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Volpendesto.sentencing.memo

Volpendesto.sentencing.memo

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Published by Blair T. Westover
volpendesto sentencing memorandum
volpendesto sentencing memorandum

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Published by: Blair T. Westover on May 23, 2013
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03/01/2015

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE NORTHEASTERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOISEASTERN DIVISION)UNITES STATES OF AMERICA ))v. ) No. 08 CR 115-2)) Hon. Judge Ronald A. GuzmanSAMUEL VOLPENDESTO ))
DEFENDANT’S SENTENCING ANALYSIS AND MEMORANDUM
COMES NOW the Defendant, SAMUEL VOLPENDESTO (“Mr. Volpendesto”),through his attorney, BEAU B. BRINDLEY, and provides the following sentencing analysis andmemorandum:
OBJECTIONS TO THE PSIR 
On counts Three and Four Mr. Volpendesto faces a statutory minimum sentence of 5years. In addition, Mr. Volpendesto faces an additional 30 years consecutive on Count Five.Therefore, the lowest sentence available to Mr. Volpendesto is 35 years. The PSIR says that theminimum sentence is 40 years. PSIR at 20. This appears to be an error.
SENTENCING MEMORANDUM
Before he turned 86 years old, Mr. Volpendesto had never been convicted of a criminaloffense. He served his country with outstanding nobility and commendation during World War II. He has been a sculptor and artist, whose works have been bought by notable people aroundthe country.The tragedy is that none of that matters at this sentencing. Mr. Volpendesto faces astatutory minimum sentence of 35 years. PSIR at 20. This Court will give a war hero who has
Case: 1:08-cr-00115 Document #: 600 Filed: 08/05/11 Page 1 of 11 PageID #:2932
 
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never been convicted of a single crime in his life before the age of 86 a sentence of 35 years.That is the reality. Neither decency nor mercy can prevent that. The imminent reasonableness of this Court cannot prevent it. And this is because the one body that could prevent it, the U.S.Attorney’s office that had the discretion to do the decent thing and avoid charging an 86-year-oldveteran with a crime that requires a 30-year minimum sentence, decided that the pursuit of a pound of flesh was more appealing than the pursuit of a decent or just outcome.At this point, there is no reason to skirmish and argue over individual guidelineenhancements or reductions. A year here or a year there in the guideline range will make nodifference. Thirty-five years is the smallest sentence Mr. Volpendesto can receive. Mr.Volpendesto will die soon, almost certainly in prison. He is 87 years old. He is in poor heath.As Mr. Volpendesto is fond of noting, this Court cannot actually give him 35 years because hedoes not have 35 years to give. Whatever sentence this Court gives Mr. Volpendesto will be life.And, as he is painfully aware, that is not likely to be a particularly long sentence in his case.To that extent, this memorandum is written somewhat in vain. But no one should receivean effective life sentence without any good word being spoken in his defense, without letting it be known what kind of man is receiving the court’s sentence, and without stating plainly for therecord exactly what the life that will be condemned by the government’s charging decisions hasamounted to. In the undersigned’s experience, those defendants who believe that they werecompetently spoken for are better able to accept their sentences and find whatever joy isavailable in the federal penal system. Mr. Volpendesto has earned at least that small measure of comfort and dignity.Mr. Volpendesto was born in 1924, just a few years before the Great Depression. Thedepression hit his family, but not as hard as some others. Mr. Volpendesto’s father taught him to
Case: 1:08-cr-00115 Document #: 600 Filed: 08/05/11 Page 2 of 11 PageID #:2933
 
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 be charitable and trusting of others. Loyalty and honor were all important values to him. And he proved that repeatedly.When World War II broke out, Mr. Volpendesto was one of the young men whovoluntarily enlisted before being drafted. He chose to put himself in harm’s way before it wasrequired because he believed that a man protects his home against the threat of aggression nomatter what. He earned the rank of gunner’s mate third class in the United States Navy. Hisinitial assignment was in the Armed Guard protecting US merchant ships against the notoriouslyeffective German Wolf Pack Submarines. The Wolf Pack patrolled the Atlantic, sinkingwhatever ships they happened to find. Mr. Volpendesto’s orders were to save the ship if hecould, but if he could not, he was to stay aboard and detonate the cargo so that it might not fallinto the hands of the enemy.On one particular transatlantic convoy, 100 ships left the United States for destinations inEurope, Africa, and South America. When the voyage was over, only four ships of the original100 managed to limp their way back to U.S. shores. Mr. Volpendesto was one of the fewsurvivors. He saw hundreds of his friends and compatriots killed. He knew the sensation of risking life for country in the most literal of sense. Because of Mr. Volpendesto’s good physicalcondition and his proven ability to remain stalwart in the face of danger, he was asked, but notordered, to undergo training for the aquatic forces, a precursor to the modern day Navy Sealsfollowing his return from the transatlantic convoy. Mr. Volpendesto knew that this decision waslikely to place him even more squarely in harm’s way, but he believed he had an obligation to join if he could. And he did.After his training, Mr. Volpendesto was dispatched to various locales around the globe.He received combat awards in the European, Pacific, and African theaters. He received various
Case: 1:08-cr-00115 Document #: 600 Filed: 08/05/11 Page 3 of 11 PageID #:2934

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