Tuesday, September 25, 2001, was my twelve-hundredth day as a Jew in jail, and the prospects of possibly having to serve about another nine hundred, as opposed to roughly only one-third of that amount if I won a sentence reduction, was really playing games with my mind, although I didn’t display any outward signs of it.
It just bothered me that Justice Yates was all prepared to sentence me to five years during the time that I was standing before him in court, only to have my case transferred to Carol Berkman’s halls of justice, where I was ultimately hit by the twitching barracuda with seven years. As bad as five years imprisonment looked back then, had I accepted that “bargain,” I would be looking at the light at the end of the tunnel by this time, with only eleven months still to serve, which I would hopefully end up with anyway after knocking my brains out in various law libraries for the previous thirty-two and a half months.
As I waited for the results of my criminal appeal, nineteen days after oral argument took place, I had in my mind some sort of a fantasy in which my housing unit officer would call me over to his desk and inform me that my attorney left a message for me to call him as soon as possible, like Warshawsky did six months earlier when he wanted to know if I received a copy of my main appellate brief, and give me the good news that I was currently waiting for that my sentence had, in fact, been reduced back to five years.
Of course, I also realized that none of the daydreaming would even be necessary if I had a paid attorney, or free court-appointed one like Warshawsky, rather than Jankowitz, during my lower court proceedings, since a hard-working lawyer likely could have gotten Robert Morgenthau and the district attorney’s office to agree to drop my charges down from robbery in the second degree to robbery in the third degree, and therefore, I could have received the statutory minimum of three years, and been home by then.
However, I obviously had nobody to blame but myself in the first place, because if I were a mensch and not all mixed up with alcohol, drugs, and gambling, I would not have stuck up those three dry cleaning stores in Manhattan.
But then again, Jew in Jail would never have been conceived!
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