Perez Sentenced To Three Years In Prison, Three Years Probation
He won't start serving his sentence until a higher court hears his appeal
By Jeff Cohen
September 14, 2010
A state court judge sentenced former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez to three years in prison for a conviction on corruption-related charges. But as WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports, he is not expected to begin his sentence until a higher court hears his appeal.
A jury found Perez guilty of trading his influence at city hall for $40,000 in home improvements from a city contractor, and for trying to extort $100,000 from a developer. Perez resigned his office after the June verdict.
More than a dozen supporters and family members told Judge Julia Dewey that Perez was devoted to Hartford and to his family.
When it was time for the former mayor to speak, he told Dewey that he would never forgive himself for disappointing those close to him.
"I plan to be part of the life of this city for a long, long time. I want the court to know that I will live, for the rest of my life, continuing to serve others. You're honor, it's all I know. The city has suffered, my family has suffered, I have suffered."
Before she sentenced him, Dewey told the former mayor that this was one of the toughest decisions of her life. And she recognized his long history of helping people.
"But I cannot ignore the offense. This is something that you created. You were a community activist who was willing to barter away one of the most powerful tools in the community -- the vote. You were willing to use it for political advantage. That's totally unacceptable."
Dewey said that Perez spent his life telling the poor that they should hold the powerful accountable.
"But at the time of these crimes, you were one of the powerful. You are now accountable. Your followers should really be demanding nothing less."
After he was given an effective sentence of three years in prison and three more years of probation, Perez was led away by judicial marshals. His supporters said they expected that he will soon post his bond and be released until his appeal is heard.