In 2009, Chin sentenced Madoff to 150 years in prison, well beyond the time he could serve. Chin acknowledged that the sentence was symbolic but important because, among other things, it would served as a deterrent.

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Cohen decided on jail time for Flanagan because he wanted a sentence that would have the same effect.

He said that it was important for the court system to send that message to the community.

Cohen's words and his sentence, which also included community service, appeared to stun many in the courtroom.

Afterward, the crowd filed out of the courtroom somberly, and almost in silence. Many appeared to be genuinely saddened by Cohen's decision.

NassauFormer NCPD commanders indicted

Flanagan was accompanied by family, friends and former colleagues -- including a congressman and a former Nassau police commissioner -- in a courtroom filled to capacity.

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It was a formidable show of support for Flanagan, buttressed by some 150 letters the judge said he had received.

Cohen said he'd read every missive. And in an unusual step, he carefully broke down for the record where the letters came from. The bulk -- 73 -- were written by current and former police officers; most of the balance from family and friends, he said.

The judge called Nassau's police department one of the finest in the nation, going on to note that Flanagan had enjoyed a privileged position within it.

He said Flanagan had shown no remorse for his actions. And that he had never apologized to the public.

"You never accepted responsibility," he told Flanagan.

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The judge said that his intent was to show that the law must be equally applied. And he was careful early on to specify that his comments were directed at Flanagan's case, rather than those of Hunter or Sharpe.

While answering a question later in the hallway, Flanagan's attorney, Bruce Barket of Garden City, said of the former official: "He's shown no remorse because he's done nothing wrong."

Barket also repeated that he intended to appeal the case -- which, of course, is Flanagan's right.

Flanagan's supporters applauded as he left the courtroom. He stopped to thank them for their support.

But Cohen deserves thanks, too. The judge straight up called it as he saw it.

And his message against official misconduct was loud and clear -- and welcome.

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