Sentence upheld for former Alabaster attorney convicted of fraud

ALABASTER – A former Alabaster Attorney who pleaded guilty to bilking multiple investors out of more than $2.8 million in 2014 filed a motion to vacate his sentence, which was dismissed by the United States Court of Appeals on Friday, Oct. 20.

Christopher Shawn Linton, 38, was sentenced to almost six years in prison after he was found guilty of wire fraud, money laundering, securities fraud and bank fraud. He allegedly spent the money on championship football tickets, private jet flights and other items.

Linton

As part of his plea agreement, Linton was ordered to pay $2.5 million to the investors he bilked and to pay $19,850 to Iberia Bank in restitution for the bank fraud charge.

Linton, who is currently serving out a prison sentence of five years and 11 months, filed a motion to vacate his sentence, arguing that he would have received a less severe sentence if the District Court found him bipolar.

Linton alleged that he notified his trial counsel of his bipolar disorder, provided the trial counsel with a list of treating physicians and spoke with the counsel of presenting medical records. The pre-sentencing report stated that Linton suffered from bipolar disorder, as well as depression, and had attempted suicide twice.

According to the COA ruling, Linton presented a letter from a psychiatrist that stated that Linton had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder during his sentencing hearing. However, the District Court found that the letter did not confirm that Linton suffered from bipolar disorder, but only indicated that that he had been diagnosed. Linton’s counsel did not object.

Linton argued that his counsel was ineffective because they did not object to the District Court’s finding that the letter did not prove his bipolar disorder diagnosis and “for failing to investigate and present evidence of his bipolar disorder.”

The District Court deemed Linton’s mental health history as established for sentencing purposes and ruled that Linton serve his sentence at a facility that is capable of meeting his “mental health needs.”

“Because I’m going to order that you be placed in a facility where you can receive mental health care treatment, I find that this sentence will provide you with the needed medical care in the most effective manner,” the District Judge stated.

According to the COA, Linton could not establish a reasonable probability of a different sentence, due to the fact that the District Court took his mental health problems into account at his sentencing hearing.