Anthony D. Marshall, the ailing 89-year-old son of New York City philanthropist and socialite Brooke Astor, was granted immediate parole Thursday after serving eight weeks of a maximum three-year sentence for stealing tens of millions from his mother’s estate.
The State Parole Board ruled to grant compassionate release after the former ambassador and decorated marine appeared before the panel on Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported.
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The wheelchair-bound Marshall suffers from Parkinson’s disease among other medical conditions. Since July 30, he has received medical care at a hospital outside prison facilities, the Wall Street Journal reported. Marshall will remain under supervised parole through June 20, 2016, which marks the end of his maximum prison term.
The three-person board wrote in its decision that Mr. Marshall’s medical ailments have left him “physically or cognitively debilitated or incapacitated as to create reasonable probability that you do not present any danger to society.”
"We’re gratified by the Parole Board’s unanimous and compassionate decision, which is effective immediately," Kenneth E. Warner, one of Marshall’s lawyers, said in an email, The New York Times reported.
But not everyone is happy.
Elizabeth Loewy, an assistant district attorney, wrote a letter to the parole board opposing the release so soon as it "would compromise the public’s confidence in the fairness and even-handedness of the criminal justice system," The Times reported.
"If the parole board were to make an exception for an elderly inmate like Marshall, the message to healthy elders who are tempted to commit financial abuse against family members could well be that the benefits of the crime outweigh the risk of punishment," Loewy wrote.
Marshall was convicted in 2009 of swindling millions of dollars from his mother, who was over 100 and had Alzheimer’s disease.
Since the law allowing compassionate release went into effect in 1992, 398 state inmates have been granted medical parole, according to The Times.
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