Hell hath no fury like a judge embarrassed

Judge Michael Gary

Ever wondered how judges manipulate the system to impose their own sort of justice? Here's a great example. According to that sage source the post, " A red-faced Brooklyn jurist -- smarting from an oversight that forced him to let a subway vandal go free last week -- yesterday seized on the man's inability to show up in court to hit him with 11 months behind bars. Justice Michael Gary said the failure of the subway vandal-artist known as Poster Boy to appear in court last Thursday (he came on Friday--a day late) meant his carefully negotiated no-jail plea was now worthless. "I owe you nothing," Gary told Henry Matyjewicz, 28.

So what did Judge Gary gave him for being a day late? 11 months in jail rather than the non-jail 210 hours of community service he'd been promised. And why? The post speculates that the judge might have "been steaming over the coverage he got in The Post over his first, failed attempt to jail Matyjewicz."

So here we have an absolutely perfect example of how the system really works:

1. A judge makes a perfectly reasonable (and legal) decision.
2. The post criticizes the judge for being soft on crime.
3. The Judge, bowing to political pressure, finds an excuse to seem like a bad-ass after all and sends a guy to jail for almost a year because he was a day late for court.

Now, it's not like Gary is above doing this sort of thing. Nor even that he's a decent sentencer. In fact, In 2003, an appeals court reversed him for imposing a 15-year maximum sentence in a robbery case where the defendant had beaten a murder charge. The appeals court said Gary was punishing the defendant, Jared Errington, for the murder, rather than the robbery, and sent the case back for sentencing by a different judge. And that, by the way, explains the 11 months rather than the maximum year-long sentence he could have imposed: It's insurance against an appeal--an effort to look considered rather than vindictive.

So to all ye who wonder how it really goes down. Look no further...


Unknown said...

how does one contact you, personally?

Anonymous said...

Leeway is troublesome, is is true that a judge can punish someone for being late to court I read that somewhere and I thought it may be rare but a blog post told people to always be aware that it can happen I guess so.