The Embarrassment that is Judge Linda Reade


perfidyiniowaFrom the Des Moines Register: On Oct. 21, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, based in St. Louis, issued an opinion in a case involving an Iowa man, Edward Brewer, who¬†was convicted of possessing and selling crack cocaine. The Court of Appeals denied Brewer’s appeal of U.S. District Judge Linda Reade’s sentence of nearly 31 years in federal prison. Eighth Circuit Judge Myron Bright dissented, saying the great disparity in sentencing practices between two judges in the same state was too great. Following is an excerpt of his dissent:”Who could have guessed that President Eisenhower’s decision nearly sixty years ago to create a national system of interstate highways would have an effect on sentencing in Iowa today? Well, it has. In the Northern District of Iowa, cases arising on one side of the interstate [I-35] go to one district court judge while cases arising on the other go to a second judge. And one active judge uses a 1:1 ratio between crack and powder cocaine when sentencing violators of crack cocaine laws while the other follows the sentencing guidelines – which here applied a 33:1 ratio. So in the Northern District of Iowa, the location of the crime relative to the interstate is a significant factor in crack cocaine sentencing. In my view, the difference in sentences between similar offenders should not depend on which side of the interstate a crime was committed or where the offender was arrested.

“For Brewer’s crime of possessing, conspiring, and delivering approximately 150 grams of crack cocaine, the [federal sentencing] guidelines recommended a sentence of 30 years to life. That’s the same recommendation as if Brewer had committed second-degree murder. Unfortunately, equating crack cocaine with murder is not uncommon. See Robert Perkinson, “Texas Tough: The Rise of America’s Prison Empire” (“In 1995, the average federal prison term for a crack offense surpassed that of murder.”). Brewer requested a variance from the harsh crack cocaine guidelines on the basis of the disparity with powder cocaine and he cited a decision by Judge [Mark] Bennett of the Northern District of Iowa who utilizes a 1:1 crack/powder ratio.

“[Judge Linda Reade] imposed a 370-month sentence. That’s 30 years and 10 months. The district court denied Brewer’s request for a variance, stating ‘I did consider and reject the request for a variance based on the disparity in punishment between crack cocaine and cocaine. As I looked at the statutory factors under 18 U.S.C. 3553(a), I determined that, on balance, this sentence was not out of the range of reasonableness and is fully supported by the evidence.’

“I believe the district court’s decision does not reflect a reasoned and informed exercise of discretion. The district court cavalierly applied a guideline [that] treats Brewer like a murderer, and results in unwarranted intra-district disparity. Sadly, the interstate and corresponding judicial assignment made a substantial difference at Brewer’s sentencing.”

In footnotes, Judge Bright added the following: “Brewer, by the way, was 32 years old when sentenced, so he will be out of prison sometime near 2040, when he is 60 years old. At the current cost of incarceration, about $26,000 per year, taxpayers will have spent around $780,000 to imprison Brewer.” And: “By way of comparison, for the same amount of powder cocaine, the [sentencing] guidelines recommend a sentence of approximately eight to nine years.”

{Des Moines Register/}


  1. This is article is nonsense at best and harmful at worst. The crack-cocaine issue is not just a problem with Judge Reade; it is roiling the entire judiciary. Also note that two of the judges on the panel upheld her decision – are you also calling them an embarrassment.

    Judge Reade may be a “hanging Judge”, but that is her prerogative and she will generally not be overturned on that. Smear tactics, I suspect, will not only harden her positions, but tend to unite the Judiciary behind her.

    What is important is discovering procedural flaws in her handling of the Rubashkin case, and focusing on those during appeal. NOT IN PUBLICATIONS – we do not have the intimidation factor of a reverend Jackson or Sharpton. Indeed, all of the letters signed by various Congresscritters are worthless – unless somebody actually impanels a subcommittee to investigate Judge-Prosecutor-Union collusion, with impeachment as a possible result. And, despite all the pre-election letters, that it unlikely to happen before the Moshiach comes bimhayra beyamainu.

  2. Ma kesher? the disparity, and obvious outlandish behavior in this case whilst obscured, as such but it is in noway compareable to the tsadik vikudoish Reb Shulom Mordechais missjudgement! Reb Shulom Mordechais sentence is a total act of self interests and revenge on Reades part! She’s a judge who’s title is nothing but hijacked, may Hashem be noikim the tsadiks and his families suffering. and be manish her mida kineged mida, but meanwhile her position as judge in this case has to be change asap.

  3. Comparisons such as these only create embarrassments.
    A significant event did take place in upstate NY (Saratoga) recently, which indicates that there is the possibility of relief.
    A judge in the Family Court was dismissed and ordered never to serve as a judge again. He had overturned a NYC courts’ order of protection, and gave 59% custody to the recipient (guilty) party of the protection order. Not
    Where there is a crooked minded judge, the landsacepe can be littered with nebich civtims.

  4. This article greatly disapointed me. Eisav Sonei Es Yaakov, it’s NOT THE JUDGE ONLY! it’s the entire American government in whom we all wrongly put all of our trust. Ein lono al mi lsmoch ela al aviono shebashamayim! May god hear our prayers and redeem us with the final redemption.

  5. I fully support the sentence handed down to Brewer who is a menace to society.

    However, SMR is not a menace to society but a businessman who made an error after he was betrayed by ICE.

    That is the difference.

  6. Not sure why my comment didn’t go through.
    Responsible people, particularly Rabbi Shmuel Bloom in his Yated column, has cautioned us to be circumspect. Not that things can’t be said, but not to say them in inflammatory ways such as the headline.