Martha Stewart Sentenced

AP – Martha Stewart sentenced to 5 months

Domestic icon Martha Stewart moved one step closer to a drastically different lifestyle behind bars when the millionaire entrepreneur was sentenced Friday to five months in prison for a stock-trading scandal. “I’ll be back,” she promised afterward, speaking in a strong voice on the courthouse steps. “I’m not afraid. Not afraid whatsoever. I’m very sorry it had to come to this.” Stewart also was ordered to serve five months of home confinement for lying to federal investigators. Stewart, who was also fined $30,000, was spared an immediate trip to federal prison when U.S. District Court Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum stayed her sentence pending appeal.

In the courtroom, Stewart’s voice was shaky as she appealed for a reduced sentence, asking the judge to “remember all the good I have done.” “Today is a shameful day. It’s shameful for me, for my family and for my company,” she said. But outside the courthouse, Stewart was far more forceful and confident, complaining that a “small personal matter” was blown out of proportion and promising that she would not go quietly.

Cedarbaum rejected a defense request to send Stewart to a halfway house for the first five months, reasoning that “lying to government agencies during the course of an investigation is a very serious matter” and that the sentence was at the bottom of the confinement range.

This still doesn’t strike me as something one should get prison time for, especially on the first offense. Or, for that matter, worth the inordinate amount of taxpayer resources poured into the prosecution.

Hat tip: Steven Taylor

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Popular Culture, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Joseph Marshall says:

    This is a good time for everyone to think real hard again about the “crime” for which Martha was convicted–“deceiving federal officers”. Anyone who has any reason to think that the government has too much power should consider very carefully whether such a law should be on the books at all.

    Consider this: if I make a statement to federal officers about any matter of fact and my neighbor contradicts me, I have just given the government probable cause for my arrest. This is the case whether I have been “truthful” or not.

    The practical conclusion I draw from this is that it is never in anyone’s best interests to make any statement about anything whatever to federal law enforcement officials unless one is subject to subpeona and under oath with legal advice.

    The fact that the law has made such silence in my practical best interests, whatever the reason I am being asked for information, is radically destructive to both my good citizenship and the proper social contract between myself and my fellow citizens.