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Criminal defense must protect against extreme sentencing

While the majority of Connecticut criminal prosecutors and justices alike strive to uphold the law and enforce fair judgment, some seek to make examples of defendants and promote other agendas. That is why a major component of criminal defense is safeguarding clients’ rights throughout the entire process, ensuring that sentencing is sensible and objective. One recent case illustrates how a defendant’s right to fair sentencing can be threatened by an overzealous prosecution team unless reason prevails.

In 2012, law enforcement teamed up with the FBI to investigate an alleged prostitution ring after an undercover operation revealed a well-orchestrated, multi-state venture. Court documents describe how the prostitution ring was associated with an offshoot of a larger gang, and that the defendant in the case was the leading force behind the operation. 

Investigators suspect that the ring functioned for around five years before authorities became aware of its existence, and was very profitable during that time. The defendant, along with a family member, was accused of running internet advertisements and prostituting over 20 women and seven girls in hotels across seven states.

For his role in the illegal operation, the defendant recently pleaded guilty to exploiting children for money. In an effort to achieve a fair judgment, the defendant’s attorney informed the presiding U.S. district court judge of his client’s unfortunate upbringing. The defense attorney also requested that his client receive the minimum sentence for the crime, since the prosecution pleaded for the judge to grant a sentence of life in prison.

Ultimately, the judge agreed with the defense that a life sentence would be disproportionate. He, therefore, sentenced the defendant to 25 years in prison. The defendant was remorseful and apologetic afterward. 

Source: The Washington Post, “Man who ran sex ring involving teens sentenced to 25 years in prison,” Matt Zapotosky, June 7, 2013