Judge says Stewart shouldn't be treated differently than others convicted of similar crimes

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated April 11, 2005 04:55 PM

Martha Stewart lost her bid for an early release from house arrest on Monday, when U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum denied the domestic diva’s request.

“Defendant Stewart should not be treated differently from any other person convicted of the crimes of which she was convicted,” wrote Cedarbaum in her decision.

Besides asking that her home confinement be eased four months early to accommodate her travel schedule for work, Stewart, 63, had also sought the removal of an electronic monitoring device from her ankle.

Both the confinement and the anklet are a result of her conviction last year on obstruction of justice charges related to a stock sale. Early last month, Stewart completed a five-month prison sentence, which is now being followed by an additional five months of home detention.

Because of financial reversals at her company – created largely because of Stewart’s legal woes – Stewart made the request so she could devote more time to business matters. She currently is permitted to devote 48 hours of work each week out of her home.

But Cedarbaum was not swayed by the arguments, and pointed out that Stewart’s current arrangements were made when both she and her business partners were aware of the terms of the home confinement.

“Neither she nor they had any right to expect that those business arrangements would persuade me that the conditions of home confinement or the term of supervised release should be changed,” Cedarbaum wrote.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Stewart’s lawyers said they were “disappointed” in the judge’s ruling. “All (Stewart) was seeking was the same opportunity for reconsideration as others in her position, and the chance to spend more hours at work.”