Government opposing sentence reduction Seidel, convicted S&L; president, seeks cut; U.S. adamantly opposed.


The government sharply opposes an attempt by Julian M. Seidel, the convicted former First Maryland S&L; president, to get a reduction in his 12-year prison term for his role in the thrift's collapse.

In papers filed recently in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jefferson M. Gray asked Judge Joseph C. Howard to deny Seidel's motion for a reduced sentence, and to let the federal Parole Commission determine how long the defendant must serve.

Gray called Seidel's financial conspiracy "reckless and ultimately disastrous," and said Judge Joseph C. Howard "has already stated, on the [court] record, [his] view of what constituted an appropriate period of incarceration" for Seidel.

In addition, Gray said, Maryland's citizens would view a ruling in favor of Seidel's motion "as confirmation of their belief that the criminal justice system always affords preferential treatment to upper-class, white-collar defendants, and much of the deterrent effect of this court's original sentence in this case would thereby be undone."

Seidel was convicted of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and income tax evasion in 1989. The offenses were tied to First Maryland's collapse under the weight of loans the thrift made to favored friends and associates of Seidel and James R. Porter, the institution's former executive vice president.

Seidel claimed in his recent motion that Howard intended for him to serve only four years, one-third of his 12-year term, but said the Parole Commission has determined that he should serve the entire 12 years before he is eligible for parole.

The defendant also claimed that he has become a model prisoner at the Federal Correctional Camp in Allenwood, Pa., and that he should be granted a reduction for humanitarian reasons associated with the health of his daughter.

Gray noted that Howard originally declined to impose an additional, concurrent prison term on Seidel for income tax evasion on the assumption that the defendant was likely to serve more than four years as the result of Parole Commission action.

In addition, Gray said, "it hardly needs to be noted that Seidel has not supplied substantial assistance" to the government in the investigation or prosecution of others involved with First Maryland.

Seidel is due another parole hearing in 1992, after he has served three years of his sentence, and the Parole Commission should be allowed to decide then how long the defendant must serve, Gray said.

Howard has not yet ruled on Seidel's motion and has set no date for a hearing on it.

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