Insight on Kilpatrick’s 28-year sentence

By Ashely Woods, HuffingtonPost.com

By the time 43-year-old Kwame Kilpatrick is released from prison, he’ll likely be eligible for Social Security.imgres

The former Detroit mayor was sentenced Thursday by U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds after being convicted of 24 counts of racketeering, bribery, extortion, mail fraud and other charges related to his corrupt activities while in office. Kilpatrick and contractor Bobby Ferguson were accused of running a criminal enterprise out of Detroit’s City Hall, which prosecutors claimed resulted in at least $9.6 million in illegal profits to Ferguson’s company. Without a successful appeal, which experts told USA Today is unlikely, Kilpatrick, who has been imprisoned since his conviction in March, will spend decades behind bars.

Edmunds told the courtroom Thursday that federal sentencing guidelines recommended Kilpatrick receive a prison sentence ranging from 30 years to life behind bars, according to the Detroit Free Press. Lengthy sentences are a relatively new trend in the history of corrupt politicians, thanks to a 2004 amendment to sentencing guidelines that allowed for longer prison stints to be handed down to public officials caught bribing, extorting and committing fraud. The amendment text notes, “in general, public corruption offenses previously did not receive punishment commensurate with the gravity of the offense.” (…)

“They could either lower the drug and gun sentences, or raise the white collar sentences,” he remembered. “And it’s always easier for Congress to show how tough it is by raising sentences.”imgres-1

Since then, Henning has noticed an increase in the length of sentences for officials convicted of public corruption — with Kilpatrick’s being one of the most severe.

“He received the kind of sentence that’s normally given for homicides or very serious drug violations,” said Henning, who had expected Kilpatrick’s sentence to be around 20 years. The former mayor’s defense attorneys had asked Edmunds to sentence him to 15 years or less in prison. “Twenty-eight years is higher than I thought it would be — and maybe even higher than what’s appropriate — but not extreme.” (…)

“He probably cost himself a bunch of time by not accepting any responsibility,” Burdick said, adding that Kilpatrick could have received a sentence of 20 years or less.

“I think [Edmunds] gave him a break at 28 years after what he said,” he added. “I think he burned himself.” (…)

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