A divided federal appeals court said a 292-year sentence for a string of nonviolent Arizona burglaries over three months was not "grossly disproportionate" to the crime and did not violate the Eighth Amendment, reports Cronkite News. Atdom Mikels Patsalis received a "undeniably harsh" sentence, said judges of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In a dissent, Judge Morgan Christen said state courts violated the Eight Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Christen said Patsalis' sentence is disproportionate "to other Arizona crimes" and compared to sentences in other states as well as the plea deals he rejected.
The case began in November 2013, where Patsalis began a string of burglaries that included random items totaling about $5,000. However, he never confronted or used violence against his victims. When he was confronted by police he confessed to the burglaries and was indicted on 22 burglary counts, one count of credit card theft, one count of unlawful means of transportation and one count of attempted means of transportation. Prosecutors offered Patsalis two plea deals, but he rejected both and went to trial.