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The Nation

A judge hit with an “avalanche of hate mail” sentenced a teen-ager to 16 weekends in jail for setting a fire that gutted a New York synagogue while about 100 demonstrators protested outside the courthouse that the ruling was too lenient. State Supreme Court Justice Thaddeus Owens sentenced Louis Franceschi, 16, to 16 weekends in jail, 200 hours of community service and five years’ probation. The judge told the courtroom spectators: “I received an avalanche of hate mail full of venom, scurrility, ridicule and denigration.” Owens said the protests “put the court in a position where it must keep its commitment. Otherwise, it sends a signal that all you have to do is put pressure on a judge and he will cave in.”


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