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“I HAVE STOLEN MAIL. THIS IS MY PUNISHMENT.” Those words, printed on a sandwich board in capital letters, were part of a sentence handed down Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker. Shawn Gementera, a convicted mail thief, will have to spend 100 hours — the equivalent of 2 1/2 weeks at a full-time job — wearing the sandwich board in front of a U.S. Post Office building. Gementera admitted stealing mail from mailboxes in San Francisco and Burlingame, Calif. When U.S. postal inspectors caught up to him, he had 42 pieces of mail, including a check worth more than $1,500. Walker, of the Northern District of California, told Gementera that the stigma of standing in front of a public building with those words emblazoned across his chest would emphasize the seriousness of the crime, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The punishment was apparently of Walker’s own design. Increasingly, state judges have turned to public shaming as a form of punishment — in fact, a sandwich-board sentence was featured during a Monday night rerun of an HBO comedy series. But Walker may be the first federal judge to do it. Gementera was also sentenced to two months in prison and three years of supervised release. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne-Christine Massullo. The court appointed solo Arthur Wachtel as counsel for Gementera, 24.

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