Finally, it was my turn to speak.
The court clerk asked me if I would like a chance to address the court, and I said yes.
I then went on to apologize to everyone involved, from my victims, to my family, to Assistant District Attorney Lois Booker-Williams and her staff, to Justice Carol Berkman herself.
“I never meant to get you mad at me,” I told Justice Berkman, attempting to elicit some sympathy from this barracuda, “when I kept asking you to place me into an inpatient drug treatment program. I was only trying to get myself the help that I know I will need to return to society as a healthy and successful individual.”
As I was speaking, however, Justice Berkman was looking over those character letters, and, therefore, the two of us never made any eye contact with each other.
So I just went on.
“I hope that one day I can do what you suggested and go into a drug treatment program on my own and then maybe come back and show you how my life has changed for the better,” I said.
Nothing. No reaction whatsoever from this cold fish.
Finally, after saying my piece—including the fact that even though I was drunk and high on prescription drugs at the time of the crime, I still should have known that what I was doing was wrong, which, if not useful to derive any sympathy from Justice Berkman, could nevertheless still serve to help get a sentence reduction from the appellate division on appeal—I ended my speech by admitting that I knew some amount of punishment was in order, but that I ask Justice Berkman to use her judicial discretion to impose as lenient a sentence as possible.
But Justice Berkman wasn’t moved by any of this. Continuing to look over my character letters as she spoke, Justice Berkman proceeded to tell me that she felt that I was lucky last time, five years earlier in Brooklyn, when I was only sentenced to probation for a prior robbery conviction and not sent to prison instead. She also stated that, because I had a college education and was not like so many other defendants she had seen pass through her courtroom over the years, as far as being disadvantaged, she didn’t feel bad for me or my family, but only for my victims.
As I sensed the outcome, she ended by saying the two words I was already expecting to hear: “Seven years.”
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