Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis did not spend much time deliberating over Clare Bronfman’s bail motion.
Submitted yesterday, Bronfman sought to be released from prison pending appeal of her 81 month sentence. As ordered, the prosecution responded by 12:00 noon today, and the judge issued his Order before 1:00 PM denying her request:
The judge ruled: …. The Defendant remains a flight risk, who now has even greater incentive to flee after being sentenced; the Defendant has not identified a “substantial question of law or fact likely to result in… a reduced sentence to a term of imprisonment … and the Defendant has not offered a compelling reason for the court to reconsider its conclusion made at sentencing that a custodial sentence is warranted in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. The court has reviewed Defendant’s remaining arguments and finds them meritless. Accordingly, Defendant’s motion is DENIED. Ordered by Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis on 10/16/2020.
This means that Bronfman, who is now serving day 17 of a 2,464 days sentence, will remain at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center until assigned a permanent prison.
In its response to Bronfman’s motion, the prosecution wrote Bronfman “poses a substantial risk of flight. As she acknowledges, she has ‘significant foreign ties, including family members in England and France, and property in Fiji’ … along with access to vast wealth…. This Court recognized that she posed a significant risk of flight under the more forgiving standard set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3142 when it granted her release on a $100 million bond, secured with $50 million in assets.
“The defendant’s incentive to flee has increased significantly following the Court’s imposition of a term of 81 months’ imprisonment….
“Her assertion that she ‘intends to demonstrate’ that the Court erred in imposing sentence in light of the sentences imposed in other cases involving ‘similar, non-violent crimes’ borders on the frivolous….
“Finally, the defendant has failed to direct the Court’s attention to any case, or to the conduct of any defendant, that is factually similar to the defendant’s conduct in this case. As set forth at length in the Court’s sentencing memorandum, the defendant’s ‘criminal conduct places her in an altogether different category from other defendants who are convicted of the same offenses, and therefore her circumstances defy easy comparison.’
“Finally, the defendant offers no reason for the Court to revisit its conclusion that ‘[n]either [the defendant]’s age nor health condition . . . place her in the category of high-risk individuals…. Her assertion that she is currently incarcerated in a ‘facility that potentially has many positive diagnoses for COVID-19’ is …. refuted by data made available by the Bureau of Prisons… As of the date of this letter, the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York has no active cases of COVID-19 among inmates….”
Bronfman’s appeal to the Second Circuit will be based on her arguments that her sentence was too harsh. If she loses on appeal, she can try to appeal that decision to the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court is not required to hear an appeal in every case and takes only a small number of cases each year.
If she does not appeal, her case would be referred back to Judge Garaufis – who would then impose a new sentence. Maybe this time he would go with 60 months – which is what the prosecution recommended (Clare would still have the right to appeal since the new sentence would be above 27-months – and, thus, the appellate process would start all over again)
It can take one to two years for an appeal to be decided in the Second Circuit and, in the meantime, Clare Bronfman will be in prison.
Welcome to reality, Clare Bronfman.
Viva Executive Success!