The Difference between being Rich, White, and Connected AND the NOT is:
If you are Black like Ernie Newton, or anyone average and not Connecticut, there is a separate and unequal BBQ Justice System for you.
Click Here for a story on the Connecticut Department of Domestic Spying
It is not ok to take bribes or break the law, but why should White and Connected, former Governor Rowland do 100 more times damage to the public trust, take much more, more often than Ernie Newton, and Rowland gets a year, and Newton faces some real hardship.
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Judge: Expect No Leniency
Lawyers Seeking A Reduced Prison Sentence For Ex-State Sen. Newton
December 20, 2006
By CHRISTOPHER KEATING, Capitol Bureau Chief, Hartford Courant
BRIDGEPORT -- When he was sentenced in February, former state Sen. Ernest Newton got five years in prison for taking a bribe, not paying his taxes and pilfering more than $40,000 in campaign contributions for personal use.
And while an appeals court has ordered the trial judge to explain his reasoning in meting out five years, that trial judge on Tuesday indicated he will show no leniency for the disgraced Bridgeport legislator.
Senior U.S. District Court Judge Alan H. Nevas said from the bench that "the grounds for the sentence that was imposed were adequate" and that he has every intention "to impose the same sentence."
At issue with Newton's lawyers is which federal sentencing guidelines for Newton's convictions Nevas used: 2003 guidelines with an upper range of three years and five months, or 2005 guidelines with an upper range of seven years and three months.
Guidelines aside, the maximum penalty under the law on Newton's convictions is 35 years in prison.
Nevas will review legal briefs from both sides and hold a hearing March 6, during which Newton can address the judge. After that, Nevas will make his official ruling - one that he telegraphed on Tuesday.
Newton was not at the proceeding, but will be brought from the prison camp at Fort Dix, N.J., for the March hearing. He is serving time in the same prison as former Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim, but one of Newton's attorneys declined comment on whether the two former politicians speak to each other.
Newton's once-promising political career came crashing down last year when he pleaded guilty to three felony counts for accepting a $5,000 bribe, evading taxes and using campaign contributions to pay for car repairs, cellphone calls and other personal bills. Less than one week before his guilty plea in September 2005, Newton resigned his Senate seat in a fiery speech, calling himself "the Moses of my people" and saying he would still win in a landslide if he ran for office again.
Known for wearing purple suits in the Navy blue, buttoned-down state Senate, Newton gained a reputation as a champion of the poor and as a longtime proponent of the so-called millionaires' tax on the state's richest residents.
Before his sentencing, Newton had told friends that he expected to receive less prison time than former Gov. John G. Rowland, who was released early after being sentenced to one year and one day.
The difference, prosecutors said, is that Newton pleaded guilty to three felonies and Rowland one - and that an FBI wiretap got Newton discussing a bribe on tape.
In sentencing Newton earlier this year, Nevas - himself a former state legislator from Westport - excoriated Newton. The 78-year-old judge said his own time in the legislature was among the best years of his life and that it was "inconceivable" that any legislator could place his office up for sale.
On Tuesday, Nevas said five years in prison was appropriate because of "the defendant's repeated and continuous betrayal of the public trust" and because Newton was involved in corruption at the same time as the high-profile Rowland impeachment hearings in June 2004.
The battle over Newton's prison time involves the time frame of the crimes.
Nevas used the 2005 federal sentencing guidelines, which called for a sentence of 70 months to 87 months. But Newton's lawyers said the 2003 guidelines of 33 months to 41 months should be used because the bribery took place in September 2004 - before the 2005 guidelines took effect.
Nevas said he would impose the same sentence, regardless of which guidelines were cited.
One of Newton's attorneys, Joseph Martini of Southport, said the older guidelines would bring a ruling that is more fair to Newton.
"You can't increase the punishment for a crime that has already occurred and apply it retroactively," Martini said.
An admitted ex-drug addict from the inner city, Newton is a man of contradictions who is also a former music teacher and an accomplished pianist of classical and gospel music. He was simultaneously a fighter for the poorest of the poor and a politician who admitted taking bribes.
Always known for a quip, Newton was one of the most colorful legislators and one with a reputation for malapropisms. He once expressed his concern about an issue by saying, "I'm just afraid of opening up a panacea's box."