Fumo may do more time


The U.S. Court of Appeals Third Circuit did not overturn the convictions of a former politician credited with defrauding the state senate and two nonprofits along with his former aide, but the judges’ panel did order the duo to be resentenced.

“… we affirm [ex-state Sen. Vince] Fumo’s conviction, vacate the sentences of both Fumo and [former Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods’ executive director Ruth] Arnao, and remand for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion,” Judge Julio M. Fuentes said in his opinion that Judges Leonard L. Garth and Richard L. Nygaard concurred on with the exception of Nygaard dissenting on the vacated sentences.

Both were convicted of fraud, tax evasion and obstructing justice. Arnao was released from jail July 14, 2010 while her former boss was expected to be released two years from tomorrow.

A presentencing report calculated Fumo’s and Arnao’s sentences at about 21 to 27 years and 9 to 11 years, respectively. Public outcry and an appeal from the government followed Fumo’s 137-count conviction that resulted in a four-year-and-seven-month sentence and Arnao’s 45-count conviction that put her in prison for a year and a day. Upon review, the sentences could become lengthier for the former and send the latter back to prison.

The judges did not find any court errors regarding Fumo’s appeals — the testimony of a witness on the state’s ethics act or the influence of social media and outside influences on the jurors — however, all but Nygaard felt the court erred in calculating their sentences, according to the opinion.

“… the District Court’s failure to calculate a final guidelines range — leaving us unable to review the procedural and substantive bases of the sentence — is an error that is plain, that affects the substantial rights of the parties and that could ‘seriously affect the fairness, integrity or public reputation of judicial proceedings.’” Fuentes wrote citing a 2009 federal case.

The opinion asked the court to take another look at the fraud losses and to recalculate the sentencing ranges.

“We are pleased with the decision of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and will prepare for the next step in the process,” U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said in a statement Tuesday.

Contact Managing Editor Amanda L. Snyder at asnyder@southphillyreview.com or ext. 117.

Also in this week’s Police Report:
Juvenile rampage
Bank account robbed
Knocked off his wheels
Compensation for justice
Girl trouble
Mistaken identities