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Letter: Light sentence for former legislator

David Denenberg, a Democratic Nassau legislator from Merrick,

David Denenberg, a Democratic Nassau legislator from Merrick, see here leaving federal court in Central Islip on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014, settled a $3.6 million lawsuit with his former employer, according to court documents. Credit: Ed Betz

"Jail for Denenberg" [News, June 6] referred to former Nassau County Legis. David Denenberg's 90-day prison sentence on his conviction for stealing $2.3 million from a law client over eight years. This obviously resulted in great embarrassment for him and his family, which in itself constitutes a punishment. But in the scheme of things, wasn't that a shamefully lenient sentence? And yet, he complained to the judge that time behind bars wasn't necessary!

Denenberg said, "I want to be with my family; my family needs me." Isn't that true in many cases where there's a prison sentence? There's almost always a side effect from a defendant's imprisonment, but that doesn't stop judges from imposing much more severe terms for people who steal much less.

A principal objective in sentencing defendants for their crimes is to discourage other would-be criminals from engaging in like conduct. I can't help but feel that the Denenberg sentence did not accomplish that objective. If anything, it might have the opposite effect, especially on people with high status.

Robert Wilson, West Islip

Editor's note: The writer is a lawyer.