March 6, 2011
Judge Jack Weinstein takes a field trip to aid his sentencing efforts
US District Judge Jack Weinstein, who long ago secured a place in my Sentencing Hall of Fame, garners still more appreciation from me based on this new AP article. The article, headlined "Veteran federal judge visits drug gang's NYC turf," reports on Judge Weinstein's recent sentencing field trip:
[L]ongtime federal Judge Jack B. Weinstein - 6-foot-2 and looking fit - strolled mostly in silence on Friday around the Louis Armstrong Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant - the same streets where authorities say armed thugs once terrorized residents with an "open-air drug bazaar."
Weinstein, who's overseeing the case against the crack cocaine crew, had decided it was important to leave his chambers, don his dark overcoat and fedora and visit the defendants' former turf. The outing on a quiet and crisp winter afternoon drew some stares, but was otherwise uneventful. Before slipping into a black van to be driven back to the courthouse, the judge explained that he sometimes needs a firsthand reality check on his cases. "Otherwise," he said, "it gets very abstract."
The 30-minute foray was unorthodox for the formal world of the federal judiciary. But Weinstein, 89, has long had a reputation as a legal maverick.... He handed out life sentences in 2009 in the closely watched case of two police detectives convicted of moonlighting as hitmen for the mob - but only after an appeals court reversed his decision to throw out their convictions based on the statute of limitations. He's also shown distain for harsh sentences for low-level offenders in more obscure cases....
After a flurry of guilty pleas, Weinstein received appeals for mercy from defense attorneys arguing their youthful clients were products of abusive upbringings and deserved a second chance. "Yes, I agree he made some terrible decisions but he has learned from them," the sister of Pedro "White Bread" Torres wrote to the judge.
Last month, Weinstein announced in a court order that he would be visiting the Armstrong Houses under the protection of a deputy U.S. marshal "to assist in sentencing." He invited along Torres' lawyer, Margaret Shalley and prosecutor Daniel Silver.
Shalley said Friday she's hopeful "something good will come of this." Another defense attorney who tagged along, Heidi Cesare, called the outing "unusual." But, she added, "Judge Weinstein is unusual."
March 6, 2011 at 06:30 PM | Permalink
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You have to admire the man's willingness to innovate, particularly at his age, but this is problematic. If a juror in an ongoing case did it, it's pretty much a sure bet for a mistrial.
Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 6, 2011 7:58:58 PM
It is problematic if a juror visits a scene, on their own, without the court's permission. Weinstein invited lawyers from both sides. This is just the judicial equivalent of a jury view. I cannot understand how this shows any impropriety or represents any sort of problem.
Posted by: Paul | Mar 6, 2011 9:33:33 PM
Pedro has learned from his mistakes. Come on, Judge Weinstein. Have him move into your apartment building. He would be among the wealthiest of the tenants. You could then write yourself order to visit his parties with crack whores.
For less abstraction? 1) Leave the armed guard back at court. 2) Come after 10 PM when the denizens awake. You were visiting when all the criminals were tucked in for the day. 3) And what with getting out of the van, and getting back in? Stay a while like a few days.
I will not comment on judicial disqualification after such conduct. I encourage judges to get more involved in evidence, their being the most experienced people in the case. Just keep it fair, and have both sides there.
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 7, 2011 12:26:50 AM
Is there a statute of limitations on Mob hits in New York?
The defendants were abused because they would not follow any rule. The abuse just didn't work. They should have been executed after 123D started at age 14. By the way, the term, abuse, is pretextual. Blacks from the South, and Hispanics from Latin America have a child rearing style that is as good as any. Kids are polite, even the criminal ones.
The lawyer has deemed this style to be abuse, without any validation or even evidence for that conclusion. As a result, the "system," is filled with dark skinned kids removed for "safety." The "system" employs millions of people at taxpayer expense. The removal is done by people with more power than judges. They remove kids on suspicion, without presenting any evidence to a judge for a warrant, and they are backed up by armed sheriffs. Parents are forced into feminism promoting indoctrination sessions, and may have to wait 2 years to get their kids back. A fair hearing is precluded. Feminist controlled judges are biased in favor of destroying the American family, especially, the black American family. The latter survived slavery, war, poverty, de jure discrimination, lynchings by genocidal maniacs. It could not survive the vile feminist lawyer and its male running dogs.
Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 7, 2011 4:05:43 AM
The first paragraph of the story, not quoted, notes that he took a bodyguard. He is, after all, not a lunatic.
I've been stranded in the combat zone
I walked through Bedford Sty alone
Even rode my motorcycle in the rain
And you told me not to drive
But I made it home alive
So you said that only proves that I'm insane
-- Billy Joel
Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Mar 7, 2011 11:26:02 AM
And if your average citizen could afford a bodyguard, we wouldn't need prison.
I can't wait for the liberal commenters here to start telling us that Weinstein needs the bodyguard to ward of Jean Valjean, and/or that drug dealers are really just libertarians, not thugs.
Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 7, 2011 1:00:35 PM
"if your average citizen could afford a bodyguard, we wouldn't need prison."
Since those with bodyguards never are victims of crimes even having one or a bodyguard can stop all crimes?
Nice Billy Joel reference. Does bring to mind glass houses and stones.
Posted by: Joe | Mar 7, 2011 3:45:44 PM