Hoboken politico Frank “Pupie” Raia will be resentenced for committing vote-by-mail fraud in connection to the 2013 municipal elections after the U.S. Attorney’s Office successfully appealed his 90-day sentence and $50,000 fine from December 2019.
“The District Court committed multiple errors in the calculation of the Guidelines offense level that normally warrant a remand for resentencing. Yet Raia submits that any errors committed by the District Court are harmless in light of the three-month sentence imposed,” U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third District Chief Judge D. Brooks Smith wrote yesterday.
“In other words, the Guidelines did not inform the District Court’s sentence at all because the Court deemed them to be too punitive.”
U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martini submitted a lenient sentence at the end of 2019 due to lingering health issues, as well as roughly 140 letters submitted to the court speaking of Raia’s contributions to the community.
He faced a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, still led by Craig Carpenito at the time, appealed that sentenced a month later, as HCV first reported.
Raia began his sentence at the FCI Fairton medium security federal correctional facility at the beginning of March 2020, but Martini granted him an early release due to COVID-19 concerns, allowing him to serve roughly three weeks of his sentence on house arrest.
While Raia, through defense counsel Alan Zegas, argued that his compassionate release was an indicator he’d receive the same sentence on remand, the court of appeals disagreed.
” … The question before the Court on the compassionate release motion—i.e, whether Raia’s sentence should be reduced because of extraordinary and compelling reasons—did not go to the reasons that Raia was sentenced in the first place,” the decision says.
” … The District Court made multiple errors in its interpretation of the Guidelines that affect the calculation of Raia’s offense level. Raia has not met his heavy burden to show that these errors are harmless. We will vacate Raia’s sentence and remand to the Court for resentencing.”
Zegas could not be immediately reached for comment on Wednesday evening.