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October 10, 2009

Conviction in Astor family case raises classic questions about how age should impact sentencing

This new article from the New York Times, which is headlined "Weighing Prison When the Convict Is Over 80," documents how a high-profile state conviction in New York is raising hard questions concerning how a defendant's age should impact sentencing outcomes.  Here is how the piece starts:

In a case involving an 87-year-old man convicted of racketeering, a federal judge in Manhattan rejected a plea for leniency last year, giving the man a five-year sentence. The judge in this case had a special perspective: He was 84 himself.

But in another case this spring, an 85-year-old man who admitted providing sensitive military information to Israel was spared prison by a judge, who cited the man’s advanced age and said sending him to prison would “serve no purpose.”

In the 12 days they spent deciding the fate of Brooke Astor’s son, Anthony D. Marshall, the jurors said they did not make much of his age.  But now that Mr. Marshall, who is 85 and had quadruple bypass surgery last year, has been found guilty of a variety of charges, his age can be expected to have some bearing on his sentence — though it almost certainly will not serve as a get-out-of-jail-free card.

October 10, 2009 at 10:06 AM | Permalink


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