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March 15, 2010

Any pre-game predictions or hopes for today's federal sentencing of Erin Andrews' stalker?

As detailed in this new AP article, which is headlined "ESPN's Erin Andrews' stalker to get sentence in LA," a high-profile federal sentencing involving a high-profile victim is scheduled for this afternoon.  Here are the basics:

The man convicted of stalking ESPN reporter Erin Andrews and shooting nude videos of her through a hotel room peephole is facing sentencing in a Los Angeles courtroom.

Michael Barrett, a 48-year-old Chicago-area insurance executive, has pleaded guilty to interstate stalking and agreed to a 27-month prison sentence. Barrett is suspected of renting hotel rooms adjacent to Andrews in three cities in 2008, including Milwaukee.

Andrews is expected to address the court and talk to reporters after the Monday hearing.  Her attorney has said she did not agree to the sentence outlined in the plea bargain, and a sentencing memo filed last month noted that she wants Barrett to pay her about $335,000 in restitution.

As I have noted in prior posts here and here, both the recommended prison sentence and the requested restitution amount are not without controversy.  My gut tells me that Barrett will end up getting slightly more than 27-months as a prison sentence, but will also be required to pay less than Andrews seeks in restitution.  But that's just a guess based on no special knowledge or insights (and also based on the assumption that Andrews specifically urges a longer prison sentence in court today).

More fundamentally, this case seems like a perfect setting for some creative, shaming-type sanctions in addition to the traditional prison term.  Requiring Barrett, say, to post nude videos of himself on to the internet would have somewhat of an "eye-for-an-eye" kind of appeal, but I fear someone like Barrett might enjoy such a punishment too much.  Or, assuming Barrett is a sports fan, how about a lifetime ban on watching ESPN's Sportscenter or on watching the NCAA baskeball tournament would really put a hurt on him.  Or maybe Barrett should be required to vote repeatedly for Andrews to help her win on this season's Dancing with the Stars.

Related posts:

UPDATE:  This AP report on this afternoon's Barrett sentencing suggests my prediction of the sentence was spot-on:

An Illinois insurance executive who secretly shot nude videos of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews was sentenced Monday to 2 1/2 years in prison before giving a tearful apology that was harshly rebuked by his victim....

Barrett, who has until May 3 to surrender, was ordered to have supervised probation for three years after his release, during which he will be prohibited from contacting Andrews, her family or friends.

He will not be allowed to stay in a hotel without approval of a probation officer and if he accepts employment somewhere, Andrews will be notified.  Barrett was also ordered to pay $5,000 in fines and $7,366 in restitution, but the judge said further restitution may be imposed to compensate ESPN.

March 15, 2010 at 11:39 AM | Permalink


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If I were the judge, I would sentence him to take nude videos of Dennis Franz through a hotel peephole, despite that Barrett would probably prevail on appeal on an 8th Amendment challenge. Sometimes the message is what matters.

Posted by: Res ipsa | Mar 15, 2010 11:58:07 AM

The defendant should be caned.

The victim's restitution demand is closer to the proper one. As a celebrity, she would be getting offers to pose nude like her demand.

Victims should be compensated according to market values of their damages. However, she should not be unjustly enriched. Did her income increase in 2009 compared to 2008, because of her new celebrity? Her increased fees should be deducted from any restitution demand. She may end up owing the defendant money for the huge favor this crime did her.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 17, 2010 3:28:17 AM

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