrender to federal prison on May 21st. His criminal lawyers had reportedly argued that Eichholtz should be allowed to remain free on bond during the appeal. They apparently reasoned that, even if he won his appeal on sentencing issues, the victory would be moot if he had already served the full prison sentence. However, the federal judge reportedly determined that the appeal would likely be determined before the time he would be released, if he did win a sentencing reduction in his appeal. Therefore, the Judge ruled that Eichholtz would be required to begin serving his sentence on his scheduled reporting date.
In my opinion, Eichholtz's attorneys raised an interesting issue. In other cases, it is possible that a defendant might win a federal sentencing guidelines issue on appeal, but because they have already served their sentence, the sentencing reduction victory is rendered moot. As a former federal prosecutor, I actually once saw this occur in the sentencing appeal in a defendant's medicare fraud case.
But, unfortunately for Mr. Eichholtz, the issue did not work or apply in his case. In my opinion, the Judge reached the proper decision in this case. And not even a fine celebrity spokesman like Robert Vaughn can help in a situation like this!

1 comment:

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