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Former Lynchburg mayor’s appeals dropped

The federal criminal case of former Lynchburg Mayor Carl R. Hutcherson Jr. is over.

Hutcherson was convicted last year of fraud and other counts but appealed those convictions to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The government also appealed, contending that the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge James C. Turk was unreasonable.

Federal sentencing guidelines recommended a minimum sentence of 36 months in prison, but Turk instead sentenced Hutcherson to probation and 200 hours of community service and ordered him to pay about $15,000 in fines and restitution.

Turk cited Hutcherson’s poor health, his history of honorable public service and his model behavior while awaiting trial and sentencing as reasons to depart from the guidelines.

The sentence became much more reasonable last month, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided Gall v. U.S. The decision gave trial judges much more leeway in imposing sentences and said those sentences must be interpreted by appellate courts under an abuse of discretion standard.

Gall involved a defendant in an ecstasy distribution conspiracy who also had received probation when the guidelines called for at least 36 months in prison. He acknowledged netting $30,000 from it, but he voluntarily withdrew from the conspiracy several years before he was charged and had graduated from college and started his own business in the interim.

In a statement today, Hutcherson’s attorneys, John P. Fishwick Jr. and John E. Lichtenstein of Roanoke, said the 4th Circuit has entered an order dismissing the appeals of both Hutcherson and the government. “We always believed that the Court’s sentence accurately and appropriately reflected Carl’s lifetime of service to the City of Lynchburg and to so many of its citizens,” the lawyers said.

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