Thursday, June 17, 2010

Crime, Punishment, and Stupidity in New Jersey

"Jailing Leona Beldini wasn't easy, judge's scolding was minimal," Jersey Journal (June 17, 2010):
"As you from crimes would pardon'd be, Let your indulgence set me free."
Shakespeare, The Tempest
Brian Neary, the Hoboken criminal defense lawyer known for courtroom antics and merciless cross-examinations, tried a different approach the other day to keep his convicted client out of jail. He quoted Shakespeare.
It didn't work.
Former Jersey City deputy mayor Leona Beldini got three years.
Of course, the sentence could have been worse, so maybe his recital did move federal Judge Jose Linares.
Linares, clearly uncomfortable about jailing a 75-year-old with a heart condition, imposed a sentence below federal guidelines that called for 41 months and also spared her the usual harsh criticisms some judges heap on convicted clients.
The worst he said was "any reasonable person" should have seen Solomon Dwek, the corrupt government witness who brought her down, "was a crook." He was right.
If stupidity were a capital crime, the politicians nailed by Dwek would all have been hanged by now.
But Neary does us a favor by citing these lines from Shakespeare because their meaning - from a soliloquy by Prospero, a wronged but forgiving man - has been debated for centuries as among the Bard's most ambiguous.
As ambiguous, really, as this corruption sting that brought Beldini to prison gates for the crime of playing a role - an ambiguous one - in obtaining $20,000 in contributions to the campaign of a mayor, Jerramiah Healy, who was already awash in $3 million in campaign funds and didn't need it. A mayor who was never charged.
[snip, snip]
After he ordered Beldini jailed, Linares, who has said he hates sentencings, walked through a crowd in the lobby on his way to lunch. Someone called out, "How are you feeling, judge?"
"Not good," said Linares. Ambiguously.

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The dynamic evidence page
It's here: the law of evidence on Spindle Law. See also this post and this post.
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