Not Yet … Court Won't Rule on Madoff Jail Appeal

Federal appeals court hears Madoff jail argument

Bernard Madoff doesn't appear to be enjoying his time in the renowned super-max wing of the federal prison that broke down one of the city's most well known mobsters.

The disgraced financier's lawyer asked a federal appeals court to let his client stay out of prison until sentencing.
The court said it will not rule immediately.
Lawyer Ira Sorkin spoke Thursday to a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He said a judge made a legal error when he ordered Madoff jailed last week.

Madoff pleaded guilty last week to 11 charges related to the massive Ponzi scheme that touched banks, companies, charities and private individuals.  During that hearing, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin revoked Madoff’s $10 million bail, which allowed him to remain under house arrest and in the comfort of his luxury penthouse while he awaits his June 16 sentencing. Prosecutors say Madoff should remain in prison because he is a higher risk to flee after pleading guilty.

Madoff has been detained in an eight-by-seven-and-a-half foot cell on the southern end of the 10th floor at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Manhattan.

The wing, known as 10 South, has housed some of New York's most infamous mobsters. Strict rules and harsh conditions have earned 10 South a reputation from some of its former occupants.

Bonnano crime family capo "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano was moved off of 10 South in 2005 after his lawyer argued that the conditions were "subhuman," according to Daily News. Reputed mobster John "Junior" Gotti said his time their was almost unbearable.

 "I was in 10 South, and it almost broke me," Gotti said in a famous quote cited by the Daily News.

The 70-year-old Madoff is allowed out of his cell only 60 minutes a day and even then he must wear shackles on his wrists. The lights remain on 24 hours a day and the windows are blacked out; preventing inmates from telling what time of day it is outside, the Daily News reported.

The former money manager who operated one of the largest financial scams in history will not be present in court during Thursday’s appeal.  Appeals court judges often take lawyers' arguments under advisement and issue a decision at a later time.  However, the judges could make a ruling on Madoff's status during Thursday's session.

Madoff faces up to 150 years in federal prison when he is sentenced.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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