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May 15, 2017

Commentary: Mandatory minimum sentences are cruel and ineffective. Sessions wants them back.

Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions instructed the nation’s 2,300 federal prosecutors to pursue the most serious charges in all but exceptional cases. Rescinding a 2013 policy that sought to avoid mandatory minimums for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders, Sessions wrote it was the “moral and just” thing to do. Sessions couldn’t be more wrong. We served […]

May 5, 2017

A drug dealer got a life sentence and was devastated. So was the judge who sentenced him.

When Evans Ray Jr. stood in a federal courtroom in 2007 after arranging a drug sale, a judge explained, at length, that he didn’t want to hand down the mandatory life sentence required by law. “It is my desire not to sentence you to life,” Judge Alexander Williams Jr. said in his Greenbelt, Md., courtroom, […]

May 3, 2017

Five-year probation sentence canceled

The Fourth Department has canceled part of a sentence that was added by a judge after the defendant had left the courtroom. On June 1, 2016, Steven R. Brandon was sentenced in Ontario County Court to 30 days, plus fines, surcharges, and suspension of his driver’s license by state Supreme Court Justice Craig J. Doran, […]

Jan 9, 2017

A struggle to share personal pain in court

Katy Vilardo leaned back on her sofa next to her cat, Otis, opened her laptop and steeled herself. “When I would get in the car in the morning,” the 33-year-old typed, “the first thing I would do is call mom and dad.” It had been more than a year since she discovered their stabbed and […]

Jan 3, 2017

Supreme Court may circumscribe power of lay judges

New York has approximately 2,150 town and village court judges. Of those, 1,450 or nearly 70% are nonlawyers. That is the greatest number and highest percentage in the country. For years the media, good government groups, and even the Office of Court Administration have chronicled how these judges of “tiny courts” have engaged in “abuses […]

Jan 3, 2017

Roof found competent for sentencing, gets extra prep day

CHARLESTON, S.C. — After a judge ruled Monday that Dylann Roof is competent to represent himself, the same jury that last month unanimously found him guilty in the slayings of nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church will return to court to begin contemplating his punishment. With the 22-year-old representing himself, the process is […]

Dec 19, 2016

New York man gets 30 years in prison in X-ray weapon plot

ALBANY — A New York industrial mechanic convicted of attempting to produce a mobile X-ray device intended to kill Muslims has been sentenced in federal court to 30 years in prison. Glendon Scott Crawford, 52, of Galway, also was ordered Monday by Judge Gary L. Sharpe to undergo a lifetime of supervised release after serving […]

Feb 3, 2016

NY inmate who sparked 3-week manhunt gets more prison time

PLATTSBURGH — A convicted killer already serving life behind bars was ordered Wednesday to pay restitution and sentenced to additional prison time for his daring escape last year from a maximum-security prison in northern New York. David Sweat was shot and captured in June near the Canadian border after a three-week manhunt. On Wednesday, he […]

Nov 4, 2015

Buffalo man sentenced on drug charges

A Buffalo man was sentenced to 24 months of probation after being convicted of obtaining and possessing a controlled substance by fraud. U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. said Christopher Gorzynski, 26, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. On Oct. 3, the defendant, while working with the Drug Enforcement Administration, purchased prescription […]

Sep 9, 2015

Rochester man, 70, sentenced for illegal gambling operation

A Rochester businessman convicted of running an illegal gambling operation that involved a professional hockey player has been sentenced. Federal prosecutors announced Tuesday that 70-year-old Paul Borrelli was sentenced to three years’ probation and eight months home detention. He was ordered to pay a $1.2 million judgment and forfeit $3 million in properties, cash and […]

Feb 2, 2015

Second Circuit – Sentencing: United States v. Matta

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit – Sentencing – Outpatient/Inpatient Drug Treatment Programs – Discretion to Probation Officer   United States v. Matta 13-4078-cr Judges Cabranes, Lohier and Engelmayer   Background: The defendant had violated his supervised release and was sentenced to a term of 24-months imprisonment, followed by a 12-month period of […]

Jan 22, 2015

Fourth Department – Sentencing: People v. Viele

Appellate Division, Fourth Department – Sentencing – Preservation of Error People v. Viele KA 13–02217 Appealed from Erie County Court Background: The defendant pleaded guilty to Reckless Endangerment of a Child second degree, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. At the time of the plea, the judge stated that he was “inclined” to impose […]

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