After the South Dakota trial led to conviction, the prosecutors sought a life sentence. Following a uproar from the legal community, including six former attorneys-general, they reduced their request to one for a 25-year sentence for Sholom Rubashkin a man with no criminal history on charges essentially that he inflated his ability to pay loans that he had been consistently paying.
The “reduced” sentencing proposal called for the court to impose a sentence equal to or longer than that for second-degree murder, kidnapping, rape of a child or affording weapons to terrorist organizations.
Tragically, the district judge, Linda Reade, a former federal prosecutor in Iowa herself imposed a sentence of 27 years, two years longer than the already exaggerated one the prosecutors sought. This sentence is drastically disproportionate to those imposed on others convicted of similar crimes and wholly inappropriate for the crimes of which Sholom was convicted.
His release is scheduled for 2033. By that time he will be 73 years old. For all intents and purposes a life sentence has been imposed in this case on a first time, non-violent offender.