Former Suffolk Police Chief James Burke — convicted of beating a man who stole a duffel bag from his police-issued vehicle and orchestrating a cover-up — wants to serve his sentence at a federal prison in Orange County to be closer to his ill mother.
In a letter filed Friday in federal court in Central Islip, Burke’s attorney, John Meringolo of Manhattan, made the request, noting that Burke’s mother is battling cancer and can’t travel long distances.
“If Mr. Burke is designated to a location relatively close to his mother, it would avoid unnecessary familial hardship,” Meringolo wrote.
Meringolo requested that the federal Bureau of Prisons assign Burke to Otisville — about 120 miles from his mother’s home in St. James. The next closest federal prison is in Fort Dix, New Jersey, about 135 miles from St. James.
Meringolo said in an interview that he made the request because the health of Burke’s mother “has deteriorated recently.”
Officials at the Bureau of Prisons, which determines where offenders serve their sentences, could not be reached for comment.
Burke, 52, was sentenced to 46 months in prison for obstruction of justice and violating the victim’s civil rights.
After his conviction, Burke argued unsuccessfully before U.S. District Judge Leonard Wexler that he not be sent to prison in order to continue caring for his mother, Frances.
With credit for time served and good behavior, Burke could be released after serving about 28 months. He is being held at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.