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GOODBYE JUDGE GLEESON:
The best federal judge on the bench, Judge John Gleeson in the Eastern District of New York retired from the federal bench.
We've written about judge Gleeson before, here on his project mercy about his sojourns into federal prisons, and his orders setting aside harsh sentences.
Gleeson went out with style.
"Jane Doe" was a single working mother raising two children when she got caught up in a insurance scam. Gleeson sentenced her to fifteen month several years ago. Since then, Doe was unable to get a job and moved Gleeson to expunge her record, which he denied. However, he signed this amazing order here.
Accordingly, I have weighed the equities in this case, which are grounded in my understanding of Doe’s criminal conviction and sentence; I was the judge who presided over her jury trial and imposed punishment. I conclude that while Doe has struggled considerably as a result of her conviction, her situation does not amount to the “extreme circumstances” that merit expungement. See id. at 539. That said, I had no intention to sentence her to the unending hardship she has endured in the job market. I have reviewed her case in painstaking detail, and I can certify that Doe has been rehabilitated. Her conviction makes her no different than any other nursing applicant. In the 12 years since she reentered society after serving her prison sentence, she has not been convicted of any other wrongdoing. She has worked diligently to obtain stable employment, albeit with only intermittent success. Accordingly, I am issuing Doe a federal certificate of rehabilitation. As explained below, this court-issued relief aligns with efforts the Justice Case Department, the President, and Congress are already undertaking to help people in Doe’s position shed the burden imposed by a record of conviction and move forward with their lives.
In the meantime, the judicial certificate I am awarding Doe will convey to others that the same court that held Doe accountable for her criminal acts has now concluded after careful scrutiny that she is rehabilitated. In other words, the Court is recommending that she be welcomed to participate in society in the ways the rest of us do. The purpose of the certificate is to remove barriers to employment, but I hope Doe will also find it useful to present to landlords, benefits providers, and any others to whom her conviction is significant. If her attorney decides to make an application for a pardon from the President, I believe the certificate will help her make a strong case
For the foregoing reasons, I deny Doe’s application for expungement relief. This denial is without prejudice to a future application if Doe’s circumstances change materially. I have determined that Doe’s good conduct following the completion of her sentence merits a certificate of rehabilitation, which I have mailed to her. A copy of the certificate with the Case appropriate redaction is attached to this opinion
If you do nothing else, click on the link to the opinion and scroll to the end and see the actual certificate prepared by Judge Gleeson. The day after he signed the order was Judge Gleeson's last day on the bench.
The best judge on the federal bench, hands down. Perhaps the best district court judge in the last two decades. He will be sorely missed.