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Woman freed for heart transplant sentenced

Diane McCloud outside the Nassau County courthouse. (Sept.

Diane McCloud outside the Nassau County courthouse. (Sept. 28, 2011) Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Hempstead woman who got a second chance at life in January after a judge released her from jail to seek a heart transplant was sentenced to 2 1/4 years in jail Wednesday after admitting she committed three new crimes while free.

Prosecutors said Diane McCloud, 47, stole from three drugstores after she was released from jail. After McCloud pleaded guilty to the petty larceny charges in all three cases, Nassau District Court Judge Francis Ricigliano, the judge who had freed her so she could try to get on a heart transplant waiting list, resentenced her to the 15 months he had forgiven her in January, then added a year on the new charges.

Wednesday, McCloud thanked Ricigliano, and apologized to him before he sentenced her, said her attorney, Leonard Isaacs of Valley Stream.

"I had hoped there would be a much better outcome," Isaacs said.

McCloud was told by doctors in January that she had only six months to live. In jail, she is ineligible for a transplant, Isaacs said.

Ricigliano gave McCloud, who suffers from end-stage heart failure, a stern warning in April after learning that she had defied his order by continuing to smoke cigarettes. Months later, she was back before him again on the new charges.

Although she has outlived the six-month projection, Isaacs said McCloud's doctor told him the medicine she takes to keep her heart pumping will eventually stop working.

"I don't know how much longer she can survive," he said.

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