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Judge Stadtmueller nears 2,200th sentence with Milwaukee construction exec’s case

Judge Stadtmueller nears 2,200th sentence with Milwaukee construction exec’s case

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Photo of Brian Ganos
Brian Ganos

Judge J.P. Stadtmueller of the Eastern District of Wisconsin reached a milestone in his career at a Milwaukee construction executive’s sentencing hearing this morning. Stadtmueller said Brian Ganos was close to the 2,200th defendant he’s sentenced in his 33 years on the bench.

Ganos, the former owner of Sonag Construction, pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing child pornography, in exchange for the court dropping a third charge. On Friday morning, Stadtmueller sentenced Ganos to 32 months in prison and five years of supervised release.

The 32-month prison sentence will run concurrent with the six-and-a-half years Ganos is serving for a decades-long construction contract fraud scheme. The plot netted his firms more than $250 million by exploiting programs used to help minority companies win construction contracts.

Stadtmueller said Ganos’ fraud conviction added to the difficulty of deciding what was an appropriate punishment for the child porn charges. Ganos’ criminal-history score increased from one to three because of the fraud charges.

Stadtmueller was also mindful of the sentences he’s imposed in 13 previous cases he’s heard involving child pornography, though he said most of which occurred before “Congress began to meddle with sentencing guidelines.”

“At the end of the day, the court is left with trying to figure out how to best accommodate all of these competing interests,” Stadtmueller said. “Each and every one is troubling because they deal with the reality that … they are viewed in the lives of our most precious resource — young people. There is no one more precious than a minor or someone who is pre-pubescent.”

Stadtmueller still opted for less than the maximum 87-month prison sentence in his decision.

“In a case such as Mr. Ganos, I firmly believe that there is much, much, much more to the benefit to the offender and society as a whole to return to his or her community on the conditions that the court has addressed on supervised release,” Stadtmueller said.

Ganos will have to participate in a sex offender mental health assessment and treatment, and comply with sex-offender registry requirements during this time, among other conditions of release.

Ganos must also pay $13,200 in restitution, some of which goes to a fund for victims of trafficking.

Friday’s hearing was a continuation of sentencing proceedings held on May 29. Stadtmueller paused the hearing because of discrepancy about costs for special assessments.

Ganos apologized for his crimes at that hearing, telling the judge he was “filled with shame.” He has 14 days to appeal the decision.


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