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Vincent Fumo Corruption Sentence Reviewed by 3rd Circuit

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on May 27, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

The sentence of former Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent J. Fumo was before the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals this week.

Fumo, who was given a sentence of 55 months in prison on corruption charges, faced a 45-minute hearing before the U.S. Court of Appeals where the court reviewed his sentencing on 137 corruption and fraud charges. The review comes after prosecutors in the case appealed the sentence, saying that his crimes warranted a minimum sentence of 21 years, writes The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The prosecutors argued that U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter erred in his calculation of the sentence. The Court of Appeals seems to agree, writes The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The sentencing comes after a five month trial where the prosecutors successfully made the argument that Fumo had defrauded several nonprofit organizations and had abused his power as State Senator, costing taxpayers and nonprofit groups over $2 million.

The procedural issue in the District Court's computation of the punishment is that while judges may compute the sentences of convicted defendants under certain guidelines, the judges must also explain any decision that is not in line with these guidelines. In his sentencing, Judge Buckwalter did not explain his reasoning in computing the 55-month sentence.

Assuming the sentencing is sent back to District Court, the prosecution would have more time to argue for a harsh sentence, despite the fact that Judge Buckwalter might provide a more detailed rationale for his 55-month sentence.

Judge Buckwalter, in deciding his sentence, noted Fumo's civil service, stating "you worked hard for the public, and you worked extraordinarily hard and therefore I'm going to grant a departure from the guidelines."

The decision of the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals will not be rendered for several months.

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