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January 18, 2008

Will mom have an impact in Padilla's sentencing?

This local article discusses the testimony of a very interested participant in the sentencing proceeding of Jose Padilla.  Here are excerpts:

Jose Padilla's mother told a federal judge Thursday he is "not a monster" despite convictions on terrorism conspiracy and pleaded for mercy instead of the life prison sentence sought by prosecutors.

Padilla's lawyer also asked U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke to consider the harsh, isolated conditions under which Padilla was held during 3 1/2 years in military custody as an enemy combatant.

Estela Lebron, who said she raised Padilla on her own, described him as a loving son who seemed to turn a corner in what had been a troubled life when he converted to Islam in the 1990s. Padilla was a gang member as a youth in Chicago and has a long criminal record. "My son is not a monster, and he's not dangerous to society," Lebron said in a brief statement. "I believe in justice, and I believe what they are doing to my son is an injustice."

The statement came on the sixth day of a sentencing hearing for Padilla, 37, and co-defendants Adham Amin Hassoun, 45, and 46-year-old Kifah Wael Jayyousi. They were convicted in August of being part of a support cell that provided money, supplies and recruits for al-Qaida and other Islamic extremist groups around the world.  Sentencing guidelines call for prison terms of between 30 years and life, but Cooke has discretion to impose lesser sentences. The judge has not said when she will make her final decision, with the hearing set to continue Friday.

Here is a tough gendered question to ponder (and comment upon) over a long weekend: do you think the plea for mercy from Jose Padilla's mother is more (or less) likely to have an impact because the sentencing judge is a woman?

January 18, 2008 at 08:05 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I would imagine a U.S. district judge has sat through enough of this type of testimony during sentencing hearings to not be easily swayed, regardless of the gender factor.

I'd be more interested in reading what you think about the defense bringing up Padilla's incarceration as a military combatant.

I'm a new observer of federal court, but that seems like a fairly novel argument to bring up during sentencing. Tearful female family member is sort of a staple of the sentencing phase of any trial.

Posted by: JB | Jan 19, 2008 3:21:30 PM

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