News Article

Ankle Management

Judge denies Martha's resentencing bid. She wanted less ankle-bracelet time and more work time so she could shoot her new TV series and wear skirts on camera

You're wired. Even though she's hoping to start shooting her Apprentice spinoff and her new daytime TV show, Martha Stewart won't be allowed to remove the ankle bracelet that monitors her movements any earlier than her original sentence permitted, a judge ruled on Monday. According to wire service reports, U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cederbaum rejected Stewart's bid for a reduction in her home confinement sentence. In addition to the five months she served in a federal prison, Stewart has served a month so far and has four more months to go on her home-confinement term, already the minimum sentence under federal guidelines. Despite lobbying from Stewart's business associates asking that she be allowed to work more hours and remove the bracelet, Judge Cedarbaum wrote in her ruling, ''I see no reason to modify the sentence.''

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia CEO Susan Lyne wrote to Judge Cedarbaum asking that Stewart be allowed to expand her permitted work hours from 48 to 80 per week away from her upstate New York compound. Similarly, Mark Burnett, who's producing both of Stewart's forthcoming TV shows, petitioned for the removal of the ankle monitor, arguing that ''the bracelet will hinder the continuity of the day-to-day shooting'' because it would make it difficult for Stewart to appear on camera in skirts or dresses, garments he described as ''part of her lifestyle and therefore a large part of the show.''

But Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Schachter argued that to show special favors to Stewart because of her TV show would send the wrong message, that the law makes exceptions for celebrities. ''Minor inconvenience to one's ability to star in a television show is an insufficient ground for resentencing,'' he wrote in a letter to the judge. Apparently, she agreed, writing in her ruling, ''In my opinion, the sentence I imposed was particularly needed to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law and to provide just punishment.'' Maybe Stewart should emulate shoe magnate Steve Madden's new ads and turn her ankle monitor into a fashion accessory.

Originally posted Apr 12, 2005