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April 10, 2008

Military man gets break at federal sentencing

Regular readers know that I support giving defendants credit for prior good works at sentencing, in part because they always gets discredit for prior bad works in the form of criminal history enhancements.  For this reason, I found this local federal sentencing story, headlined "Decorated veteran gets a break at sentencing," quite interesting.  Here are details:

By all accounts, Timothy Pentaleri made quite an impression as a major in the Army Reserves. He apparently made an impression on U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson, too.   Magnuson decided Wednesday that the decorated veteran deserved a sizable break on his sentence for attempting to kidnap his ex-girlfriend last June at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Pentaleri, 43, of Belleville, Ill., pleaded guilty in December with the understanding that sentencing guidelines suggest a prison term of 7¼ to 9 years.  He waived any appeals, providing the sentence didn't exceed that period.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald argued that although the guidelines are advisory, they are presumptively reasonable, so Pentaleri should be sentenced accordingly.  But defense attorney Joseph Tamburino argued that his client deserved recognition for his distinguished 22-year military career, genuine remorse, lack of a criminal record, and strong support from family, friends and colleagues.

Military records and letters from supporters describe Pentaleri as one of the top majors in his brigade, "a diplomatic genius" who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.  He was commended for saving the government millions of dollars in port fees by reducing shipping times to Iraq. The Army awarded him a Bronze Star in 2006....

Magnuson credited police and other law enforcement for averting a tragedy. He shaved 15 months from the bottom of Pentaleri's recommended prison term, ordering him to spend six years in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

April 10, 2008 at 08:07 AM | Permalink

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Comments

6 years is a break?

Posted by: | Apr 10, 2008 8:13:29 AM

"Assistant U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald argued that although the guidelines are advisory, they are presumptively reasonable, so Pentaleri should be sentenced accordingly."

I wonder if this accurately captures what the AUSA argued since it would be completely contrary to law. I wish the AUSA would get called out more often for making entirely baseless arguments.

Posted by: | Apr 10, 2008 8:33:30 AM

6 years is a break if the judge would've given you 7.5-9 otherwise. As the rest of the article explains, he was planning to kidnap his ex-girlfriend:

-------from the article:----------
Pentaleri had lost his job overseeing transportation for the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan over an allegation that he had been stalking the woman.

As airport police approached Pentaleri, he ditched a wig, a fake mustache and goatee. Officers found weapons on him and a stolen Minnesota license plate on his SUV. In the vehicle was a large plastic liner, duct tape, plastic flex cuffs, rope and a shovel. He also had directions to an area near the woman's Minnesota home.
------------end quote--------------

What could the shovel be for...? As long as this guy's alive, his ex-girlfriend has reason to fear for her safety.

Posted by: | Apr 10, 2008 9:09:56 AM

The way I figure it, if his crime was truly an anomaly, then 6 years is too long. If "as long as this guy's alive, his ex-girlfriend has reason to fear for her safety," then 9 years is too short.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Apr 10, 2008 9:48:22 AM

How can six years be a break? the judge took 15 months off 20% off the bottom of the guidelines. Is 20% a huge break? Look at the system we live in you could have spent 22 years as a drug dealer instead of in the military. As the drug dealer you have 22 years of getting to know pretty much bad people now your caught you go in to the USAO and give them information next thing you know a 5 K is headed your way and you get much more than a 20% break.

Posted by: | Apr 10, 2008 10:00:46 AM

"I wonder if this accurately captures what the AUSA argued since it would be completely contrary to law. I wish the AUSA would get called out more often for making entirely baseless arguments."

I agree. This is exactly the kind of reasoning the Supreme Court expressly disallowed in Rita. Of course it's possible that the reporter simply misunderstood the prosecutor's argument... but I doubt it.

Posted by: anon | Apr 10, 2008 10:34:39 AM

How can six years be a break?

7.5 > 6
7.5 - 6 > 0

9 > 6
9-6 > 0

QED

Posted by: | Apr 10, 2008 1:57:57 PM

In 2004 the US District Court for the Western District of Michigan convicted Josha Vicol of kidnapping and sentenced him to 15 yrs. However, prior to the ruling, the federal guidelines were amended increasing the sentencing guideline to 30 years. The judge residing over the case had failed to read the Supplement to the 2004 Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Since then, the AUSA has opposed the sentence and a trial date for re-sentencing is set for November 20, 2008.

Please bear with me. I am a student. (that says it all)

Is 30 yrs too long? I think so.

Posted by: Teri Steinborn | Nov 18, 2008 4:45:23 PM

I was apart of Major "P's" MITT Team in 2006 in Iraq and he was an outstanding commanding officer. I was totally surprised when I heard this and I think that the reduce in the sentence was well deserved. Six years is more than enough for him to rehabilitate himself and start fresh once he's released.

Posted by: Eric Ross | Feb 13, 2013 11:34:05 AM

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