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February 18, 2010

Former NYC police chief Bernie Kerik gets (above-guideline) four year sentence

As detailed in this New York Times article, "Bernard B. Kerik, a former New York police commissioner who rose to national prominence, was sentenced to four years in prison on Thursday after pleading guilty to eight felony charges, including tax fraud and lying to White House officials."  Here are more details:

Under the terms of a plea agreement reached in November on the eve of his trial, the prosecution and the defense recommended that Judge Stephen C. Robinson sentence Mr. Kerik to 27 to 33 months in prison.  But the judge departed from the sentencing recommendations, giving Mr. Kerik a longer sentence.  “I think it’s fair to say that with great power comes great responsibility and great consequences,” Judge Robinson said.  “I think the damage caused by Mr. Kerik is in some ways immeasurable.”

The sentencing was the end of a legal saga in which federal prosecutors denounced Mr. Kerik, a former detective who rose to the upper echelons of power, as a corrupt official who sought to trade his authority for lavish benefits....

As the judge delivered the sentence, Mr. Kerik sat impassionately at the defense table, flanked by his lawyers. Behind him, his supporters — including Geraldo Rivera and Steven McDonald, a former New York City police officer who was paralyzed from the neck down in 1986 — filled the gallery.

Mr. Kerik will begin serving his sentence on May 17.  Prosecutors had requested that Mr. Kerik be sent to prison immediately, but Judge Robinson allowed him to surrender later to get his affairs in order in light of the longer sentence.  Mr. Kerik has awaited sentencing under strict house arrest at his home in Franklin Lakes, N.J.

February 18, 2010 at 11:51 PM | Permalink


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Bernie Kerik is not exactly the most sympathetic figures, but when the defense and the prosecution agree on what the sentence should be (a sufficiently rare occurrence), I do not think the Court should exceed it.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Feb 19, 2010 10:01:14 AM

In cases like this one, why do prosecutors try to persuade the judge to send the defendant to prison immediately, instead of allowing him to report at a later date?

Kerik presents as close to zero flight risk as you can get. He is under house arrest and is highly recognizable. Even if he did flee, he could not hide. He is young enough to still have many productive years ahead of him after he completes his sentence. Allowing him to report to prison, as the law permits and as is often done in such cases, does not prejudice the government’s position in any way.

So why do prosecutors do this?

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Feb 19, 2010 10:48:24 AM

because they can, and they're vindictive.

Posted by: anon | Feb 19, 2010 11:13:45 AM

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