Judge Denny Chin is famous for sentencing Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff to 150 years in prison. Now, Chin has revealed his thought process behind the sentence in an interview with the NY Times, which also got Madoff's reaction to the sentence: The reviled "investor" spoke from prison and claims that Chin went with "mob psychology... Explain to me who else has received a sentence like that. I mean, serial killers get a death sentence, but that’s virtually what he gave me... I’m surprised Chin didn’t suggest stoning in the public square."

Madoff's lawyer had recommended a 12-year sentence, based on Madoff's projected life expectancy of another 13 years, while the government wanted 150 years. Two of Chin's interns, law students, suggested 75-year sentences but couldn't back up that number, "I said, ‘So basically you’re splitting the baby?’ And they kind of looked at each other and said yes" and realized that wasn't the right way, either.

Chin did want a symbolic sentence, based on the scope and longevity—$60 billion with thousands of victims over decades—and read through victims' letters, noting that many were "middle-class folks, elderly, retirees" and the scheme wasn't just about money, "It reaches to the core and affects your general faith in humanity, our government and basic trust in our financial system... The loss of dignity, the loss of freedom from financial worry."

Judge Chin said he was particularly moved by an account of a man who had invested his life savings with Mr. Madoff, then died of a heart attack two weeks later. The man’s widow had met with Mr. Madoff, who had put his arm around her and told her not to worry, that her money was safe with him.

“She eventually gave him her own pension, 401(k) funds,” Judge Chin wrote in his notes. He would include the story in his draft.

He also wrote that he had received no letters on Mr. Madoff’s behalf: “The absence of such support is telling.”Ultimately, Chin felt that Madoff was "extraordinarily evil" and didn't think he was remorseful, either.

Chin was appointed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals last year, making him the first Asian-American to serve.