SCRANTON – Citing his decades-long history of public service, attorneys for former state senator Robert Mellow are asking a judge to reject the prosecution's request for a two-year prison sentence in favor of a sentence of probation.
In a 19-page sentencing memorandum, attorneys Sal Cognetti and Dan Brier say Mellow has expressed deep remorse for his crimes, and they urge U.S. District Judge Joel Slomsky to consider his contributions to his constituents and community in deciding an appropriate sentence.
Mellow is scheduled to appear before Slomsky Friday to learn his punishment on a charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud for using Senate staff to do political work for himself and his allies on state time. He also admitted to under reporting his income in 2008.
Federal sentencing guidelines call for a sentence of 18 to 24 months. The U.S. Attorney's Office has asked Slomsky to impose the stiffest sentence under the guidelines.
Cognetti and Brier note the guidelines are advisory, which means Slomsky has great leeway in determining an appropriate sentence. They argue a probationary sentence would be sufficient, given Mellow's history, age and health issues.
Mellow served in the state Senate for 40 years and helped pass legislation that had a dramatic and positive impact on the lives of his constituents, the attorneys said. He has also been loyal friend and devoted father to his two adopted children, including a 39-year-old disabled daughter, for whom he provides substantial care and support.
Mr. Mellow is a law-abiding citizen who made a series of mistakes in an otherwise long and entirely upstanding life, the attorneys said. His sincere remorse and his otherwise good character set Mr. Mellow apart from the run-of-the mill offenders and therefore justify a downward variance.