Retired U.S. Judge Tired of Sentencing: No “Passion for Punishment”


U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina, now retired after 31 years on the bench, tells the Washington Post that a main reason he left a job he loved was that he had become too tired of sentencing. The Post says that for Urbina, sentencing always was “filled with stress and doubt — of agonizingly weighing the crime against the defendant's past, of worrying about what message to send to the public and of feeling that he was never given the proper tools to rehabilitate offenders.”

“I do not have a passion for punishment,” he said, which helps explain why he is one of the more lenient sentencers on the D.C. federal bench, “If there is a way the court can contribute to the rehabilitation process, it is more likely the person will return to the mainstream.” The Post describes the sentence imposed by the judge on a woman in a fraud case: a year of home detention, four years of probation, and $5,000 in restitution payments.

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