Time delay between sentencing and actually reporting to prison.

Ray Nagin was convicted by a jury in February. Yesterday, he was ordered to report to a Louisiana federal prison on September 8th.

What’s the logic behind such a long time delay between conviction, sentencing, and actually going to prison. Why did it take five months for the judge to decide his sentence? He knew back in February that he was probably going to prison, why give him two months to get ready for it? A similar delay was given to a Massachusetts politician two years ago, but I can’t remember the name. Is this normal?

I don’t know enough people in federal prison to say whether this is normal or not, but it was normal for 100% of the federal inmates I do know. (Sample size = 1.) An acquaintance of mine - regular working Joe, not a politician - was sentenced in mid-May, and required to report to prison by the end of June.

As for the delay in sentencing: Explanation from pretrial services.

If a person is a violent felon, and deemed to be an impending danger to society, they are transported directly from the courtroom to penal custody. But in the case of white-collar crimes, which are purely punitive, it is common for the convicted person to be given a pereiod of time to get their affairs in order. Even ordinary felons, who have been free on bail while being tried, are often ordered to report to the the penal system by a specified date.

Just as person drafted into the armed forces generally know that they will be drafted, but are given an interval in which they can arrange their affairs. There is very little difference between being drafted into the armed forces, and being sent to prison.

Sometimes it’s part of a plea bargain. I’ve heard of athletes bargaining to start their sentence after the end of the season in exchange for not only pleading guilty but also agreeing to a huge fine (which they are able to pay after finishing the season).