Updated: Friday, 07 Aug 2009, 5:15 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 07 Aug 2009, 11:45 AM EDT
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Judge William Skretny gave Ronald Tills the maximum under a plea deal for transporting prostitutes across state lines.
Retired State Supreme Court Justice Ronald Tills, who arrived at the Federal Courthouse with his wife of close to fifty years, had orchestrated a "serious, reprehensible...and heinous crime," said United States District Judge William Skretny, who imposed the top range of punishment, a year and a half in federal prison and a $25,000 thousand dollar fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Rogowski said, "Judge Skretny imposed that sentence, and his judgement I think was certainly fair and appropriate sentence in this case."
Tills had been the local head of a fraternal group called the Royal Order of Jesters, and had admitted lining up prostitutes for group functions. He had pleaded guilty to transporting an illegal alien from Hamburg to Kentucky to provide sexual services.
Judge Skretny noted that the former judge had sex with a woman who once appeared before Tills while he was on the bench.
Rogowski said, "The woman who was an undocumented alien, who could barely speak English and was in no position to protest or deny an request for sexual activity, in the Jester's event, I think was extremely heinous."
Two other defendants in the case, former Lockport Police Captain John Trowbridge and Tills' former law clerk Michael Stebick got probation.
Tills, who is a recovering alcoholic and suffers from heart disease, had hoped to serve a minimal jail sentence. But in his statement before Judge Skretny, Tills talked about the "possible harm" he caused his victims, "I pray for their help and recovery if there is any damage, and I pray for their forgiveness."
Judge Skretny questioned whether he was truly remorseful, as his attorney Terry Connors had claimed.
Connors said, "He's expressed on numerous occasions how remorseful he is, both privately and, it's just hard to get up there and that yourself, but the letters in the file and the documentation support that declaration of remorse."
Former Judge Tills, who was known for his tough sentencing, had also once served as a State Assemblyman and head trustee of his church.
He is a "real life Jekyll and Hyde," said Judge Skretny; a respectable role model on the one hand, and a man who victimized vulnerable women on the other.
Prosecutor John Rogowski said Friday's sentencing of Tills would impact on the public's confidence in the judicial system. Judge Skretny imposed the stiffest sentence, saying Tills would not be treated any differently because of his status.
US District Judge William Skretny has sentenced former State Supreme Court Judge Ronald Tills to 18 months in federal prison and a $25,000 fine, for violating the Mann Act.
He pleaded guilty in September 2008 to his role in transporting a female across state lines, with the intent to engage in prostitution.