Judge Bets on New Approach
By Colleen Barry,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2007 11:50 AM CDT
Blackjack   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – A New York judge is handing down treatment-oriented sentences to defendants whose crimes result from gambling addiction, on a model introduced to address drug and spousal abuse. Offenders willing to plead guilty can choose Justice Mark Farrell's suburban Buffalo courtroom and receive lighter sentences, along with counseling and status checks from the judge himself.

Farrell traced a surge in crimes like check forgery and car theft to gambling addiction, especially online. The 6-year-old court handles several dozen cases a year. "I think Judge Farrell is very strict, but he's fair," said one woman who appeared before him. "I don't plan to be back here again."