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Six More Months in Prison for State Senator

November 11, 2011

On November 10, 2011, after two days of resentencing hearings, Pennsylvania State Senator, Vincent J. Fumo received 6 additional months in prison for a total jail sentence of 61 months from a Senior United States District Judge in Philadelphia.  The resentencing had been ordered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit which found that the District Judge committed several errors in determining Senator Fumo's original sentence (U.S. v. Fumo, No. 09-3390 (3dCir, 8-23-11)).  Senator Fumo spent 30 years in the Pennsylvania Senate, becoming one of the most powerful figures in the state.  In March, 2009, a federal jury convicted Senator Fumo of using publicly-paid senate employees and a non-profit organization he founded for his personal benefit.  At the resentencing, the District Judge rejected the prosecutors' recommendation for a 15 year prison sentence.  The Judge stated that the 61 month sentence he imposed was more consistent with sentences imposed in similar cases across the country.   The Court based its' increase of Senator Fumo's sentence on inflammatory emails that Senator Fumo sent to friends and loved ones from prison.  The emails lambasted the prosecution team and the trial jury, and expressed a strong desire to seek revenge on those who had caused Senator Fumo to be convicted.  The District Judge noted that Senator Fumo's emails showed that he had a complete lack of respect for the legal system and no true sense of remorse.

At the same time, the Judge scolded the government for releasing Senator Fumo's private communications with his loved ones, his fiancé and his daughter, calling the government's actions "offensive".  The Judge was also sharply critical of the government for charging Senator Fumo with 137 counts in his indictment.  According to the Court, the government had overstepped Justice Department guidelines by overcharging Senator Fumo.

Although the United States Attorney in Philadelphia stated that the government planned to review the court record to determine whether to take further action, such action appears unlikely.  The U.S. Attorney noted that there comes a time in all cases when finality is needed.  Thus, it appears that Senator Fumo's resentencing could be the final chapter in an eight-year saga of his prosecution and conviction.