You’re convicted of bribery and corruption for abusing your high leadership position in state government to line your own pockets and that of two real estate developers by several million dollars.
After your expensive lawyers manage to keep you out of prison for five years, the citizens finally get justice when a judge sentences you to 6-1/2 years in prison.
But now, after being in prison for only eight months, you are suddenly faced with a new set of options: You can serve out the remainder of your sentence in:
A) Your current prison cell;
B) Your luxury Manhattan apartment;
C) Your luxury retreat in the Catskills;
What do you choose?
Well, if you were once of the most powerful politicians in the state of New York, like former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is, you get your pick of B or C.
The rest of us, especially if one of us is a person of color, get one choice if we get any choice at all. As they say in the prison movies — a room with striped sunlight.
Silver on Tuesday was gifted release from federal prison on furlough, with potential placement to home confinement, under a Trump-era Justice Department policy allowing certain prisoners at risk of contracting covid to be released early.
But eligibility is supposed to be for inmates with health issues who have served half of their sentence, or who have up to 18 months left on their sentences and who have served at least 25% of their time, according to the Associated Press.
Silver has about 70 months to go and has only served about 10% of his sentence.
It’s true, Silver is 77 years old, and prisons are known for their susceptibility to covid.
But if there was concern over an old man catching covid in prison, why didn’t the judge who sentenced him take that into account last July during the height of the pandemic when Silver was a still-vulnerable 76 years old?
And the prison where Silver is being held has had only 124 covid cases among inmates and staff since the pandemic started, with no deaths among either.
So Silver has already served during the peak of pandemic without getting sick, in a prison with a light caseload, and when cases are winding down nationally.
Yet he suddenly needs to be released for his health and safety now? How about just getting him a shot of the vaccine and sending him back to his cell?
The prosecutors who worked so hard to get a conviction have strenuously objected to his early release.
And there is no legitimate reason why he should be given special treatment. Plenty of elderly criminals are serving out their sentences in prisons all over the country.
And by the way, the taxpayers of New York would be funding his post-prison lifestyle, with a pension of $6,600 a month.
Releasing Sheldon Silver early, even for a day, is a miscarriage of justice and sharp stick in the eye to the people of New York.