9 Months Lopped Off ‘Stolen Valor’ Sentence

by | Jan 23, 2024

Sarah Cavanaugh’s sentence reduction comes as a result of changes in federal guidelines

Federal District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., cut 9 months from East Greenwich resident Sarah Cavanaugh’s 70-month sentence earlier this month because of changes in federal sentencing guidelines. 

McConnell sentenced Cavanaugh, 32, last March for charges relating to impersonating a veteran to obtain as much as $550,000 in benefits by forging military certificates. At the time of sentencing, McConnell said the fraud perpetrated was the “worst kind of victimization” and “beyond comprehension.” 

She is serving her time in a federal prison in Danbury, Ct.

The reduction comes as a result of changes made last August by the U.S. Sentencing Commission for first-time offenders who have committed nonviolent crimes.

That administrative action came just a month after Cavanaugh petitioned the court for early release because of conditions she said she was subject to during a 10-day Covid quarantine. In her petition, Cavanaugh said she and other inmates in quarantine went without water for “12+ hours” and was not given food from 4 p.m. Dec. 8 to 10:45 a.m. Dec. 9. She also cited what she said were deficiencies with the lighting and temperature of her temporary quarters, along with unsatisfactory shower facilities, toilet paper supplies, and access to mail.

Arguing against the petition was Asst. U.S. Attorney Ronald Gendron, who wrote: 

“The United States respectfully submits that because defendant has been reintegrated into FCI Danbury’s general prison population, the conditions of confinement about which she complains in her motion no longer exist and, consequently, her motion should be summarily dismissed for mootness. Though BOP [Bureau of Prisons] records belie the veracity of her claims, even if the alleged conditions existed, they would not constitute extraordinary and compelling reasons for a sentence reduction and certainly would not outweigh the § 3553(a) factors justifying her initial sentence and compelling her continued incarceration. In addition to her petition’s mootness, summary dismissal would also be warranted because defendant failed to exhaust her administrative remedies with the BOP before filing her petition with the Court.”

Her petition was denied.

Featured photo by Carol Highsmith for RID.USCourts.gov/ 

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January 24, 2024 7:56 pm

she should have gotten more time, not less rvnn 67 /68


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