A Manhattan federal judge who sentenced swindler Bernie Madoff has told the New York Times that he weighed different factors before handing out a 150 year sentence.
Madoff’s lawyer Ira Lee Sorkin had tried to convince U.S. District Judge Denny Chin,57, to give a far lesser sentence. He cited, according to the Times, Madoff’s move to tell his sons, knowing he’d be turned in. And he argued that Madoff, who was then 71, would live about 13 years. So he asked for 12 “just short of an effective life sentence.” The Times reported that Sorkin also proposed 15 to 20 years.
“It’s a fair argument that you want to give someone some possibility of seeing the light of day,” the judge told the Times, “so that they have some hope, and something to live for.”
He said he immediately rejected a 12 year sentence, but struggled with the idea of dishing out 20 to 25 years before ultimately concluding:
“In the end, I just thought he didn’t deserve it,” he told the Times. “The benefits of giving him hope were far outweighed by all of the other considerations.”
The Times also interviewed Madoff, who commented on the sentence.
“Explain to me who else has received a sentence like that,” Madoff said in a phone interview with the Times from prison in North Carolina. “I mean, serial killers get a death sentence, but that’s virtually what he gave me.”
“I’m surprised Chin didn’t suggest stoning in the public square,” he added.
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