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United States v. Lynch

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

January 20, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
STEVEN J. LYNCH, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM ORDER DENYING RELEASE PENDING APPEAL

          Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge.

         Defendant, Steven J. Lynch (“Lynch”), a highly skilled tax attorney and sophisticated businessman who co-owned and operated a collection of businesses that make up the Iceoplex at Southpointe, [1] was found guilty, by a Jury after 19 hours of careful deliberations, of 16 counts of willful failure to pay over withheld employment taxes in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7202, of a 29-count Superseding Indictment, [2] on September 9, 2016. On January 12, 2017, the Court sentenced Lynch to a term of imprisonment, within the guideline range, of 48 months to be followed by a term of 3 years of supervised release, a fine in the amount of $75, 000, and restitution to the Internal Revenue Service in the amount of $793, 145 - - which is the amount of wages withheld from employees' pay for employment taxes that remain unpaid for the quarters for which Lynch was found guilty by the Jury.

         Lynch has appealed the Judgment in this case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Doc. No. 270. He also moves this Court for release pending appeal pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3143(b)(1). Doc. No. 269.

         The majority of Lynch's arguments were previously raised during pre-trial rulings and within his post-conviction Motion for Acquittal or, in the alternative, Motion for a New Trial, doc. no. 235, which was denied by the Court's Memorandum Order at doc. no. 260 prior to sentencing. His other arguments related to the applicable sentencing factors were thoroughly discussed in the Court's tentative findings and rulings, doc. no. 263, which were adopted as final with modifications at the sentencing hearing, and in the Court's colloquy during the sentencing hearing. The most effective way to understand these numerous prior legal rulings is to read the Court's decisions at doc. nos. 260 and 263, which, for the sake of brevity, are incorporated herein.

         For the reasons set forth in those rulings, doc. nos. 260 and 263, and for the reasons that follow, the Court will deny Lynch's Motion for Release Pending Appeal.

         I. LEGAL STANDARDS

         Title 18 United States Code Section 3143 provides:

         (b) Release or detention pending appeal by the defendant.-

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), the judicial officer shall order that a person who has been found guilty of an offense and sentenced to a term of imprisonment, and who has filed an appeal or a petition for a writ of certiorari, be detained, unless the judicial officer finds-
(A) by clear and convincing evidence that the person is not likely to flee or pose a danger to the safety of any other person or the community if released under section 3142(b) or (c) of this title; and
(B) that the appeal is not for the purpose of delay and raises a substantial question of law or fact likely to result in-
(i) reversal,
(ii) an order for a new trial,
(iii) a sentence that does not include a term of imprisonment, or
(iv) a reduced sentence to a term of imprisonment less than the total of the time already served plus the expected duration of the appeal process.

18 U.S.C.A. § 3143.

         The primary inquiry at issue here is whether Lynch's appeal raises a “substantial question of law or fact” likely to result in reversal, a new trial, a non-custodial sentence, or a reduced sentence.[3] A “substantial question” has been described as one which is either novel, has not been decided by controlling precedent, or ...


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