Prosecutors Want Carona to Spend Nine Years in Prison

Anything less would shot lack of respect for the law

Prosecutors will ask a judge to sentence former Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona to nine years in prison and fine him $125,000 when he is sentenced on April 27, according to documents released Friday.
That recommendation exceeds the six years and six months, along with a $65,000 fine, that the federal probation office has called for.
Defense attorneys, who recently lost a request that U.S. District Judge Andrew Guilford throw out the single witness tampering count on which Carona was convicted, could not be reached for comment.
They are expected to ask Guilford to impose probation when Carona is sentenced on April 27.
In his sentencing memo, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett Sagel said the nine-year term "is the minimum sentence necessary to provide appropriate general and specific deterrence, to promote respect for the law, to provide
just punishment and to reflect the seriousness of defendant's crimes."
Carona, his wife Deborah, and one-time mistress and attorney Debra Hoffman were accused of joining in a conspiracy to confer power and perks of the sheriff's office on millionaire businessman Don Haidl by appointing him assistant sheriff, with no prior law enforcement background, in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts.
In his argument for a stiffer term, Sagel said Carona gave Haidl full police powers.
"Specifically, the defendant was a public official whose position involved the integrity of the process for generating government identification documents: police badges and identification," Sagel wrote.
"The information on these badges and identification cards, specifically the ones defendant issued to Haidl, is of a type intended and commonly accepted as identification of the individual, particularly to identify him as a
police officer," Sagel wrote.
Sagel said Carona gave reserve badges and identification cards to family members, friends and business associates as well.
Carona was acquitted of conspiracy, mail fraud by depriving the public of the right to honest services and obstruction of justice/witness tampering.
Carona's Jan. 16 conviction on a separate count of witness tampering stemmed from a secretly recorded conversation on Aug. 13, 2007, between the former sheriff and Don Haidl, a millionaire businessman Carona named as an assistant sheriff.
Haidl testified that he bribed Carona with monthly payments and provided gifts, trip accommodations and boat and plane trips.
Prosecutors argued that Carona, on the tape, urged Haidl -- albeit in a type of code -- to lie to a grand jury looking into corruption about their relationship.
The defense has argued that, among other things, the government used unethical means to get Carona to "open up and talk" at the August meeting, that Carona never expressly asked Haidl to lie to the grand jury or anyone else and because Haidl lacks credibility as a witness because he was only trying to reduce his sentence on a tax charge to which he pleaded guilty.
After Carona was acquitted of the five counts, prosecutors moved to dismiss the case against the women and Guilford granted the request on Jan. 29.
Carona is free on a $20,000 appearance bond.
Defense attorney Brian Sun said previously he was notified by the probation department that prosecutors wanted a sentencing recommendation that took into account conduct for which Carona was acquitted.   In his 51-page memo, Sagel noted that Carona's attorneys will ask for a "non-custodial" sentenced based on several factors, including susceptibility to abuse in prison, but Sagel said Carona will not be the first law enforcement
officer or public officials in the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
The system can accommodate such inmates and Carona would probably be housed at a low-security camp facility, Sagel wrote.
"The defendant now stands before this court as a convicted felony who victimized many by his selfish and criminal acts," Sagel wrote. "This court, in turn, should not `coddle' defendant, but should punish him appropriately."
Carona was sheriff from January 1999 through January 2008. He resigned after being indicted to concentrate on his defense.

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