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June 26, 2010

A (record?) long probation sentence for Florida lawyer who stole from his clients

This local story out of Florida, which is headlined "Disbarred Boca lawyer sentenced to 25 year probation for taking $577,000 of clients' money," has me wondering if anyone know the longest sentence of probation ever imposed. Here are the particulars of this interesting white-collar state sentencing case:

Longtime Boca Raton attorney Joseph Keeley, who earlier pleaded guilty to grand theft after stealing $577,000 from a client's trust account, faced sentencing Friday.  Keeley, 64, suffers a vocal chord disorder called spasmotic dysphonia and testified, eking out in a strangled voice his explanation to Circuit Judge Amy Smith that he took the money to cover expenses at his Boca Raton firm.

His family members -- son, wife of 38 years and father-in-law - also had trouble explaining what happened, describing watching his decline from an hardworking, honest man - into what they testified they suspect is mental illness....

His son, a police officer, testified he wasn't even aware his father had pleaded guilty and was being sentenced until last month. "The family has been in the dark," he said.

Prosecutor Ryan Kelley asked that Keeley be sentenced to 10 years in prison.  Keeley was already disbarred in 2006 in a separate matter.  Keeley's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Jerry Wade II, argued there were legal reasons to go below the state sentencing guidelines recommending prison.  For one, Keeley admitted his crime when police interviewed him and committed it in an unsophisticated manner.

Judge Smith agreed it was unsophisticated. Keeley wrote checks to himself from the trust account - an obvious red flag for auditors. "That's insane... I do question Mr. Keeley's mental status," Smith said. "It's almost as though you don't understand what you did."  But punishment is in order, nonetheless, she said.

Smith sentenced 64-year-old Keeley to 25 years on probation, urging him to work and pay the money back, but first, serve one year in jail.  Keeley is due to turn himself in on Monday.

June 26, 2010 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

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Though he will likely never be released, here is an instance of a man receiving 30 years of probation from a Florida judge.

From June 26/10 Gainseville Sun

http://www.gainesville.com/article/20100626/ARTICLES/6261004/1002

Posted by: Robert | Jun 26, 2010 6:57:10 PM

In Texas, probation terms max out at 10 years. You can be on parole for much longer, though.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Jun 28, 2010 7:42:24 AM

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Posted by: monclerjackets | Sep 29, 2010 3:04:08 AM

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Posted by: thomas sabo | Oct 30, 2010 3:05:28 AM

I am a student and I was wondering if you could tell in TX if you are on probation for 10 years and the 10 years are about to be over and haven't finished paying the whole restition amount. What else can they do to you and will they put you in jail because the rest wasn't paid off.

Posted by: Kristy | Mar 10, 2011 6:37:36 PM

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