Weighing the factors
After he finished querying Borgono, Urbina walked through the factors he had to consider before imposing a sentence, including the seriousness of the offense, the desire to deter future crimes and the defendant’s potential for rehabilitation.
Urbina said it seemed that Borgono had learned her lesson — through sobs, she had tried to apologize at least three times — and had cooperated extensively with authorities. “I don’t think you need a whole lot of deterrence, and I can tell this matter has been weighing heavily on you and your family,” the judge said. “In a sense, your punishment has started. In a sense, your rehabilitation has started.”
Noting that her adult son and daughter were in the courtroom and that he had received extensive letters from family and friends, the judge said, “It appears you have a safety net,” a key point in her favor.
The judge then grew silent and pondered a stack of papers in front of him before locking eyes with Borgono. “My parents were immigrants,” he told her. “They came from Latin America. I am very much acquainted with the qualities and characteristics of the Latin culture from a long time ago: ‘The woman obeys the man. Period.’ But this was very bad judgment on your part. The fact that it was a man telling you what to do is not an excuse, but it is a factor.”
“And that is everything I have to look at, really,” he said. “And then there is common sense . . . and my sense of right or wrong.”
The judge was quiet for a half minute before turning to Borgono to issue his sentence: a year of home detention, four years of probation and $5,000 in restitution payments.
Was it the right decision? Urbina will probably never know.
Before stepping from the bench and heading back to a dusty and box-filled office, the judge ordered Borgono’s case transferred to federal court authorities in her home state of Florida because he will not be around in six months to check on her progress — and to ensure that he had made the right decision.
Staff writer Ann Marimow and staff researcher Lucy Shackleford contributed to this report.