Convicted con man Bernie Madoff may be gone, but he’s far from forgotten. Speaking by phone from federal prison in Butner, N.C., to the New York Times recently, Madoff offered his first comments about the judge and the sentence, which happened two years ago on Wednesday.
Madoff said he believed that Judge Denny Chin went along with “the mob psychology of the time.”
“Explain to me who else has received a sentence like that,” Madoff told the paper. “I mean, serial killers get a death sentence, but that’s virtually what he gave me.”
“I’m surprised Chin didn’t suggest stoning in the public square,” he added.
The Times piece goes into detail about the reasons for Madoff’s 150-year sentence, and conducts extensive interviews with Chin about his thinking at the time.
Madoff’s lawyer, Ira Lee Sorkin, requested a sentence of 12 years, citing mortality data that showed his client could expect to live about 13 more years at the time of his incarceration. He reasoned the 12 years would therefore be just shy of an "effective life sentence," suggesting Madoff might be allowed a year of freedom before he died.
“It’s a fair argument that you want to give someone some possibility of seeing the light of day,” the judge said, “so that they have some hope, and something to live for.”
“And,” he added, “that was one of the struggles in Madoff.”
Chin said it didn't take him long to decide against a 12-year sentence for Madoff. He even decided that 20 to 25 years “would have been just way too low.”