Criminal Justice

Inmate sentenced for filing false lien that targeted federal judges and DOJ employees

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A Pennsylvania inmate will have to serve an additional four years in prison for filing a false lien targeting three federal judges and two U.S. Department of Justice employees.

U.S. District Judge Christopher Conner sentenced inmate Clarence Hoffert on Monday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Jurors had convicted Hoffert in October on five counts of filing a retaliatory lien.

Hoffert had filed a “lien affidavit” falsely claiming each of the five targeted people owed him $8 million, according to a Feb. 1 opinion denying Hoffert’s post-trial motion for a judgment of acquittal.

Hoffert falsely alleged that his targets had each committed 32 crimes, and he was entitled to compensation under a statute allowing judges to impose fines in criminal cases.

Hoffert had claimed that he wasn’t guilty because he filed the lien document in good faith after a failed quest to obtain documents in connection with the conviction that put him behind bars in the first place. Hoffert had been sentenced to 15 to 34 years in prison for rape, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

When Hoffert didn’t get the documents he wanted, he unsuccessfully sought release from prison and more than $7.3 billion in compensation from the DOJ’s civil division for what he deemed to be wrongful incarceration.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Hoffert had targeted U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter, U.S. District Judge Mark Hornak and U.S. Circuit Judge Julio Fuentes. He also targeted two people in the DOJ’s civil division.

The three federal judges had ruled against Hoffert in his suit for release from prison, while the DOJ officials were involved in the rejection of his compensation claim.

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