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Defendant Appeals Sentence


A New York Criminal Lawyer said the plaintiff and appellee of the case is the United States of America. The defendant and appellant of the case is Paul Darvin Lamm. The case is being heard in the Fifth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals.


Paul Darvin Lamm, the defendant has been convicted and sentenced for a previous crime. The crime that is currently in question is a guilty plea to being a user of a controlled substance and possessing a firearm. This is referred to as the instant offense. His appeal is only in regard to his sentencing. He is contesting that the petty theft shoplifting charge not be included when determining his criminal history points for calculation of his prison sentencing. This appeal brings into question whether or not an offense of petty theft is similar to an insufficient funds check, which is excluded from an individual’s criminal history report under a set of specific conditions.

Prior Convictions

Before the instant offense of using a controlled substance while in possession of a firearm was committed, Lamm had been charged with four other criminal convictions. A New York Criminal Lawyer said these prior convictions included a petty theft charge, where there is no imprisonment involved under Texas law.

Presentence Report

The presentence investigation report has recommended a criminal history point for the conviction in the petty theft case. Lamm made an objection to this stating that petty theft and insufficient funds are similar crimes and therefore should not be included in the presentencing report. The officer that prepared the first report then added an addendum to the presentence report that differentiated between the two crimes.

District Court Rulings

Lamm took his objection to the district court and without giving any reasons; the district court ruled that the petty theft crime would be included in his criminal history report. A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said he was then sentenced to 21 months in jail.

Case Discussion and Ruling

When determining this case it is necessary to compare two different offenses. Under Texas law, a person who writes a bad check will only be given a fine and no jail time is issued. In the petty theft case, the defendant was convicted of the crime, but only fined and not sentenced to serve any jail time for the offense.

The main differences between a bad check case and a shoplifting case is that a shoplifting case required confrontation. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said there is more of a risk of physical contact and harm coming to others. The other issue that arises from a petty theft crime compared to a bad check crime is that it is more difficult to detect and apprehend the person who commits a petty theft. Committing crimes that involve bad checks are easier to track down.

In this particular case we must also consider the past convictions of Lamm. He has had four convictions from the years 1997 to 2001. These recurring convictions indicate the likelihood of recurring criminal activities. In addition, the case that Lamm compares his to has no relevance in the case as it is for a bad check and requires ambiguity in the criminal statute.

After reviewing the facts of the case the court rules that the previous court’s judgment is upheld. The petty theft charge is included in determining the sentencing of Lamm and the current sentence will remain in place. The appeal is denied.

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