As a retired parole and probation agent and supervisor, I was appalled and disgusted by the ridiculously light sentence imposed on Paul Manafort by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III [“Manafort gets four years for bank, tax fraud,” front page, March 8].
Mr. Manafort was found guilty of serious offenses committed over a period of time. A former attorney, Mr. Manafort flagrantly violated federal law over and over again. Thursday was a dark day for people working in the criminal-justice system as it highlighted the bias and injustice in court hearings every day in our country. This was a blatant display of white privilege by a judge who should have recused himself due to his strong bias.
Anyone who has had the misfortune of sitting in U.S. courtrooms on a regular basis has been confronted by incompetent and biased judges. I am sure many criminals will be confronting their parole and probation agents with strong complaints about the unfairness of sentencing in our country. Unfortunately, they will be right. Mr. Ellis has given credence to people who have strong criticisms about justice in the United States.
Edward McCarey McDonnell, Baltimore
I am outraged by the sentence handed down to Paul Manafort and the supposed legal reasoning the judge used to justify the sentence, and by implication, condone Mr. Manafort’s conduct.
If a poor person had robbed a grocery store of any amount worthy of a felony, she or he would most likely spend more than 47 months in prison. Mr. Manafort robbed the American taxpayer and got a slap on the wrist. What is “an otherwise blameless life” when your adult life was spent undermining democracy in Ukraine and in our country as a lobbyist? To suggest that Mr. Manafort shouldn’t get any more prison time than a typical white-collar criminal is the same reasoning that says white-collar offenders (read: white, well-connected and wealthy) have more rights than the rest of us.
Penelope Roberts, Ashburn
Talk about irony. On Friday, The Post ran a front-page article after former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in prison. The sentence was handed down for Mr. Manafort’s actions related to $60 million in ill-gotten gains, raising serious questions about the value of federal sentencing guidelines. The Post also reported Friday on the sentencing of a former Montgomery County official to 15 years in prison for embezzling $6.7 million [“Ex-official sentenced to serve 15 years,” Metro]. And the pundits continue to try to divine why the body politic is so fractured and polarized. The answer is staring us in the face.
Eric Sapirstein, Alexandria
I cannot imagine a starker contrast in two stories in one day than The Post’s March 8 news articles about Paul Manafort’s 47-month prison sentence and former Montgomery County official Byung Il “Peter” Bang. In one case, the judge exercised his judicial discretion and set a sentence far below the sentencing guidelines of roughly 20 years. In the other, a different judge exercised her judicial discretion and, with sentencing guidelines calling for probation up to two years in prison, chose to exceed the guidelines by sentencing Mr. Bang to 15 years in prison, starting immediately. Is it any wonder that our judicial system needs some serious overhauling?
Ting-Yi Oei, Reston