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Home Sections MiscellaNEWS Fil Am Pleads Guilty to Threats Then Files Appeal for “Unreasonable 46-month Sentence”
Fil Am Pleads Guilty to Threats Then Files Appeal for “Unreasonable 46-month Sentence” PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Joseph G. Lariosa   
Monday, 19 October 2009 06:20


By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(Journal Group Link International)

 

C HICAGO, Illinois (JGLi) – A Filipino American, who pleaded guilty to eight counts of transmitting threatening communications, has filed an appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cleveland, Ohio, saying the “district court’s failure to adequately articulate its reasoning for imposing” on him a 46-month sentence was “arbitrary” and “procedurally unreasonable.”

 

David A. Tuason of Cleveland has asked the Court of Appeals to “vacate his sentence and remand his case to the district court for resentencing.”

 

In a 27-page brief filed by his lawyer, Jeffrey B. Lazaruz of the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Cleveland, on Tuason’s behalf, Mr. Tuason said, the district court “committed three errors, each of which rendered his sentence unreasonable.”

 

In announcing Mr. Tuason’s sentence, the district court stated: “All right. I think the Guideline sentence is appropriate. I have taken all the factors into consideration. I think the Guidelines sentence is appropriate. So what I’m going to do is place you in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons to be imprisoned for a term of 46 months.”

 

Mr. Tuason said the court failed to properly calculate the Guidelines range; failed to consider factors as well as other parties’ arguments; and failed to adequately articulate its reasoning for imposing the particular sentence chosen, including any rejection of the parties’ arguments.

 

He said the district court did not explain nor analyze why the imposition of the 46-month sentence was “sufficient but not greater than necessary” and “therefore review of the reasonableness of the sentence is impossible and arbitrary.”

 

In his sentencing memorandum, Mr. Tuason requested leniency in sentencing for a number of mitigating factors: He had no criminal history whatsoever and had a very supportive family. He has history of psychological problems based on his diagnosis of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and health issues, which include Lymph Pancreatitis. He had requested placement a facility that can provide treatment for his health issues.

 

Mr. Tuason also expressed “remorse for the instant offenses, his desire to be employed again, and his health problems.”

 

Mr. Tuason pleaded guilty to eight-count indictment charging him with eight counts of transmitting threatening communications, among them to multiple African-American men, including an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, a former NBA basketball player, musicians, news anchors, and a juvenile, in which Tuason threatened to kill the recipients.


The victims of Mr. Tuason were located in
Ohio and throughout the United States. While Mr. Tuason sent the majority of his communications from the Cleveland area, he also sent communications from New York and Pennsylvania, as well as other parts of Ohio

 

Prosecuting the perpetrators of bias-motivated crimes is a top priority of the Justice Department.  Since 2001, the Civil Rights Division has charged 223 defendants in 154 cases of bias-motivated crimes.


In one of the communications, Mr. Tuason threatened to blow up the Supreme Court building.  In other communications detailed in the indictment, he threatened to castrate, shoot or stab his victims. 

In addition to the threats, Mr. Tuason’s communications typically contained racial slurs denouncing inter-racial relationships.  As part of his guilty plea, Mr. Tuason admitted that his actions in transmitting the communications were motivated by racially based animosity toward individuals he believed to be involved in inter-racial relationships, as well as the children of inter-racial couples.


“The defendant’s despicable threats are offensive to our nation’s fundamental values,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Becker.  “The Justice Department is committed to vigorously prosecuting the federal laws prohibiting violent acts motivated by ignorance and hate.”
 

“It was the persistence of the FBI over many years that resulted in this prosecution,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Edwards. “We are gratified that the investigation not only solved cases involving nationally prominent victims but also redressed matters involving victims who are local residents of our community. Whether a citizen is ordinary or nationally prominent, no person should be required to endure the types of threatening communications involved in this case. Persons who may be tempted to send such communications either by U.S. mail or by computer technology should realize that their actions will be investigated and prosecuted vigorously.”

 

Enforcing Tenaciously Civil-rights Laws

 

S pecial Agent in Charge Figliuzzi said, “There is no room for hate crimes in a civil society. For 20 years, the FBI never gave up on a search for the writer of these violent and hate-filled letters and our dedication to this case reflects our dedication to tenaciously enforcing the civil rights laws of our nation.”


The maximum penalties for conviction on the charge involving the Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court are 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release following any period of incarceration.  The maximum penalties for the remaining counts are five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release following any period of incarceration.

 
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benita Pearson and Dean Valore of the U.S. Attorneys Office for the Northern District of Ohio with assistance from the Criminal Section of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.  The case was investigated by special agents of the FBI Civil Rights Squad in the Cleveland Field Office.


Prosecuting the perpetrators of bias-motivated crimes is a top priority of the Justice Department.  Since 2001, the Civil Rights Division has charged 223 defendants in 154 cases of bias-motivated crimes. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net) # # #



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Last Updated on Monday, 19 October 2009 06:29
 

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