Prosecutors Appeal Buffalo Judge’s Probations

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A senior federal judge in Buffalo is a target of Attorney General John Ashcroft’s review of allegedly light criminal sentences. The Buffalo News says prosecutors are appealing two sentences handed down by Judge John T. Elfvin, 86, who the paper says is “widely known in the legal community as a maverick.”

Elfvin deviated from sentencing guidelines and put a politically connected lawyer and a teenage drug seller on probation. One case involves Timothy Toohey, a lawyer who admitted failing to report $1 million in income on tax returns. The other defendant was Benjamin Boltz, 19, who mitted selling a small amount of methamphetamine to an informant.

“It sounds like a new ballgame to me,” said Elfvin, who has served on the bench for 28 years. “Judges have always felt they had wide discretion on sentencing. Now this new form of policing comes into the picture.” Elfvin said the appeals don’t bother him. “That’s their right,” the judge told the News. “C’est la vie.”

Ashcroft is due in Buffalo this week to defend the USA Patriot Act.


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