Federal Jurist Angry Over Short Sentences; Returns Dealers to Pen
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ Calling parole and prison officials ″bleeding hearts,″ a judge has thrown the book at a drug trafficker caught dealing in cocaine after serving only a portion of a previous sentence.
″Some idiot in the prison system thought you were rehabilitated after three years,″ U.S. District Judge G. Kendall Sharp declared in ordering Robert Zingarell back to prison.
Zingarell, 49, had appeared before the judge in 1984 after being convicted of selling 400 pounds of marijuana and 2.2 pounds of cocaine. Sharp imposed what he thought was a harsh sentence: 10 years.
Zingarell was back in court Wednesday, and the judge took the occasion to blast the U.S. Parole Commission and the U.S. Bureau of Prisons on the way they choose to release drug dealers.
He then lambasted Zingarell, who served 3 1/2 years in prison before being paroled. He gave Zingarell another 10 years in prison, despite a guilty plea and his cooperation with prosecutors.
″If they had put him away like I did the first time, he wouldn’t have been out dealing cocaine again,″ Sharp told a reporter later.
″They are a bunch of bleeding hearts making room (for new inmates) by cutting other people loose. I understand their problem, but it undermines my ability to give what is an appropriate sentence.
″They ought to ship them to an isolated island in the Pacific and if they want to escape, let them try.″
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Hawkins told Sharp of Zingarell’s cooperation in an investigation against some co-defendants. Federal guidelines called for Zingarell to face up to eight years in prison. Ms. Hawkins recommended he receive no more than 6 1/2 years. But Sharp departed from the guidelines and recommendation in his 10-year sentence.
Zingarell’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, said Sharp improperly enhanced both the seriousness of his client’s crime and the range of the sentence.
″I don’t think he did it right and I know Mr. Zingarell will appeal,″ O’Mara said.