NEW YORK, NY — June 22, 2016 — Mark Hamblett, Federal Court Reporter at the New York Law Journal, on June 15, 2016, reported that disbarred attorney Anthony Mangone will be resentenced on public corruption charges, but he has lost his bid for a new judge.
Mangone, ordered by Judge Colleen McMahon to serve 18 months behind bars for his role in a Yonkers real estate and corruption scandal, had asked a federal appeals court to reassign the case because of comments made by the judge.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agreed that Mangone should be resentenced, but only because the judge apparently relied on a presentence report that mistakenly set the guidelines range at 37-46 months—a mistake also missed by both the prosecution and defense.
The court rejected Mangone’s request for a new judge, which he said he made because McMahon exaggerated the aggravating factor of his role as an attorney and said his crimes made her “physically ill.”
“I hold lawyers to a high standard, and I get angry when I encounter someone who turns our distinguished profession into a joke,” McMahon said. “The story of your career is truly a pathetic one” (NYLJ, Dec. 8, 2015).
Mangone, now 42, was a government cooperator in the prosecution of former Yonkers City Council Democratic Majority Leader Sandy Annabi, former Yonkers Republican Party head Zehy Jereis and other politicians.
He pleaded guilty in 2010 to conspiracy, bribery, extortion and tax evasion for passing tens of thousands of dollars to Annabi to get her to switch her vote on two Yonkers real estate projects.
Annabi was sentenced to six years in prison and Jereis four years. But at Mangone’s sentencing, McMahon said that of all the people charged in the case, “you were the worst” and said she would have sentenced him as a “career criminal” if she had the option.
“First, the district judge’s comments about the seriousness of Mangone’s crimes went beyond the entirely appropriate condemnation of a defendant’s criminal conduct and the expression of the legitimate view that Mangone’s status as a member of the bar was an aggravating circumstance,” the court said, with the judges noting the “physically ill” comment and her statement that she “take[s] it very personally when a lawyer commits crimes” because members of the judge’s family and most of her personal friends are lawyers.
“The comments that were made could be taken to indicate that the judge considered herself personally invested in the outcome, as if she or her friends or family were individually aggrieved by the defendant’s crimes,” the judges said.
The circuit also noted McMahon’s remarks that she was faced with a questionable plea deal. The government rebutted this on appeal, saying its sentencing submission and Mangone’s own testimony made the court fully aware of his criminal conduct.
“While some of the judge’s comments could be regarded as intemperate, we conclude that Mangone has not established the special circumstances required for reassignment on remand,” the Second Circuit said. “Ultimately, the judge’s comments on her personal reaction to Mangone’s crimes are best taken as a rhetorically emphatic way of expressing a legitimate negative view of his conduct, and they do not show that the court harbored any personal bias against Mangone.”
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Perry Carbone and Karl Metzner represented the government.
Jeffrey Lichtman and associate Jeffrey Einhorn of the Law Offices of Jeffrey Lichtman argued for Mangone.
“Obviously we’re pleased with the remand and we disagreed with the part of the decision that remanded it back to Judge McMahon, but I’ve had many cases before her in the past and I fully expect her to treat this case fairly and appropriately at resentencing,” Lichtman said.