Thursday, November 15, 2012

Follow-up on Gandara Sentencing

I've spoken with a couple of attorneys about the Gandara sentencing since I posted my piece last night. Turns out I was wrong about something and I should clarify.

If you read this article in the El Paso Times today, clearly the Judge didn't take Gandara's actions lightly.

I was wrong. Montalvo actually gave Gandara a pretty stiff sentence based on the federal sentencing guidelines, which are advisory to judges as recommended sentences by the US Sentencing Commission. It was explained to me that in a 60kg case that the recommended sentence is 24-30 months. The fact that the judge tacked on another 4 years is a big deal and almost certainly took in to account his status as an elected leader in this community.

Wish I'd have known that before I made my previous statement about the sentencing being too light. I should've known more before I said anything and I should know better. My mistake.

I'm also told that as a general rule, maximum statutory sentencing ranges almost never come in to play. Special thanks to the attorneys who set me straight.

But I still stand by my outrage and disappointment towards Willie Gandara, Jr. And after reading the comments of his brother Gary, also an elected official, I'm outraged at his reaction too. He thinks the sentence was too stiff and defended his brother.

I have brothers. Unless you have brothers you don't know the bond that there is for brothers and there is almost nothing you wouldn't do for them. But I can tell you this, no one should feel sorry for Willie Gandara Jr. Gary Gandara thinks that just because his brother might have done some good for the community through charitable donations that there should be some sort of trade-off for his actions? On the contrary, I think it further underscores Willie Jr character flaws. As the judge pointed out, he was leading a double life and the judge was right to point out that during Pablo Escobar's reign as a drug lord that he was a major charitable contributor.

I also stand by my criticism of Nico Dominguez. Clearly I expect both Gary Gandara and Nico Dominguez to experience political fall-out following this scandal. Though neither of them played a role in anything Willie Gandara, Jr was involved in, I think the community will made decisions based on their public support of the former County Commissioner.

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