Ailing inmate is sent back to jail -- without a new heart


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A woman who was freed from jail early by a sympathetic judge so she could get on the list for a lifesaving heart transplant is back behind bars -- with her old heart -- after violating terms of her release by stealing about $500 of toiletries.

Diane McCloud, who lives in suburban Long Island, east of New York City, and whose age is given as both 47 and 48 in various reports, sobbed in court as Judge Francis Ricigliano ordered her back to jail last week, according to the New York Daily News. Ricigliano is the judge who in January let McCloud leave jail -- where she was serving 15 months for larceny -- so she could get on a heart transplant list and tend to her health. At that time McCloud had been behind bars for six months after a conviction for stealing from a Target store.


Now, in addition to serving out the remainder of her original sentence, McCloud could have an additional six months added to her term after pleading guilty to stealing diet pills, skin cream and teeth-whitening strips from a CVS pharmacy. No matter how much time she has to spend behind bars, her lawyer Leonard Isaacs said, the future is bleak.

‘The heart transplant is off the table,’ Isaacs said, adding that he doubted McCloud could survive much more time in jail. ‘It’s a very unfortunate, tragic conclusion to a situation that I had hoped was going to end very positively,’ he said. However, Isaacs said the judge had been ‘very fair’ and ‘kind’ for having released McCloud in the first place.

This apparently was not the first time McCloud had taken advantage of her early release. In April, Ricigliano had threatened to send McCloud back to jail after learning that she was still smoking, a habit she started as a teenager and one partially blamed for her current heart disease. Her court appearance Friday was originally scheduled for her to present an affidavit from doctors saying she had given up the habit. Instead Ricigliano used it to revoke the early release and send McCloud back to jail because of the new larceny charge.

Afterward, McCloud complained of chest pains and was taken to a hospital to be checked before returning to jail.


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-- Tina Susman in New York