More crime, more time in Montgomery
Looking down from his bench at a convicted thief on Monday, Montgomery County Circuit Judge Eric Johnson expressed sympathy -- for the man's attorney.
"I know Ms. [Samantha] Sandler must have almost had a heart attack when she found out that she had to come into court and you had done this," Johnson said.
What he'd done is violate advice attorneys often dispense: From the time I bring you in to court to plead guilty to the time I bring you back to be sentenced, don't get in trouble.
"It's about the last thing in the world you want your client to do," said Alex Foster, a defense attorney and former prosecutor in Montgomery.
Told about Johnson's comments, Foster said his resulting heart attack would have been fatal.
Here's a brief chronology:
- May 24: The thief, James Brian Gendimenico pleads guilty to swindling a 91-year-old widow. Prosecutors said he befriended the sweet woman, was able to obtain power of attorney for her, and took at least $189,000 as her husband was dying.
- June 4: Less than two miles from the widow's house in Aspen Hill, Gendimenico sets up a new vocation: Selling OxyContin and Adderall from a storage unit. Undercover officers watch him and another man go into the storage unit, and watch the other man exit about 15 minutes later. Both are apprehended. The officers find $896 cash and 71 pills on Gendimenico, and find more pills inside the unit, according to police accounts. Gendimenico is charged with drug selling, and held in jail.
- Aug. 30 (Monday): Gendimenico appears in court for a scheduled sentencing hearing in the widow-swindle case. But the agenda has grown. He also pleads guilty in the OxyContin/Adderall distribution case, and agrees to be sentenced at the same time.Johnson calls it "disappointing" that Gendimenico went out and committed another crime. He folds the drug sentence into the swindle sentence – and Gendimenico gets three years in the state prison system.
The brief duration between the May 24 guilty plea and June 4 arrest certainly didn't help. "The shorter the time, the less impressive it is," says Foster.
Sandler had asked the judge for a much shorter sentence in the county jail. She declined to comment after court on Monday.
-- Dan Morse
August 31, 2010; 11:50 AM ET
Categories: Dan Morse , From the Courthouse , Montgomery , Updates
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