Minock & Potter on Mason’s sentence

A couple of interesting postings on Mason’s sentence.

Mason’s statement to the court at her sentencing is now available here.

Of interest is a piece from Will Potter’s blog www.greenisthenewred.com“Environmentalist Sentenced to 21 Years as a “terrorist”; Violent Racists Receive Half That”.

And of special interest is a reply posted there by Mason’s attorney John Minock (comment #30):

“Marie Mason pled guilty, accepted responsibility, and expressed remorse. There was never any question but that there would be a substantial prison sentence. Her ex-husband, who taped conversations with her for the government, was sentenced to 9 years.

Application of the terrorism enhancement under the federal sentencing guidelines increased the advisory sentencing range 7 times over what the range would have been for arson without the enhancement. (However, she was facing a mandatory 7 year minimum sentence because of the danger to firemen.) The terrorism enhancement makes no distinction between intent to murder or, as in this case, property destruction, and because of its inflexibility provides little guidance.

There have been about 20 other similar cases in the country where property was destroyed but there was no intention to commit murder. The sentences in those other cases have been from 3 to 13 and a half years, principally because in those other cases the government recommended downward departures of twice as much as in this case. Comparing the facts of those other cases and the backgrounds of those defendants, the sentence in this case is more than double what it would have been.

The purpose of federal sentencing law is to achieve sentencing uniformity throughout the country, so that there are not vast differences from place to place. 22 years is the average sentence for murder in federal court. The average sentence for arson in federal court is 7 years. In this case, a considerable sentence was inevitable. 22 years is excessive and disproportionate.”