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PALMA v. U.S.

April 21, 1999

JEROME E. PALMA, PETITIONER,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ET AL., RESPONDENT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Katz, Senior District Judge.

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. On December 10, 1987, petitioner Jerome E. Palma pled guilty to a two count information under 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1) for making false statements on a federal income tax return.

2. These charges arose from Palma's conduct while working as a marketing director at Atlantic City casinos. During his tenure in those positions, he received payoffs from various entities that did business with the casinos in return for favorable treatment. He received more than $100,000 in payoffs, some of which he shared with his supervisor. Palma failed to disclose any of that money as income on his tax returns.

3. At his sentencing on February 18, 1988, the court suspended petitioner's sentence, placed him on five years probation and ordered him to pay a fine of $10,000.00. Mr. Palma successfully completed all terms and conditions of his sentence, and he was discharged from probation early.

4. Since this offense, Petitioner has had no adverse contacts with any law enforcement agents.

5. For the past eleven years petitioner has worked as a real estate appraiser. Until approximately two years ago, petitioner was employed by Palma/Lazar Associates. In 1997 petitioner opened his own real estate appraisal business, ProData Services.

6. He seeks relief from the disability because his present occupation requires him to inspect and photograph the inside and outside of houses he appraises, many of which are in high crime neighborhoods. In the course of his appraisal work he is required to carry a camera and other equipment. Frequently that equipment must be left in the car while he is inside the appraised property.

7. He has learned that other appraisers have been robbed and their cars burglarized. He testified as to one incident in which an appraiser's camera was stolen out of his car, and while the appraiser was successfully chasing down the camera thief, someone else stole the car radio. Mr. Palma was unable to testify as to the specifics of any other incident.

8. Other appraisers hired by him have refused to make appraisals in certain neighborhoods. Therefore, Petitioner makes those appraisals himself. Appraisal work in these certain neighborhoods poses such a danger than he needs to carry a handgun for protection while working in those areas. Mr. Palma testified that he would only use a gun in self-defense in a situation where his life was threatened, and not in a situation merely where property was being stolen.

9. Before his conviction, Mr. Palma had owned a gun for fifteen years. He had never received formal training on its use. In connection with one of his license renewals, he was graded acceptable by the State Police.

10. The court accepted several letters of recommendation attached to the petition, all of which are from people who deal with Mr. Palma in his business and who say that his professional and personal character and reputation are excellent. The court also heard testimony from witnesses to the same effect at the hearing.

11. Mark Yaskin is an attorney who has known Mr. Palma personally for twenty-five years and who has represented him and several of Mr. Palma's friends and family members in that time. Mr. Yaskin says that Mr. Palma is "a likeable, hard working person, who is interested in performing his business, as well as personal activities, in a honest and forthright manner. He has an excellent reputation in the community for honesty and integrity and fair dealing, and he conducts himself in a very professional manner." Ex. A. Mr. Yaskin also ...


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