Nassau county judge penalizes a defendant for exercising his sacrosanct right to a jury trial

The Sixth Amendment guarantees a defendant the right to a trial by jury.  This right is not only sacrosanct, but is one of the pillars of our entire justice system.  Eastern District Judge Joseph Bianco found that in Raul Izaguirre’s case, that very right had been violated.  Izaguirre was under indictment for murder in the second degree and had refused an eight year prison deal offered by the prosecution.  Just before jury selection, Nassau County Judge Meryl Berkowitz told Izaguirre that if he were to be found guilty, he’d do twenty five years.  After presiding over the trial, Judge Berkowitz did as she forewarned and sentenced Izaguirre to the statutory maximum.