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Appeals case backfires for convicted felon PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Staff Writer   
Friday, 10 May 2013 10:27
Convicted felons frequently find issues in their case they wish to appeal. The legal system has all the rules and regulations in place to handle those appeals, and it is an integral part of our American justice system.
Sometimes it backfires on the defendant.
In the majority of cases, the appellate court upholds the lower court's rulings and nothing changes. However the case against Fatjon Kazazi is unusual in two ways. First, Kazazi filed two separate appeals in his case and the latter one, at least in part, was successfully heard by the Sixth District Court of Appeals. However, the second noteworthy part of his appeal, is that despite his success in the second filing, it resulted in him receiving more time in prison than what he would have otherwise served.
Late in March month, court records indicate the reduced prison time Kazazi received following the first appeal, was taken away with his "successful" second appeal.
Perhaps, the best away to explain is to look at the timeline of events.
In May 2002, Kazazi, now 45, of Chicago, was driving on Interstate 280 in Lake Township. His vehicle was stopped and 104 bags of marijuana were found with a street value of $100,000. The pot weighed in excess of 27,200 grams, roughly 60 pounds.
In June 2002, he was indicted by a Wood County grand jury for trafficking in drugs and drug abuse, both second-degree felonies.
On April 2, 2003, he entered a no contest plea to trafficking and possession of marijuana and was sentenced by now retired Judge Charles Kurfess to the statutorily mandated eight-year prison term. That sentence was stayed pending his direct appeal.
On Aug. 6, 2004, the district court affirmed the lower court's conviction and sentence and Kazazi was ordered to to surrender on Aug. 23, 2004, to begin serving his sentence. He failed to surrender. A nationwide arrest warrant was issued, however, he fled the country.
Approximately seven years later, the defendant was arrested in Canada and was extradited in connection with this matter.
On Nov. 23, 2011, the trial court conducted a resentencing hearing in order to conform with new post-release control notification requirements. In the course of that resentencing, the appellate court said the trial court properly addressed the required post-release control notification, however Judge Robert Pollex also modified the term of incarceration from eight years, reducing the sentence to five years. That was done at the request of the prosecution.
Kazazi again appealed.
In its March ruling this year, the court of appeals ruled that the post-release control portion of the 2011 action was proper; however, there was no leeway allowed on the actual sentence.
In its decision, the appellate judges wrote, "The Supreme Court of Ohio clearly defined the confines of a ... resentencing hearing by holding in relevant part. ... The remainder of the sentence ... remains valid under the principles of res judicata."
They higher court thus ruled, Kazazi must serve the eight years originally ordered instead of the modified five years.
 

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