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Monday, July 19, 2010

Lynne Stewart - Virtually Life

Last week Manhattan federal district judge John Koethl lengthened the jail term of New York criminal defense lawyer Lynne Stewart (whose crimes arose from her defense of the blind terrorist Sheik Abdul Rahman) from 28 months to ten years. Stewart, 70 and a cancer survivor, was essentially given a life sentence -- if Koethl followed the same analysis that fellow judge Jed Rakoff (also sitting in Manhattan) gave disgraced lawyer-turned-felon Marc Dreier.

In the Dreier sentencing, Rakoff and counsel debated Dreier's expected life expectancy at age 59 and concluded his "number" was 79. That would be shortly after he's expected to get out.

For Stewart, who already has served eight months, she faces about 88 more months (assuming time off for good behavior and a halfway house stint). She will be about 78 when (or if) she emerges.

One wonders if some of the older convicts are "getting a break" at sentencing due to their advanced age. If so, this is unwarranted disparate treatment. And it should be challengable by counsel for younger defendants.

If Stewart were 40, would she have gotten the 25-to-30 years prosecutors were asking for?



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