Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway walks out of the Federal Building in Ann Arbor in May with attorney Steve Fishman after her sentencing for bank fraud. (John T. Greilick / The Detroit News)
Detroit — Former state Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway wants out of federal prison six months early and claims officials have refused to send her to a halfway house.
Hathaway says she has made progress toward being rehabilitated and took credit for attending various classes and gym classes while behind bars, including yoga and “Sweating to the Oldies.”
Hathaway filed a request Friday to modify her one-year-and-a-day prison sentence for bank fraud, a crime critics said brought shame to the state's highest court. She wants her sentence reduced by six months or to be released on home confinement.
Hathaway, 59, is scheduled for release June 26 and said the sentence is unconstitutional and that in denying her request to be sent to a halfway house, she is being denied equal protection of the law.
She is serving the sentence at a federal prison in Alderson, W.Va., dubbed "Camp Cupcake" because of its mountainous setting and list of perks, including access to washers, dryers, microwave ovens, curling irons and cosmetology areas where inmate-to-inmate pedicures and manicures are allowed. That’s the same prison that once housed former Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers.
Prison officials allegedly told her a halfway house wouldn’t work because she is a safety risk due to being a former judge.
Prison officials argued there is a great risk that Hathaway would be housed with an inmate that she sentenced to prison.
“Defendant’s situation is extremely unusual,” Hathaway wrote in a court filing Friday. “Nearly every other inmate in the (Bureau of Prisons) is considered for (a halfway house) near home and community for up to 12 months as required by law. Defendant is forced to remain nearly 500 miles from her home until about a month prior to her good conduct time release date. This serves as an undue hardship for defendant and her family.”
Hathaway wants to be released Feb. 13.
Prison officials rejected her request for a halfway house on Nov. 12, according to a filing Friday in U.S. District Court.
Hathaway argues she has made progress toward being rehabilitated in prison. She attached copies of 14 certificates she has earned while attending classes in prison, including one for Jewish study, brisk walking, poetry and basic parenting.
Prosecutors said Hathaway engaged in an elaborate two-year fraud scheme involving a Grosse Pointe Park home.
She pleaded guilty in January 2013 to one count of felony bank fraud, eight days after she resigned from the bench.
Prosecutors said Hathaway hid assets worth more than $1 million and misled a bank while negotiating a short sale. A short sale is when the lender allows the sale of a home that is worth less than the amount owed.