Go Directly To Jail, Collect $1 Million
- J.A.I.L. News Journal
Los Angeles, California October 31, 2002
Go Directly To Jail,Collect $1 MillionNew York Post$1M PEN'SIONBy KATI CORNELL SMITHOctober 29, 2002 -- A disgraced former judge yesterday was sentenced to three to nine years in prison - where he could collect close to $1 million from his taxpayer-paid pension while he serves time on bribery charges. ....
"You have reduced the public's confidence in the judiciary without a doubt. You've made almost a joke out of Kings County, and that's terrible," Colabella said. "I take it as a designed, willful act . . . an act that makes me, as a judge, squirm."
Barron stopped short of explaining why he demanded $115,000 from lawyer Gary Berenholtz in June 2001 in exchange for his stamp of approval on a $4.9 million personal-injury settlement.
But prior to sentencing, defense attorney Barry Kamins submitted confidential medical and psychological reports to show Barron is suffering from Pick's disease, a form of dementia that causes the personality to change and social skills to deteriorate.
Announcing plans to appeal the sentence, Kamins added outside of court that Barron's crime was "related" to his illness.
"The reason is not greed," the defense lawyer said.
Incriminating wiretap recordings paint a different picture, according to Colabella.
"I listened to it over and over again . . . and I got the distinct feeling Mr. Barron that this was not a Pick's disease or an Alzheimer's moment," the judge said.
Colabella also hammered Berenholtz for violating disciplinary rules by waiting six months to report Barron's bribe demands.
The lawyer helped Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes nail Barron by wearing a wire when he delivered an $18,000 cash-down payment at a meeting in the judge's robbing room this January.
Barron came to court dressed in an elegant pinstriped suit, and managed to conceal any uneasiness until court officers snapped on the handcuffs. Barron's wife, Joy, watched as cops led him out of the Brooklyn courtroom to begin serving his sentence immediately.
"It will be the largest sentence ever served by a judge, either in state or federal court, in this state," said Hynes, who personally prosecuted the case.
"I would have been more satisfied if he'd given a reason. The only reason because of his silence is plain old-fashioned greed."
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