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March 29, 2006
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Judge rejects ex-cop's request for early release in torture case

The Associated Press

NEW YORK -- A federal judge on Wednesday rejected a bid for early release for a former police officer serving a five-year prison term in the notorious jailhouse torture case of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima.

Lawyers for Charles Schwarz, 39, had argued their client was owed early release under a sentencing deal struck with prosecutors in 2002.

Judge Reena Raggi, who was the trial judge but now sits on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled that the original terms of the deal were flawed and threw out the sentence. But she then re-sentenced Schwarz to the same five-year term, saying his lack of remorse "makes me wonder if you truly understand the seriousness of what you did."

After Louima's arrest in a 1997 nightclub brawl, prosecutors say, Schwarz held Louima down while Officer Justin Volpe sodomized him with a broken broomstick. Schwarz maintains he wasn't there.

Schwarz was convicted of lying about the case but avoided conviction on charges of violating Louima's civil rights.

Volpe pleaded guilty in the attack and is serving a 30-year sentence.

Louima won an $8.75 million settlement with the city.

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