Dog fighting
1:19 pm
Mon January 10, 2011

Court upholds dog-fighting sentences

A federal appeals court in Missouri has upheld the sentences of two men who were involved in the one of the largest dog-fighting rings ever broken up in the United States.

Robert Hackman and Teddy Kiriakidis were among four men who pleaded guilty in September 2009 to one charge of conspiring to violate federal animal fighting laws. Hackman and another man also admitted to actually staging a dog fight.

The federal sentencing guidelines called for Hackman and Kiriakidis to serve as little as probation for their crimes. But U.S. District Judge Carol E. Jackson ruled that, because of the extraordinary cruelty, including long-term torture and the execution of animals who didn't perform well in fights, she would sentence them both to more than a year in prison.

In an appeal, Hackman and Kiriakidis argued that Judge Jackson used information that wasn't legally relevant to the crimes they were sentenced for. A three-judge panel disagreed.

It's a moot point for Hackman, who was released from prison in December. Kiriakidis remains behind bars at a federal prison in Kentucky.