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Martha Stewart decries federal sentencing guidelines decision

UPI News Service, 01/14/2005 

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down federal sentencing guides troubles Martha Stewart, one of the nation's most famous felons.

This week's ruling turned the mandatory federal sentencing guidelines into virtual suggestions and sparked appeals from inmates, sentenced under the mandatory guidelines, hoping that the decision will mean leniency, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

However, the Supreme Court's decision means nearly all the nation's 180,000 federal prisoners will have no chance of being re-sentenced, said Stewart, doing time at a West Virginia women's prison for lying about a stock sale.

Writing in an e-mail, she said the court action will falsely raise inmates' hope of early release.

"It is astonishing how high hopes are in West Virginia, and I fear that a negative result will cause a severe depression.

"As you can imagine, when one gets to talk to these women, most first offenders, and many perfectly nice 'neighbors next door,' it is mind boggling to understand that they have four, six and fifteen years to serve away from family, friends, jobs and homes. It is indeed pitiable."

Stewart is set for release March 6.

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Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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