Fake letters supporting ex-Gary cop sent to judge, prosecutors claim
By Teresa Auch Schultz firstname.lastname@example.org August 19, 2013 11:06PM
Updated: September 21, 2013 6:15AM
A former Gary police officer sent fake letters of support to help convince a federal judge to give him a lenient sentence, federal attorneys claim.
A new sentencing memorandum, filed Friday in the U.S. District Court, does not say how many of the letters supporting David Finley were faked or how they were faked, but it does say that federal attorneys believe this is the first time a defendant has done this in the Northern Indiana district.
Finley pleaded guilty in February without a plea agreement to selling a gun to a known felon last summer, and then to selling marijuana to that same person later that day.
About 25 letters of support, allegedly written by Finley’s family and friends, were sent to U.S. District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen, many asking that Finley not be sent to prison. One of the letters was signed by about 150 people.
Federal judges can consider the letters and what they say about a defendant when reaching a sentencing verdict, especially if the letters discuss how a defendant has helped people throughout his life.
The letters written in support of Finley speak of how the Merrillville resident helped others, including a tattoo artist get work when the artist needed money, and how Finley was lead astray by other people to commit his crime.
Federal attorneys argue that because Finley lied about the letters, he should lose credit for accepting responsibility and see his sentenced increased for obstruction justice. They ask that he serve 42 months in prison, instead of the 24 to 30 months federal sentencing guidelines recommend.
“Finley committed another serious crime during the sentencing process,” the filing says. “The court should consider that if the brazen attempt to mitigate his criminal behavior had been prosecuted, a consecutive sentence would have to be imposed.”
Finley is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday.