The court also lamented that the end of probation for federal inmates means it will have no incentive to reform.
The second Circuit Court said parole could motivate Portillo to obey prison rules, get an education, participate in rehabilitation programs and mature to a point where he could rejoin society.
In a statement, Portillo’s attorney, Joseph Ryan Jr., said the Second Circuit Court had “wrongly decided” that the judgment was appropriate, meaning that Portillo will cost taxpayers more than $ 2 million (2, 7 million Australian dollars) to keep him behind bars before he is released and deported to El Salvador at age 71.
In a filing memorandum, prosecutors said Portillo arranged for two friends of the gang to take him to a Central Islip park where more than a dozen MS-13 members were waiting to attack the teen and four members of a gang. rival gang he had brought with him.
The appeals court recognized that the crime was “especially heinous” and that Portillo was actively involved in the killings and planned the crime in retaliation for a small complaint.
But he also said the case “illustrates the unfortunate consequences of eliminating parole.”
Long Island has been particularly affected by the presence of MS-13, with dozens of murders since January 2016 attributed to the group also known as La Mara Salvatrucha, which recruits young people from El Salvador and Honduras.
For Portillo, prosecutors had advocated a 60-year sentence, citing the brutality and extensive planning of the execution-style killings.
“The defendant’s conduct was not only extremely serious, it was evil,” they wrote.
They also gave a grim assessment of Portillo’s possible reform, saying he had already been involved in two violent jail robberies, faced disciplinary problems in high school, and had committed the massacre while receiving counseling to avoid gang involvement, violence. and criminal detention.
In a defense presentation, the attorneys described their client’s largely unsupervised childhood, writing that Portillo told a doctor that he joined the gang to gain respect and more access to friends, women and marijuana.
They urged a judge to reject a recommendation from the Probation Department for life in prison, saying they could find no case in which a 17-year-old had been sentenced to life in prison for murder at age 15.