Former Michigan Supreme Court justice Diane Hathaway was sentenced on Tuesday to a year and a day in prison for bank fraud. Hathaway concealed assets while dealing with a bank to arrange a short sale on her home, which allowed her to sell her home for less than she owed and to avoid foreclosure. She claimed financial hardship in order to be approved for the sale, though she had over a million dollars in assets. The sentencing guidelines for the charge ranged from 12 to 18 months, and Hathaway's defense claimed that the irreparable harm that this had done to her reputation and career was sufficient punishment. Hathaway requested community service [sentencing memo, PDF] rather than prison time, but US District Judge John Corbett O'Meara opted for the prison sentence and required that she pay $90,000 in damages. It is likely that Hathaway will be eligible to be released early and will serve as few as nine months [AP report].
Hathaway pleaded guilty [JURIST report] to the charges in January. The charges were filed [JURIST report] as a result of a Detroit news investigative report [WXYZ report]. Judicial corruption has become a growing issue internationally. In October the UN called on nations around the world to do more to combat judicial corruption [JURIST report], stating that it is a human rights issue because it can deprive people of their due process rights.