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April 8, 2013

Notable perspective on notable class disparities in federal sentencing

I received via this e-mail from a helpful ready the following blog-friendly comment (with links) that I believe merits sharing in this space:

I was reading your blog post about the return of debtors' prisons for those who fail to pay court fines in Ohio, and appreciate your concern about a two-tiered sentencing system: those who can afford to pay, and those who can't.

You may be interested in a similar phenomena in the Brooklyn federal courts where a defendant who has a business which employs others often gets probation because the judges don't want his employees to lose their jobs.  Isn't this favored treatment for the capitalist class, and a penalty for the poor who don't employ others?

Reputed Gambino associate Anthony Scibelli got off with just probation last Friday because the sentencing judge also was reluctant to imprison Scibelli over "concern that incarceration would jeopardize the jobs of 200 employees at his firm" as reported by John Marzulli for the Daily News.

In 2008 another Brooklyn federal judge spared alleged Gambino soldier and Brooklyn restaurateur Joseph Chirico from prison on a money laundering conviction as then reported by Kati Cornell for the New York Post:  "Judge Jack Weinstein said he was hesitant to cut Chirico a break, but wanted to ensure Chirico's workers stay employed."

April 8, 2013 at 07:55 PM | Permalink


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Yet another argument for mandatory minimum sentencing.

That Jack Weinstein, of all people, is in on the class favoritism has so many levels of irony I don't know where to begin. And that he does it in a mob case, no less, would be hilarious if it weren't appalling.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 8, 2013 8:36:55 PM

And Judge Jack Camp who should have been charged with cocaine and fire-arm possession. He received the whopping sentence of 30 days in jail and 400 hours of community service when the prosecutors only requested 15 days. Also the prosecutors requested that the evidence be sealed so as "not to endager certain individuals", aka the public at large.

This is one case where I am glad the judge went ABOVE the recommended sentence.

Yep, we need mandatory minimums - for federal employees!

Posted by: albeed | Apr 8, 2013 9:33:30 PM

"Yep, we need mandatory minimums - for federal employees!"

Ah yes, but there's always clemency or commutation, don't forget!

Posted by: Brian G. | Apr 9, 2013 12:50:03 AM

Brian G. --

Surprised to see your sarcastic reference to clemency or commutation -- two items that are all the rage on this blog, except, I guess, when given to Politically Incorrect defendants.

Better that mob figures get rehab, I guess. Jack Weinstein unleashed.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 9, 2013 1:19:47 AM

Is there a statute or regulation citing employing people as a mitigating factor? These decisions come from the personal feelings of the judges, I will guess.

I have asked without answer if a serious injury during the crime can mitigate a sentence, since the defendant has suffered so much.

Leona Helmsley argued she paid $400 million in taxes, and her illegally claiming $4 million in renovations at her residence as a business expense should be mitigated by the larger amount.

That Harvard prof wrote a book, "The Abuse Excuse."

The number of excuses is limited only by the imagination of the defense lawyer.

Shouldn't is also be limited by statute?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Apr 9, 2013 8:22:37 AM

Albeed, you can look at it this way: Judge Jack Camp (we all love), the judge gave him double the prison time that the Prosecutor was asking for....Isn't really that funny is it..

Yes, this guy should of got 5-8 yrs at least...Drug offender in posession of several loaded guns
and with a hooker... He also presided over cases while on drugs and the investigating committee cam e back saying, no harm has been done by the good judge....Really...That is supposed to make us have respect fro the law, and the other 3553 factors.....What a crock....Also he was in a position of power.
Even slicker thn Scooter Libby, eh Bill...

This was the work of the AUSA E I E O....What the hell is an USAO anyway...United Sates Attorney Office?
Thats all of federal AUSA's if so....I believe the good judge got it busted down to a misdemeanor, so he retained his license as well.....Really....And Pepper went before the circuit 3 times, before it got settled...Somebody needs a few nose bleeds out there...

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Apr 9, 2013 9:46:37 AM


I am aware of the federal sentencing enhancements for use of a firearm during the commission of a felony. Typical selective justice is why we need these MMs, wouldn't you say?

At least Chirico emplyed people so they could be taxed to pay for the likes of parasites like Camp, among many, many others, like the USSC (both Commission and Court).

Posted by: albeed | Apr 9, 2013 12:33:04 PM

In what way is this any different that defendants getting sentencing reductions for cooperating with the government? In both cases the government gets something it wants (information, jobs) and the defendant gets something he wants (a reduced sentence). Does the fact that one person is a "capitalist" some how change the nature of the bargain? Of it the fact, as Bill intimates, that in one case it is the prosecutor who gets what he wants and in the other case (perhaps) the prosecutor is not getting what he wants?

Posted by: Daniel | Apr 9, 2013 3:59:28 PM

We're not going to get it from this sort of newspaper coverage, but I'd be curious as to what if any record was made that the defendants had such a unique managerial-or-whatever skill set that it would be impossible to hire someone else to manage their businesses competently and keep them going (and the employees employed) while they were unable to come to the office regularly on account of being incarcerated.

Posted by: JWB | Apr 9, 2013 6:38:19 PM

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