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April 3, 2005

A shame-full proposal

As discussed here last year, the Ninth Circuit in US v. Gementera, 379 F.3d 596 (9th Cir. 2004), upheld a sentence which, as a condition of supervised release, required a convicted mail thief to spend a day standing outside a post office wearing a signboard stating, "I stole mail. This is my punishment."  As detailed in posts here and here, the Ninth Circuit's approval of this shaming punishment garnered attention and criticism in various quarters.

According to this article from Massachusetts, the Gementera case has also garnered some important fans.  The article reports that a federal prosecutor has proposed that a former school department employee who pleaded guilty to swindling $10,000 from school soda machines wear a sandwich board outside the department's headquarters bearing the text "I STOLE $10,000 FROM THE SCHOOL DEPARTMENT. THIS IS A SERIOUS CRIME. THIS IS PART OF MY PUNISHMENT."  The article states that the federal prosecutor, who apparently has filed a motion formally requesting this unique term of probation, "was inspired by" the Gementera case.

April 3, 2005 at 04:30 AM | Permalink


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