Thursday, December 06, 2012


Your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer feels fortunate when fate, providence and sheer blind luck somehow combine to send that stray twenty dollar bill his way close enough to pocket it now and then.
How much better it would be to possess a very rare and unusual $500 million United States Treasury Reserve Bank Note from the 1930s. Unfortunately the Florida Defendant's fancy U.S. Treasury Reserve Bank Note proved to be fake. 

Series 1934 $100,000 bill, obverse
$100,000 Bill, 1934: Largest Ever Issued
Series 1934 $100,000 bill, reverse

The man was charged with Federal Scheme to Defraud when he supplied not only the bank note but along with it, an actual old bank safe vault holding the note providing an authentic provenance during what must have been a weighty FBI sting. 
The federal sentencing guidelines as reflected in the Presentencing Investigation Report recommended at least 42 months of Federal prison. 

Press Reports note that the Florida Federal Judge decided to show mercy for an unusual reason not normally found in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines instead:
"It becomes almost laughable," the judge said. "To me, it doesn't promote respect for the law to send someone to prison ... for doing something so silly and outrageous."
The judge sentenced Ayison to six months of house arrest, five years of probation and 250 hours of community service and must also undergo a psychiatric evaluation...
That psychiatric evaluation sounds like a great idea, but so does showing some merciful discretion in a case like this where the absurd facts clearly led the Court to consider that jail in this case was inappropriate.
There's a lesson here for defense counsel. If an underlying criminal charge or the facts and circumstances of a case gives the judge a smile, he'll find it difficult to give the Defendant prison. More of the best Judges are wisely using their sentencing discretion to reduce unnecessary prison time in cases like this one.
Your Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney suggests that when a guy comes to you with a fancy antique safe and a $500 million United States Treasury Bank Note, you should remember that Federal prosecutors told the Judge that there is no such thing as a genuine half-billion dollar U.S. Bank Note, but that antique safe might be worth something.