Travesty of Justice: 8th Circuit Rejects Rubashkin Appeal, Upholds 27-Year Sentence

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rubashkin2Shocking Decision: In a stunning decision that will shock Rubashkin supporters and legal experts following the Rubashkin case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has upheld the 27 year sentence imposed on SholomMordechai Rubashkin, former executive with Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa. Several months ago, the three-judge panel heard arguments on Rubashkin’s appeal in a federal courtroom in St. Louis, Missouri, with Attorney Nathan Lewin representing him. For Rubashkin, the appeal presented his last real chance of having that conviction vacated or the sentence reduced.

Not only did the court not appeal the sentence, but, in brazen fashion, the judges stated that the sentence was lenient.

“Not only was Rubashkin’s sentence of 324 months within the guideline range, it was at the low end of it,” stated the court in documents obtained by ” Rubashkin argues that because of his past charitable acts and his family obligations he should have been granted a downward departure. These are the very characteristics that the district court properly took into account when considering the § 3353(a) factors. The court weighed Rubashkin’s past charitable acts, nonviolence, and the needs of his family… The cases Rubashkin cites in favor of his unreasonableness argument illustrate instances where downward departures based on charity or family needs have been affirmed. Nothing requires a sentencing court to depart on such grounds. Under all the circumstances the district court did not abuse its considerable discretion in imposing a 324 month sentence,” stated the court.

“We affirm the order of the district court denying a new trial as well as its Judgment,” concluded the court’s judges.

Sholom Mordechai remains imprisoned in the Otisville Federal Correctional Institute in New York.

As most readers of this website know, on May 12, 2008, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency raided the Postville plant of Agriprocessors. Following the raid, on October 30, 2008, Sholom Mordechai was arrested and charged with various immigration-related offenses. On November 14, Rubashkin was arrested again and the indictment amended to reflect new bank-fraud charges alleging that he had inflated the value of the company’s collateral in order to secure a bank loan and that he had falsely certified to the bank that the company was complying with all laws even though the company was employing undocumented aliens.

Thereafter, the indictment was superseded five more times, the final one including 72 alien-harboring, document-fraud, and conspiracy counts, 14 counts of bank fraud, 24 counts of making false statements to a bank, 14 counts of wire fraud, 9 counts of mail fraud, 10 counts of money laundering, and 20 counts of willfully violating an order of the Secretary of Agriculture, relating to the payment of cattle suppliers. In total, there were 91 counts relating to financial charges and 72 immigration-related charges.

Rubashkin had sought to be released on bail pending trial, but was held without bail, after the government argued, among other things, that Rubashkin should not be released as, given that he was Jewish, there was a risk that he would flee to Israel and could not be extradited given Israel’s “Law of Return.” Rubashkin appealed that decision, and the decision was ultimately reversed and Rubashkin released on bail.

The case was presided over by United States District Judge Linda Reade. On June 25, 2009, Judge Reade severed the immigration charges from the financial charges, concluding that trying the counts together “would prevent a jury from making a reliable judgment on the guilt or innocence” of Rubashkin. However, the judge granted the government’s request that the financial counts be heard first. In addition, the judge ordered that the trial be moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, because “negative pretrial publicity had caused the vast majority of potential jurors to develop and maintain a pervasive, strong bias” against Rubashkin.

Rubashkin was tried before a jury between October 13 and November 12, 2009. Over the strenuous objection of the defense, the government was permitted to present almost three days of evidence relating to immigration-related charges, in support of its claim that Rubashkin had committed fraud when he falsely certified to the bank that he was complying with all laws. Ultimately, Rubashkin was convicted of 86 of the 91 counts, being acquitted on five counts relating to the willful violation of an order of the Secretary of Agriculture.

Sentencing took place on April 28-29, 2010. Numerous witnesses testified on Rubashkin’s behalf and hundreds of letters were sent to the court in his support. Initially, the government recommended life imprisonment, but changed its recommendation to 25 years after various former high-ranking federal prosecutors and Department of Justice officials called such a recommendation unfair and unreasonable. Ultimately, the judge ordered Rubashkin to be sentenced to 27 years’ imprisonment.

On August 5, 2010, Rubashkin filed a motion for a new trial. The motion was based on his claim that he had newly discovered evidence, which showed that Judge Reade had privately met and communicated with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and the United States Attorney’s Office for at least six months prior to the May 2008 raid. That evidence consisted primarily of ICE memoranda and e-mails detailing meetings between the judge, ICE, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, wherein the judge asked for briefings on how the operation was to be conducted and indicated that she was “willing to support the operation in any way possible, including staffing and scheduling.” One e-mail even called her a “stakeholder” in the raid. Rubashkin had never been informed of any of these meetings. On October 27, 2010, Judge Reade denied the motion for a new trial.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals which has rejected the Rubashkin appeal is responsible for hearing federal appeals that arise in the United States District Courts in Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. The Eighth Circuit is considered the most Republican appeals court in the nation; nine of its eleven judges were appointed by Republican presidents. It is the only federal appellate court where the majority of the judges have been appointed by a single president-George W. Bush.

Sholom Mordechai’s appeal was heard by Judge William S. Riley, a 57-year-old native of Nebraska and George W. Bush appointee; Diana Murphy, a 77-year-old native of Minnesota and Bill Clinton appointee; and Lavenski Smith, a 53-year-old Arkansas native and George W. Bush appointee. Given the conservative nature of the court, the panel was regarded as a moderate one. Their decision is thus that much more stunning.

Please continue davening for Sholom Mordechai ben Rivkah.

Click here to view the court’s ruling.

{Noam Newscenter}


  1. There is definitely not a fair legal system inplaced in the United States of America. The big banks go off scotttfree from their devious plots, but a well meaning individual who made mistake gets convicted for life.

  2. Let me tell all you people, the governement and even the appeals court had their minds made up before this trial began. They were our to get SMR, and guess what? Can’t you see? This is against all frum people not only SMR. Reshante Reade had no business being a Judge in this case if she ordered the raid lechatchila. That, in itself, is wrongA
    Today, it’s SMR,tomorrow it could cholila be Me or YOU. Yes, this is an act against all of the Klall. Open your eyes

  3. Please do/learn something in zechus of sm. May HKB”H have rachmanus on HIM and may we be zoche to greet the ultimate geulah quickly! This is a message for each one of us, just that one brother is getting the brunt of it. How sad.

  4. We are in galus and now we feel it more than ever. Accept the fact that we are in galus and we will suffer. Just continue and Daven, Yeshuas Hashem keheref ayin! Amen

  5. Welcome to America.
    A country where people get close to nothing for murder & assault and 27 years for creating a false invoice.
    We must stop having so much blind faith in the “Goldeh medina”, a land where justice is as unbalanced as it could get.

  6. Let’s not forget Jonathan Pollard as well, who will G-d forbid begin his 25th year in prison on November 21st. Call you Senators today, and every day until they let him go!!! There is a true miscarriage of justice- Jonathan never had a trial!!!!

  7. Do you know what the posuk says “eisev soneh layakov” ? Did you honestly think he had a fair chance ?
    70 years ago JEWS were also selected .. I see no diffrence except its not being done in mass yet

  8. This is an intentional plot. Open your eyes. We are in golus. This is an intentional plot.
    This is an intentional plot against all frumme yidden. Yes, this is a blood libel.
    I am stunned. I am shocked.

  9. He shouldn’t spend a second in prison. This was a hatchet job on the part of the gov.
    All the tzores began after the PETA-Nazis had done their evil deed.

  10. Notwithstanding the great Tzaar for all of K’lal Yisroel from the suffering of such a wonderful Yid, we should not hurl phrases like “injustice was served” which is very inflamatory. If you mean that they reached the wrong result, that is different than “injustice was served” which really attacks the integrity of the judge, the jury, the prosecutors, and really villifies the American system of justice. This is, excuse the expression, an Al Sharpton type of approach and it is very counterproductive.

  11. There are many more so-called “enlightened” Jews who judge, condemn and HATE their brothers and sisters. Let me assure you “enlightened Jews” you are dumb, dumb, dumb, and your hatred is feeding the anti-Semites. By supposedly standing up for justice to chanfeh the world or the American people, you are causing terrible injustice for you own brothers.

  12. Lemrik Nelson is free and Shulom Rubashkin is in jail for 27 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. someone help me understand GOULUS GOLUS HOW LONG ARE YOU? Im crying

  13. I get it.
    Madoff gets 26 hours of prison time for every million (he intentionally scammed)
    Rothstein gets 365 hours of prison time for every million (he intentionally scammed)
    Rubashkin gets 7629 hours of prison time for every million (CAUSED BY THE SLANDER OF THE FBI)

  14. Jews have never done better anywhere in the world then the USA. To compare this trial to the holocaust is not only stupid, it’s repulsive.

  15. Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin has been chosen by Hashem to be the messenger to get Klal yisroel to do Teshuva & return to Hashem without saying WHY IS THIS HAPPENING. we can all clearly see that right now in this generation we are clearly missing the bond & responsibility of one jew to another is very bad. when the entire klal yisroel bonds together as one & does teshuva then we are all ready for help from Hashem & the Ge’ula UNTIL THEN hashem is waiting & begging us to do teshuva & return to him. May the Ge’ula be here very soon

  16. Even those that will still say America is the greatest country in the world, you will have to admit that our sentencing procedure is a disaster.

  17. AFILU CHEREV CHADA… Nothing is short of Hashem’s power to rescind – even an arrow that has already been sent, can be revoked before it reaches its target. Let’s not forget the powers of Tefila, EVEN NOW!!!

  18. what about the argument regarding the impartiality of the judge? To me (just a layman) that sounded like one of the strogest part of teh appeal?

  19. Today is a sad day. A man is unfairly spending the rest of his life in prison. I only hope Obama pardons him.

    On the other hand it is an even sadder day when some of the commenters call the justice system anti semitic. Something they cannot prove.

    But it is outrageous that Matzav saw it fit to print the comment of Pamela shel Maala above calling for the DEATH of these judges!

    How dare you stoop so low!

  20. Possibly the severity of Mr. Rubashkin’s sentence was due less to the nature of his crimes than to the political and media pressure which well-meaning but foolish people put on the court. It seemed in the eyes of many people to be a blatant attempt to influence the US court system by outside pressure. Worse, the pressure was by Easterners on a Middlewestern court, which was guaranteed to produce a backlash. The court had to make sure that there was no appearance of being pressured into a verdict.

    In the long run, quiet diplomacy will get us further than loud publicity. It may feel better, but as we have seen, the results aren’t always what we intended.

  21. The attorneys general said this is a travesty?

    What exactly was this appeals court thinking? Reade was ain zach. She was obviously a reshanta. But whats pshat here? Not even a reduction?!

  22. Too many writings on the wall. Eartquake and Hurricane in less than a week,long-lasting pit- bottom economy situation, same gender marriage, muslim president and now this horrific news. We need to wake up. Gevald

  23. Hopefully this could be reconsidered en banc or Rubashkin’s people sould apply to the Supreme Court to hear the case.
    The absurdity of how the courts have treated this matter makes one wonder what is missing that the public is not aware of.

  24. i never saw this much injustice . worse crimes are being overlooked, i am sick and sick of this kind of antisem. May G-d Judge the judge.

  25. Keep davening , it’s our only hope, mans not in charge,

    no. 58 question…. Where shall we go?
    what type of a question is that as a frum yid?
    Eretz Yisrael,the land Hashem gave you.

  26. To Oldtimer, there was absolutely no pressure at all placed on the court. There was absolutely nothing done in any way to influence the court. Get your facts straight before condemning other people.

  27. #63: This is not steeping low. this is a fervent tefilah to HKBH to take nekomah on our sonim. So what? I guess you really don’t know what a soneh yisroel really is. Maybe, Hashem spared your grandparents or parents! I can tell you first hand what a soneh yisroel is.

  28. I just heard about this. I am stunned in disbelief. I thought the appeals court would see the truth. They are no differentk, actaully, worse, than Raede.

  29. Of course this is a gezeira, That Hkb”h decreed.
    But, how dare we keep quiet?! How dare we read the news, say nebach, & maybe even feel shocked, but then continue on with our lives when someone’s life is at stake!
    This could’ve happened to anyone! All the gedolim have said that this misscarriage of justice was done solely as an anti semitic act. R’ Sholom Mordechai is representing You & I! But, how dare we keep quiet?
    If R’ Michoel Ber Weissmandl would be alive now, he would do something….. Anything to save a Yid…. He dared to confront the brutal face of a Nazi general & bribed him just to postpone the exportations…
    But, he also did other acts that were not so daring…. Like protesting in Washington!
    I think it’s time someone organizes a protest at Washington D.C. & every able bodied Jew should attend!

  30. This is a travesty of justice!!!!! we must take to the streets and RIOT!!!!!No citizen of the US must stand for this miscarriage of Justice! ALL our liberties are now at stake. If an innocent man can be sentenced to so many years in jail then we all should pack up and leave this country!!!

  31. Mashiach is just about here – so he will be freed and the corrupted system we live under will be punished – bs”d within the year!

  32. Rabbi Wachsman Shlita describes the situation and what Hashem wants from us beautifuly. He also describes what Tsadik we are dealing with here. He says that today it’s Reb SMR and tomorow it could be anyone else. This is not justice, and any claim to the contrary is illusion. Much like the yiden in Germany prior to the holocaust. They also claimed oh everything’s gonna be fine. Germans are not Anti Semites. Their just following the law of the land. Untill they were all taken to the camps. Then these dreamers woke up. But unfortunately it was to late. And had the masses heeded the warning signs, they could have escaped much earlier, and survived. It’s rutsoin hashem but begini oblivious is just wrong. It’s a shanda that some people are so blinded by their faith in the goldena medina. While it’s no question that America has been the best malchus shel chesed ever, since we were thrown into gulos. But nothing’s guarenteed, beliving indefinitely in a human flesh’s determination is bordering on minus- heresy. We must not make a chilul hashem either by saying that these judges should paiger. But frustration is normal. We are after all sisters and brothers or Reb SMR. And this sentence hits us to the depth of our core. But and this might also be why they are punishing RSMR. They know that hurting him hits us all hard. And our tears they seeking, because they have sina to yiden.

  33. R’ Sholom Mordchai, you will go free VERY SHORTLY!!!! The only reason for this upset is because Hashem wants to grant you your ULTIMATE wish, which is to be Mekadesh Shem Shomayim! An appeal that would have been successful successful might have been perceived by many as ” JUSTICE PREVAILS”. We know that Hashem is the one, and the ONLY ONE that is orchestrating your release! The Reshoim sitting on the bench had no Zchus of being part of your salvation, and could not even be the SHLUCHIM – THE MESSENGERS for such a Yeshuah that is not only a redemption for you personaly but will bring such joy and relief to THOUSANDS of Yiden around the world who are waiting and hoping and Davening for your release!!! Did you thing that a few unworthy sub-humans would be elevated to be part if such a Klulisdiger task?! Absolutely not!!! Harbeh Druchim Lamukom!!!! R’ Sholom Mordchai, remember it says: HISYATZVU U’REUH ES YESHUAS HASHEM!!! Stand up!!! B’Koima Zekufah!!! ATEM Nitzovim – ATEM kruyin udom!!! And then with your head up high, you and us will merit to see YESHUAS HASHEM K’HEREF AYIN!!! B’KUROV MAMESH!!!

  34. More than shocking. Makes one aware this is golus and, hopefully,that we’re nearing geulah!We need to keep on saying tehilim for him and the other shvuyim and pray for a nes because ‘things’ and ‘times’ have surely changed since a few years back.

  35. Despite all the opportunities and advances we have made here, the situation of S. Rubashkin and Johnathan Pollard leave much to be said of the mishandling of justice concerning our side and the otherside.

    Efforts should continue to seek relief for both of the above-mentioned SHAVUYIM.

  36. WIth such injustice how can any Jew ever even think about snitching on other to such a corrupt and unjust system. If the government would be fair in their justice then people would’ve respected and trusted them. Now I feel like I’m in Russia under the Czar rule. Cannot trust the government for anything. How discusting and what a shame for America.

    I’m sure the founding fathers of this “Goldene Medina” are turning pver in their graves. Is this the liberty that they sacrificed their lives for? Is this what they meant by “liberty, pursuit of happiness and justice for all” ??

    Shame to the inhumane judges. I did read the opinion and it has a lot of legal flaws in my opinion. Very biased against the appellent. I don’t know whether it’s anti-semetic but it definately is anti-humanity.

  37. Hashem y’rachem alav. This is the golus and we are repeating history (yetziat Mitzraim), and just as the Jews suffered such hardships then, and Hashem saved them just in time, so will our geulah shleimah be and the most special and/or righteous amongst us are bearing the brunt. We need to all say Tehilim for Sholom Rubashkin and for our other captives. We must beseech Hashem for HIS great and infinite mercy for this taiyereh yid. That’s part of what we call achdut!

  38. I am taking upon myself the mitzvah of modesty (tznius) as a means to do teshuva, and hopefully, other Jewish women will join me, and in the merit of our teshuva, may Hashem speedily redeem us from golus.

  39. This is a man who HELPED people who needed the job, regardless of legal or illegal status! Schindler comes to mind, If he was considered a hero for helping so many Jews, then why the so called “court” condemns Rubashkin for being a good human being? We all know here is more than broken laws… We, as fellow human beings must keep demanding his release and pray for him and his family. Any Wall Street white collar thief would not be given that many years in prison. May we all be able to help him…

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