Bolt Sentencing Could Hinge on ‘Extraordinarily Lengthy Criminal History'

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Jun. 23, 2014 12:00 am  

Mug shots from 1981 and 2013 illustrate Jim Bolt’s criminal history, which U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks described as “extraordinarily lengthy.”

James W. “Jim” Bolt’s defense attorney has been squabbling with federal prosecutors over the seriousness of the crimes to which Bolt pleaded guilty in January.

In exchange for having some counts dropped, Bolt admitted acquiring unclaimed property being held by the state of California by creating phony documents indicating that the property had been donated to his Situs Cancer Research Center in Rogers.

Defender Andrew R. Miller of Rogers made a valiant effort to keep the official value of Bolt’s crimes below $2.5 million and to discount the prosecution’s contention that a bunch of phony contracts and forged documents should be considered “sophisticated means” of fraudulently taking possession of the $2.4 million that Bolt admits he stole.

“[O]ne would expect any intent to defraud to be accompanied by fraudulent documents,” Miller suggested.

Size matters and so does sophistication when calculating the guideline sentence for a defendant convicted in federal court. Miller has argued that Bolt should face between 37 and 46 months in federal prison, while Assistant U.S. Attorney Glen R. Hines has made a case for the upper end of a calculated range of 57 to 71 months.

But when Bolt is sentenced Monday morning in federal court in Fayetteville, neither calculation may matter.

That’s because U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks, who took over the case from retiring Judge Robert Dawson in April, has indicated an inclination to throw the book at Bolt.

“After reviewing the pre-sentence investigation report” in preparation for Monday’s sentencing, Brooks wrote, “the Court hereby gives notice … that the Court is considering an upward departure under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines and/or an upward variance …”

Federal law outlines a number of reasons that a judge may impose a sentence that is harsher than the guidelines recommend, including “to protect the public from future crimes of the defendant.”

“In this case,” the judge wrote on Friday the 13th, “Bolt has an extraordinarily lengthy criminal history, going back more than forty years.” He has been arrested at least six times and spent, cumulatively, more than 10 years behind bars, although none of his previous convictions can be counted in the sentencing guideline range because they were more than 15 years ago.

“It appears to the Court that Bolt has not been deterred from engaging in criminal activity by previous periods of incarceration or arrest, and he is therefore highly likely to recidivate,” Brooks concluded.

No Stalling



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