Brooke Astor’s 89-year old son should be jailed
Anthony “Tony” Marshall, 89, is due in court in Manhattan today, Thursday 20th June, to hear whether he’ll be sent to prison. If jailed, he will be not only be one of the wealthiest prisoners but also the fourth oldest inmate in New York State’s prison system.
In 2009, Marshall was convicted of siphoning millions of dollars from his ailing mother, the late Brooke Astor, who was incapacitated by dementia. At the time, alongside his co-defender and former attorney for the estate, Francis X. Morrissey, 72, Marshall was sentenced to one to three years in prison for defrauding Astor’s $185 million estate by forging her signature, hiring a yacht captain with her money and giving himself a $1 million raise to manage his mother’s finances.
Given that Marshall underwent cardiac bypass surgery, had a mini-stroke during his trial and suffers from Parkinson’s disease, his lawyer, Kenneth Warner, commented:
“A jail sentence could have a lethal consequence. We’re dealing with someone who needs care 24 hours a day. He’s disoriented and confused. The disorientation from going to prison means that before he dies, he’ll have a tortured life”.
A former ambassador to Kenya, Madagascar and Trinidad & Tobago, Marshall, who received a settlement of $14.4 million despite the larceny conviction, uses a wheelchair and is said to be unable to feed, bathe or shave himself. Strangely, though, despite his supposed “ailing health”, the octogenarian managed to attend a black tie event to celebrate Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer’s plans to recreate the Titanic at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in February.
Jailing Mr Marshall will cost around $200,000 a year according to The Daily Beast’s Caroline Linton. In an article titled Anthony Marshall’s Gilded Age, the writer suggested:
“According to Soffiyah Elijah, the executive director of the nonprofit Correctional Association of New York, a prison inmate biologically ages 10 to 15 years for every year he or she is incarcerated. And that means Marshall could end up costing New York some serious money. Incarceration in New York costs an average of $60,000 per inmate—a cost that goes up to anywhere between $130,000 to $200,000 if the inmate is over 55 and needs medical attention. Most prisons do not have the medical care available onsite to take care of the very elderly, meaning that the state would be paying for hospitalization for Marshall”.
Previously, State Supreme Court Justice A. Kirke Bartley said he was sympathetic to Marshall’s health problems, but dismissed them as justification to cancel the jail sentence given that the appeals courts had addressed and dismissed them at numerous hearings.
“The time has come” for Marshall to be locked up announced Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Loewy this week. She is right. Just as there has been outrage over Stuart Hall’s pathetic sentence in the UK this week, not jailing Marshall because he’s old, incapacitated and has the resources to fund repeated appeals would set a bad precedent. Off to the clink with him.
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