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Alan Nevas retired as judge in 2009 at age 81

U.S. District Judge Alan Nevas, appointed by President Reagan, sentenced first-time offender Keith Edwards, 19, a small-time New Haven, Conn., crack dealer, to 10 years without parole in September, 1992.

He made these remarks at Edwards’ sentencing:

Mr. Edwards, sentencing is never easy for a judge. I have been sitting as a judge for almost seven years. And in my view, the sentence I am being forced to impose is one of the unfairest sentences that I have ever had to impose.

I don’t excuse your conduct. . . . You deserve to go to jail. But 10 years at your age is absolutely outrageous. I know what 10 years is going to do to you. . . . I hope you don’t come out embittered, hardened, tough and angry.

This 10-year mandatory minimum is just awful. It looks good when some candidate stands up and says, ‘I voted for a 10-year mandatory minimum.’ I wish that candidate would come into the courtroom and sit here and have to sentence this young man to 10 years. They wouldn’t find it so easy.

“…one of the unfairest sentences I’ve ever had to impose.”

But having said all that, Mr. Edwards, there’s nothing I can do. So it’s the sentence of this court that you be committed to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons for 120 months.

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